Archive for January, 2014

Ever and again, any port in the storm can be home.

Friday, January 31st, 2014
Matt White

Dear diary, it’s been five weeks since my last confession. A lot has changed – some for the good, some for the not so great – but nonetheless my group of exemplary cohorts (er, co-workers) and I have weathered through a seemingly treacherous storm amidst a raging sea. If I were to assign a song to the experience that was my first “Progress Chenango,” I would steal a line from a budding Neil Young who sang: “Sailing hardships through broken harbors out on the waves in the night; still a searcher must ride the darkness racing alone in his fright. Tell me why.”
Our ship’s fearless captain selflessly maneuvered the beast to the other side, a battle that I could only liken to driving a ’72 El Dorado with balding middle-aged tires and loose steering down a winding Chenango County back road. Sure, it had it’s moments filled with poise and false sense of security, but for the most part our brilliant boffin was wrestling her sense of dignity with her unwavering ethic-steeped determination.
I’m looking forward to getting back into having time to focus on writing opinion pieces, blogs and more in-depth daily news reporting, all of which – admittedly and with regret – were taxed when juggled with the added workload leading up to the publication of the ten extra papers.
During my absence from blogosphere, A woman I considered to be my mother passed away. Now, I’m not one to bear my soul over loss or let my personal life interfere with my work; but a series of events transpired shortly before her death that has changed my life.
Long ago – shortly after my father passed away – I moved out of the area, married and established my life elsewhere. I all but abandoned my family, losing touch with my siblings, aunts/uncles.
The significance of this is that I had come from a very tight-knit, closely related family… we were raised on a farm in White Store (a hamlet just over the hill between route eight and Norwich) where my cousins and I spent every season of our youthful years together. My cousins were effectively my siblings – and I respected my aunts and uncles with same regard as my parents.
After the passing of my grandparents and father in my teens, moving off the farm and the inevitable passage of time we went our separate ways and became disassociated.
In typical fashion- the ebb and flow of life returned me back to the Norwich area a divorced man with six children searching for his roots.
Last fall, as I started work here at The Evening Sun, I received word that Lanie (mom) was suffering from a rare form of oral cancer and that a benefit had been scheduled to assist in defraying the cost of travel expenses to and from chemotherapy treatments.
I felt compelled to attend, if not only to pay my respect the woman who was strong enough to step forward and raise a hellish younger version of myself in the absence of my biological mother who stepped out when I was all of two years of age.
When I arrived at the venue, I quickly became flush with an uncomfortable fear of scrutiny. I felt what I thought was the disapproving eyes of folks I hadn’t spoken a word to in more than a decade fall upon me. I scanned the room, clawing for a familiar face to comfort me – to which the results were nil.
I had trouble remembering the names of my own family whom played a tremendous role in shaping me into the person I am today.
In my confusion, I failed to notice Jeanine – my older cousin whom I had the strongest relationship with as a child – as she approached me and greeted me with the biggest smile and best feeling embrace that I had encountered in quite some time.
In a matter of two minutes we shed nearly twelve years of age and lost time with minimal diction. I was able to find that one person I’d least expected but needed the most. We laughed and talked, poked fun of one another – I commented “Neenee” on how good she looked, and she was more than willing to let me know that I was shaping up quite like my dad – her favorite uncle Dennis.
Lanie wasn’t feeling all that great and had all of her teeth extracted the day prior inpreperatin of a procedure, so by the time I had arrived at the venue my stepsister Andrea had taken her home. As the evening concluded and we all pitched in to clean up the Sherburne American Legion, I made plans with Andrea to get up to see mom as she was living adjacent to her.
Meanwhile, Thanksgiving and then Christmas had come and gone – Jeanine and I had exchanged phone numbers and had begun the process of re-connecting. My girlfriend Rachel and I had made a few trips to Jeanine and her husband Jason’s cabin on Hatch Lake and acquainted the kids to one another.
It felt good answering my niece’s and nephew’s questions of “will you be coming to see us more often” with a re-affirming “yes.”
Shortly after New Years I learned that Laine had died. She became ill and was admitted to the hospital where her unexpected prognosis of weeks to live was trumped only by her unexpected death the next morning.
My heart sank. I never made it up to see her. Once again, life had become the priority and I would never see her again.
I took a good look at the situation and came to what I consider an obligatory catharsis.
Had it not been for the demise of my mom, I most likely would have spent God knows however many more years away from my past; away from the family I wanted to be a part of. In essence, it took the tragedy of loosing one of the most influential people in my life to bring me back to the ones that I love and missed all along.
Without knowing it, Laine planted the seed for the future of my family. I am lucky, humbled and grateful for such a great gift. I am doing my best to nurture this freshly planted seedling along.

