Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

Patrick Newell

For all intents and purposes, wrestling’s postseason began this past weekend at the Southern Tier Athletic Conference Championships, and the Midstate Athletic Conference Championships. All told, 13 Chenango County wrestlers won league championships, and nearly a dozen more reached the finals. B-G/Afton appears to have ascended to the top of our unofficial poll as the top wrestling team in Chenango County. The Bears beat Greene last week by one point in a battle of state-ranked outfits, and followed that up with a comfortable margin victory at the MAC tourney. Unbeaten this year, the Bears earned a bye at this weekend’s Section IV Dual Meet Tournament. Greene, Norwich, and Oxford also made the tournament with the aim of building on their strong seasons. “This year has been kind of crazy in our section,” said B-G/Afton coach Brandon MacNaught of his number one seeded team. “Unlike the last couple of years, I think six teams could win it this year. Some teams we match up better with than others.” Greene and Norwich square off on Saturday, and Oxford visits Waverly Friday at 6 p.m. with the winner facing B-G/A on Saturday.

Oxford’s girls’ basketball team has steadily moved up the ladder in the MAC standings, and is now one of the top three teams in the league as it heads into the final weeks of the regular season. The MAC changed its divisional alignment this year and playoff format. The league is now one division with every team facing the other one time in division play. Over the past few years, the strength of one division has often swung one division’s way or the another, and good teams have been left out of the playoff mix. In the current format, the top four teams overall are guaranteed a postseason spot. Last season, Oxford was probably one of the top four teams, but lost a division playoff – and a shot at a league championship – after losing a division playoff to Harpursville. After a midseason slump, Oxford has won six games in a row to put itself in contention. Oxford head coach Chris Palmer felt his team would have an excellent chance to win any game if it averaged around 50 points a game, and his point rings true. In the Blackhawks’ 10 wins, they average 47.3 points per game. In the three losses, Oxford is hearing more clanks of iron rather than the whoosh of a ball clearing the net averaging less than 30 points per game.

Through Monday, Jan. 24, 2011, here are the best individual scoring performances for area basketball players:
35–Jon Foulds, Norwich, Dec. 29, 2010 vs. Delhi; Jeff Pittsley, Otselic Valley, Dec. 11, 2010 vs. Tyburn Academy.
29–Dennis Oralls, Norwich, Dec. 3, 2010 vs. Chenango Valley.
28–DeMario Reed, G-MU, Jan. 21, 2011 vs. Schenevus; Jon Foulds, Dec. 30, 2010 vs. Greene; Jeff Pittsley, Jan. 21, 2011 vs. DeRuyter.
32–Cassie Beaver, S-E, Jan. 20, 2011 vs. Sauquoit Valley.
30–Haley Witchella, Oxford, Jan. 14, 2011 vs. Unadilla Valley
28–Tanya Barnes, G-MU, Dec. 10, 2010 vs. Deposit
27–Hannah Runyon, Norwich, Jan. 14, 2011 vs. Seton Catholic Central
27–Shania Vandermark, B-G, Jan. 20, 2011 vs. Unadilla Valley