Thanks, Mom.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Patrick Newell

Norwich’s boys basketball team is justifiably gaining notice in the state rankings, and recently ascended to the number seven spot in the New York State Sportwriters Association’s Class B poll., As the only unbeaten team left in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference, Norwich enters each game with a target on its back, said head coach Tom Collier. “We’re getting everyone’s best game; we’re their Super Bowl,” Collier said following last Thursday’s victory over Susquehanna Valley. The community has taken notice, too, and attendance numbers are on the rise at the pared-down Norwich High School gymnasium. A few years ago, the bleachers were updated to meet building code regulations, and the result was a loss of about 33 percent of the total capacity. It’s fair to say the maximum seating was exceeded Tuesday, Jan. 21 when Norwich entertained longtime rival Oneonta. Every bleacher seat was taken, and it was standing-room-only at each exit. It won’t be long before Norwich will need to set up a closed circuit viewing to accommodate the additional patrons. Norwich loves a winner, and the dominant start to the 2013-2014 season is rekindling some memories of the state championship teams of 1993 and 1994. While this year’s team is not facing the likes of Binghamton, Ithaca, Vestal, and Union-Endicott (maybe in the STAC tournament), similar to the state title teams, the manner in which the Tornado are winning is nearly identical. The 1993 team that went 29-0 averaged well over 70 points per game, and had a victory margin of about 23 points per game. This year’s NHS club is giving up less points per game than the ’93 team, but it, too, is winning by 23 points a game. In 13 Norwich wins this season, only two have been decided by less than 10 points – one against Section IV opposition.

No love for Sherburne-Earlville?
Sherburne-Earlville’s girls have battled injuries, illness, and other circumstances that have kept one or two starters out of the lineup multiple times since the turn of the calendar. Still, the Marauders have extended their unbeaten winning streak to 15 games after two more wins. The pollsters who compile the high school state rankings remain unimpressed as S-E remains in the 19 spot in the latest Class B iteration, released Jan. 31. S-E entered the rankings several weeks ago, but have barely moved in the standings. Still, S-E is on the verge of surpassing the school’s single-season victory record of 17. Just think, as recently as 2006, the Marauders had not compiled a single winning season in Section III or in the Susquenango Association in Section IV. Now, winning seasons are the norm as are division championships in the Center State Conference.

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Most successful Chenango County teams in recent years

Friday, January 24th, 2014
Patrick Newell

My recall of teams, events, and players is not quite what it used to be. Unlike my early mentor, Tom Schwan, I do not have binders upon binders detailing every team ‘s record from the past 19 years. I have a few of Tom’s old records on hand, and I often use them for reference when looking back at the 1970s and 1980s. Bowing to my long-term memory deficiency, I have compiled a list of the most successful teams from the past six or seven years. These respective teams may not have been the best team in Chenango County that particular year in that particular sport, but they certainly accomplished the most.

Baseball (Oxford, 2007)
Oxford won a sectional championship, beat Cooperstown in the state regional finals down in Endicott before losing in the state semifinals.

Softball (Greene, 2012)
Riding the pitching of senior Rebecca Hanrahan, the Trojans had the school’s best softball season in school history winning a Class C championship and advancing to the state title game where they ultimately fell on victory shy of a state championship.

Girls’ Basketball (Greene, 2008-2009)
It was quite a debut season for head coach Dave Gorton, who inherited a talented bunch of ladies from longtime Trojans mentor, Bill Case. After losing to Harpursville in the MAC title game – one of only two losses that season – the Trojans avenged that defeat less than two weeks later in the Class C playoffs, won the Section IV championship, and advanced all the way to the state semifinals before losing to the eventual state champion.

Boys’ Basketball (Norwich 2012-2013)
Norwich has won four Section IV titles over the past 12 years, and while last year’s team may not have been the best, it came the closest to advancing in the state tournament. The previous three NHS champions all lost by double digits, but last season, Norwich dropped a one-point final to Westhill, and had possession of the ball at the end of the game with an opportunity to win.

Swimming (boys and girls), Greene
In terms of sheer accomplishments, Greene takes the top spot. The boys won 48 straight league meets from 2001-2010, and had a 20-meet winning streak in 2007-2008. The Trojans girls went undefeated in 2007-2008 piling up 24 straight wins an adding 20 of 21 gold medals in the 2007 MAC championships.

Field Hockey (Greene 2009, 2012)
The only difference between these two teams was the margin of victory in the state playoff games. The Trojans went unbeaten in 2009, and didn’t allow a single goal throughout the postseason in capturing the Class B title. It was rinse and repeat three years later with the reward a Class C state title and another unbeaten campaign for head coach Sue Carlin

Bowling (Sherburne-Earlville)
Over the past decade, the Marauders – boys and girls – have rarely lost as many as two matches in a season, and each club (boys and girls) is well on its way to another unbeaten season and a Center State Conference title.

Football (Greene, 2008)
The last Chenango County team to win a Section IV title was Oxford’s 2000 team. Since that time, Greene, Norwich, and Oxford have all made Section IV finals appearances. Of late, Greene has led the area with two sectional finals appearances over the past six seasons. The better of those two Trojans teams was the 2008 outfit that finished 9-1. That Greene team averaged 38 points per game and won by an average of 25 points a game heading into the Class C championship game. Coming in as a prohibitive favorite, the season ended in a 14-6 loss to Elmira Notre Dame.

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On the verge of “Progress”

Friday, January 24th, 2014
Shawn Magrath

• If ever there’s a time of year when The Evening Sun staff has little on their plate, January more than makes up for it. As I’m sure most readers are well aware, it’s “Progress Chenango” time at the newsroom, a time when staffers drink unsafe amounts of coffee and forget what fresh air smells like. Fortunate for me, my share of Progress work is done for another year. But it’s just getting started for our Editor in Chief, who faces the weekend task of putting the behemoth of a project together. The rest of us will be taking turns Saturday to prod her awake by poking her with a stick, and occasionally wiping the drool off her keyboard.

• On Thursday, “Taking Back Chenango County” met at the Sheriff’s Office for the second time sine the group formed in December. First off, I have to say I admire this group because they’ve shown that they love the area – love it – and are eager to make a positive change. I think their efforts were clearly born of good intent and I wish every one involved the very best of luck in what they’re trying to accomplish.

That said (and at the risk of sounding like a downer) it will be interesting to see if anything comes of it. Admittedly, I didn’t attend either of the past two meetings; but I get the impression that many who did are people who genuinely want change but aren’t too eager to rise to the challenge (I have my own term for these types of people, but I’ll refrain for the sake of my “virgin ear” readers). I don’t think it’s fair that anyone show up to these meetings just to delegate their ideas to someone else. My feeling is if you really want to see something good happen, then get involved. If you have an idea, follow through. Be productive. Be hands on. Attending a an occasional meeting to pat yourself on the back is not “hands on” work, but merely cheering from the sidelines.

Regardless, good luck, Taking Back Chenango. If there’s one thing this area needs, it’s proactive measures.

• On an off topic, my job requires that I take photos for front page stories as often as possible. Unfortunately, because my primary beat is city and county governments, I don’t spend too much time with a camera in hand. On the rare occasions I do, I wonder if a monkey could snap a better picture. So what’s a reporter to do but learn more about the photography trade? I recently watched an online video from New York Times Magazine that featured tips and tricks from from a 60-plus year veteran cat photographer. What I learned – other than the profession of “cat photographer” is a thing – is it’s best to be eye-level with the subject, then grunt, bark, moan or groan to get a reaction… I’ll let you know how it works for me.

• Fellow reporter Matt White recently told me that white noise often helps with concentration and focus in the office. I’ve heard this before, so I decided to try it out today. I started with a 10-hour soundbite of a vacuum cleaner. That got old fast, so I switched to “noisy cafe,” then to the sound of rain. Then I started listening to Eric Clapton’s “Let it Rain.” Then the Beatles’ “Here comes the sun.” Before I knew it, things got out of hand and I was listening to the Black Eyed Peas, which I assure does not bolster concentration nor creativity. Maybe I’ll try the whole “white noise” thing again another day.

Top five games I saw in 2013

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Patrick Newell

I thought it would be fun, as I wind down my career at The Evening Sun, to make a series of “top-five” lists on a variety of topics. Today, I look at the best five games I attended in 2013 in descending order. Interesting note, three of the five games on my list involved a loss by the local club.

5. Marathon 3, Greene 2
Greene’s boys soccer team brought an unbeaten record in the sectional semifinals against nemesis Marathon. The Trojans controlled the first half, but gave way to a big Marathon comeback. Marathon scored the go-ahead goal with 19.6 seconds left to apparently clinch the win. Greene, though, pushed its entire lineup forward in a swarm of green of white on the ensuing kickoff. The Trojans’ attack led to a last-second goal that was ultimately waved off by the official. It was a crushing loss, but a tremendous effort, nonetheless.

4. Sherburne-Earlville 14, Frankfort-Schuyler 0
The running joke among some faithful at S-E is that my attendance at a game is the kiss of death for the Marauders. It’s not an unfounded opinion. In 19 seasons covering local football, I have been to around two to three S-E games a year. In about 40 games, I would wager the Marauders have won maybe 10. Of those 10, this season’s win over Frankfort-Schuyler – a matchup of state-ranked teams – was perhaps the biggest since the club moved into Section III in 2002. S-E has come up short in nearly every big game, but the program turned the corner with this shutout victory. S-E finished with a 7-1 record, its best record in 11-man football in 42 years.

3 Norwich 48, New York Mills 45
This came was completed just before the turn of the calendar as the NHS boys pulled off yet another miraculous comeback. Down 14 points with two minutes left in the third quarter, there was no indication Norwich’s fortunes would change. That never-quit mentality led Norwich back and to a triumphant victory in the Stop DWI Holiday Classic Region II title.

2. Harpursville 53, Unadilla Valley 51
Unadilla Valley’s girls were coming off a Midstate Athletic Conference championship the previous week, but had perhaps the toughest first-round sectional playoff game one could schedule. In a third seed versus sixth seed matchup, it was high-quality basketball from the opening tip with each team trading leads. Harpursville led by two late in the game, and survived a UV miss on a last-second putback attempt to advance. Not only did Harpursville advance in this game, it won the Section IV Class C title, and rode that momentum to an appearance in the state finals.

1. Westhill 59, Norwich 58
At number three we had a Norwich boys’ basketball comeback that led to a victory. About 8 1/2 months earlier, the Purple Tornado came up one-poiint shy in the state quarterfinals in a display of fortitude and perseverance. Norwich trailed Westhill by 16 points midway through the third quarter. Nothing was going right, but the patented comeback that has become an NHS staple left Norwich one point short. Norwich forced a late turnover and had possession of the ball with under 20 seconds to play. Unfortunately, it never got that winning shot off. “We just ran out of time,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier after the game.

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A blog about a lot of nothing, or everything

Sunday, January 12th, 2014
Ashley Babbitt

Well, there’ve been requests via the almighty ’30 Seconds’ that we blog more. According to the poster, we should have enough time. So, here goes nothin’. Literally, this will probably be a blog about nothing.

The reporters and I have been working tirelessly on the annual Progress Chenango edition, set to be published the week of Jan. 27. This work is done on top of the regular daily workload, and they’ve been devoting many hours at interviews or sitting at their desks typing away.

This past week has been my busiest in recent memory, and now it’s all a blur. I can tell you I was at the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office four out of five days last week. I can only remember two of the reasons why at this time. Oh, wait – the third just came to me. I still have no clue what I did on Tuesday. I spent a couple hours with Chenango County Court Judge Frank Revoir, and that was interesting. An hour or more was spent with Norwich Police Chief Joe Angelino, and I thoroughly enjoyed that interview. Same goes for the interview I had with District Attorney Joe McBride.

Mind you, I have to write stories about each of the above interviews today, but am opting to blog first, because … well, I haven’t had enough coffee yet and this blog is more mindless.

In addition to my regular duties of building the paper, answering phone calls and emails, managing an editorial staff, drinking coffee, listening to music, and doodling on a white board, and writing, I’ve been doing some other things as a form of stress relief.

I covered county court on Friday because I felt like it. Another reason I wanted to go is because I reported on a meeting held at the CCSO Thursday night where McBride encouraged those in attendance to make a public presence at court, and I wanted to see if his advice was heeded. As for Friday’s court … nope. It was the usual staff, the judge and lawyers, defendants and family, and myself. Granted, some people hold jobs that don’t allow them the freedom to sit in a court room from 10:30 a.m. until noon, but I thought a few people might show and I wanted to follow up.

Reminder to the public if they do decide to check out court, it’s wise to leave your phone in your car, as well as any other cameras or recording devices, and – as always – bring no weapons. I like to go with four notebooks, a pen in my hair (and three extras in my purse … I tend to go places with allllmost dead pens), and four bottles of water. Even though this week will be busy, I want to cover court again Monday to see if members of the public attend.

Shifting gears, as most people know, the body of Christopher Gonzalez was found off of Route 36 on Friday afternoon. I believe I have mentioned the power of social media before, but if not, I’ll touch on that only briefly.

I received 11 messages to my personal Facebook account on Friday that simply said “Hey, what’s with the body found?” or “Body on Pratt Rd!” or “Know anything about the body?” I called the State Police and asked, and was told there was no information. I knew the State Police were leading the investigation, but gave it a shot and called the CCSO too, and hit a dead end, as expected.

One more message was sent via Facebook, and I thought, “Okay, fine. I’m not finding out anything by calling authorities, and I don’t have to build Monday’s pages until Sunday, so I have time. I’ll grab my camera and drive around.”

After traveling down 36 for a short time, I ran into a bunch of police vehicles, so I pulled over at a safe location, got out of my car, and took a bunch of photos. Thank you, Facebook friends, for the heads up.

Reporters attempted to get in touch with police who would confirm reports, but it took a little time. We were told that they would have a statement around 4 p.m. At that time, we were able to release the information we had.

I had planned – for weeks – to spend this weekend in New Hampshire, my favorite place to chill. After this week, I really, really needed to get away. However, I had to cancel my plans because there is so much work to do. I hope to get out there the final weekend of January, otherwise it will be the first month since June that I have not made the journey, and that really bums me out. My time there re-boots my brain, calms down my nerves, and makes my heart and head happy. I come back ready to roll, and it’s such a refreshing feeling. Hopefully the universe will cooperate for a Jan. 31 weekend trip.

Hmm … what else has been happening?

Oh, despite how busy I have been (and will continue to be), I still need to have a life. I checked out the local band The Suspicious Hats at The Blarney Stone Pub on Friday night, and that was fun. They always put on a good show. This was, however, two-fold, as I also needed photos for a story I’m working on about live music in the area. My ginger ale with cranberry juice and a slice (or three) of lime was tasty every time I ordered it. The band played some of my favorite tunes.

I opted to do zero work on Saturday, since I was supposed to be in New Hampshire anyway. It felt nice, but leaves me a lot to catch up on today. Oh well. I love to write, so I can’t complain.

Side-note for the fun of it: I have some of the most hilarious, entertaining friends on the planet. My day of zero work was spectacular.

I realized I need to try more things. I’ve never been on a motorcycle. I only theoretically know how to drive a car with manual transmission. I’ve never jumped out of a plane. I need to check off a couple of those. Soon.

Long-time Sports Editor Pat Newell will be high-tailing it to New Mexico after the winter sports season ends. I am happy for him and his other half to take part in new adventures on the other side of the country, but I’ll miss him. I should find out if he likes cake. Or brownies. Or cookies. And if so, I should make some for him before he leaves.

That being said, we’re on the lookout for a new Sports Ed. If you’re interested, please send resume, cover letter, and writing samples to abiviano@evesun.com.

I feel like I add this in just about everything I write, but:

Dear school bus drivers,

You are not entitled. You’re entrusted with the safety and care of transporting kiddos to and from school. Four-way stop signs apply to you. So do red lights. So do speed limits. In a school zone, you should not be traveling faster than 15 mph. In the city, you shouldn’t exceed 30 mph. The last thing that needs to happen is an accident with a school bus full of children and another vehicle, or a bus-on-pedestrian accident. Seriously. Slow it down and pay attention. I’m sure parents and the general public would appreciate your cooperation. If you want me to stop for you when you put out your stop sign, you need to follow the other basics of travel.

Thanks.

On a related note, the light at the Hale St and Midland Drive/Prentice Street intersection is back in operating order. While it was a four-way stop during the few days it took for repairs of the signal, I witnessed so many people running through the sign. It really makes sense to pay attention when you’re driving, especially since that intersection is so close to the school, and the area sees heavy traffic in the mornings and afternoons throughout the week.

We had some cold temperatures lately, and complaints came from all over. Newsflash: It is January in Central New York. It gets cold. Don’t worry, spring will arrive soon enough and it’ll be muddy and rainy, and I’m sure people will have to gripe about that one. I allow myself one complaint per season. I’ve already used my winter complaint, and I got it out of the way early.

I love rain – as a matter of fact I’m listening to Trevor Hall’s tune “Good Rain” right now – so it’s always hard to come up with a complaint about spring. I guess mine will be something like, “Man, it’s cloudy but warm, I wish it were raining so I could go play in the puddles.”

It has been weeks since I’ve seen my best friend. She lives a 1.5 minute drive away. We just had a conversation about our mutual hate for “skinny jeans.” She is the best.

Alright, hopefully this is sufficient enough to keep the masses at bay for a little bit. Time to make some more coffee, and get to work.

Please be kind to one another. You don’t know what someone else is going through.

Columbo was never on Facebook

Friday, January 10th, 2014
Shawn Magrath

Time to make good a new year’s resolution – blog more.

Despite my prolonged hiatus from the blogoshpere, let it be known it wasn’t for lack of trying to post something. Progress. It seems, however, that every time I tried to blog over the last two weeks, something else took priority. Progress. And that something consumed a lot of my time and attention. Progress. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get away from it. Progress.

For those who can’t quite crack the subliminal code ever so cleverly and discretely woven in, “Progress Chenango” is underway. My own griping aside, the 10-section behemoth that is Progress Chenango serves you – the reader – as an in depth snapshot of various Chenango County businesses, local governments and non profits, the ground they’ve made in the last year and the goals they’ve set for the year to come. From a reporter’s perspective, all those extra stories equate to late nights at the office, living off burnt coffee and whatever we find in the community refrigerator, and trying to make sense of the night time conversations overheard on Lackawanna Ave. (things that can’t be unheard, unfortunately). As our editor put it: wake, write, sleep, repeat. Sound about right.

I feel I wouldn’t be doing justice to my job as a reporter without recapping a tragic series of events that occurred over the last week. On Monday night and Tuesday morning, Mayhood’s Sporting Goods was burglarized not once, but twice. Stolen merchandise included 22 handguns, several long guns and ammunition. On Wednesday, police released the name of Christopher Gonzalez as a suspect wanted for questioning in relation to the burglaries. And for reasons and causes unbeknownst to the public, Gonzalez was found dead on County Road 36 on Friday – the same day police announced they had also arrested Gonzalez’s girlfriend, Brandy Bousson, as an accomplice in the burglaries just two days prior.

All that said, I encourage everyone to let investigators do their job. Of course, nothing can stop the rumor mill once it’s started. But for the sake of the family and respect for the deceased, I say let the issue be until further information is disclosed.

It just occurred to me, Columbo was never on Facebook. “Just one more thing…”

Lastly, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a reporter if I didn’t also bring notice to the heavy traffic at the intersection of South Broad and the Price Chopper Plaza in Norwich. I was stopped at a red light three times before I made it through. I suspect the Norwich mayor has something to do with it. Scandal? Maybe. Minor inconvenience? You know it.

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Jan. 9, 2014

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Patrick Newell

Basketball Statistics
At the midway point of the season, two basketball teams have the same number of losses with which they started – zero. Norwich is 7-0 and ranked among the top 10 Class B boys teams in New York, while Sherburne-Earlville’s girls improved to 10-0 Thursday night, and recently made an entry into the Class B poll at the 18 spot. Individually, the top three scoring leaders for the boys are David Dufresne of Unadilla Valley at 22.6 points per game; Austin Jasper of S-E, at 19.9 points per tilt; and Zach Wentlent of Greene, who averages an even 19 points per tilt. UV earns a sweep of the scoring leaders with Taylor Davis of the Storm headlining the girls at 17.6 points a game; Lilly Berg of S-E is next at 15.8, and Greene senior Jess David is presently averaging 14.1 points per game.

Rankings
Speaking of the aforementioned rankings, they are available on the New York State Sports Writers Association website, and are updated weekly. Coaches tell me that rankings don’t mean much in the regular season, but they sure do mean a lot to fans – and sportswriters who need something to dress up a game story. In truth, the final poll after the state championships are completed is the only time rankings really matter to coaches.

Don’t stick a fork in me
Earlier this week I officially announced my impending departure from The Evening Sun. Don’t stick a fork in me just yet. I still have hundreds of game reports to bring to the readers, and I hope a deep run in the playoffs will extend my stay. Over the next few weeks, I will share some of my favorites on various local sports topics from the past 19 seasons.

Follow me on Twitter @evesunpat