The State Federation Tournament of Champions, which brings together boys and girls champions from New York’s four major sanctioning organizations, will set up shop in Albany for three years beginning in March 2011.
The Federation Council voted Wednesday to move the event out of the Glens Falls Civic Center, its home since 1981. Binghamton and Long Island had also made bids to wrest the tournament from Glens Falls, where it has long been plagued by poor attendance and less-than-rabid media coverage.
Albany will host the tournament at the Times Union Center on the weekend following the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in Glens Falls (boys) and Troy (girls). Besides the NYSPHSAA, the Federation tournament brings together representatives of the Catholic High School Athletic Association, New York City’s PSAL and the Association of Independent Schools.
More basketball: PSAL cracking down
The week’s other most significant basketball news also took place off the court.
Abraham Lincoln forward Chris Ortiz, a transfer from Christ the King, was ruled ineligible by the PSAL.
Ortiz left Christ the King on Dec. 18 after a series of disciplinary incidents, The New York Post reported. He enrolled at Lincoln, the four-time defending league champion, without having played any games for CTK, but Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg confirmed the ruling.
"As a result of Christopher Ortiz’s participation in practices and scrimmages on the Christ the King Regional basketball team, the eligibility committee has concluded that he was an active member of the team at the time he was discharged," Feinberg told the paper. "This is further confirmed by the athletic administration of Christ The King high school."
Rule 3.2 of the PSAL’s Student-Athlete Eligibility Rules and Regulations supports the finding, though Lincoln's Kamari Murphy earlier was ruled eligible under similar circumstances after leaving Bishop Ford.
To be sure, numerous PSAL players have transferred into private schools over the years, too. But the recent one-sided flow that gutted Xaverian and Bishop Loughlin in recent years, coupled with the PSAL's willingness to grant eligibility, raised eyebrows at even some of the public schools. The ruckus threatened to escalate already-frosty relations between factions of the basketball community.
The ruling on Ortiz doesn't solve the problem, but it does buy some time to negotiate a truce.
Heroes and highlights on the court
* Taylor Isselhard (14 points) knocked down a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in overtime to give Gananda a three-point lead en route to a 63-61 victory over Marion, top-ranked in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Billy Heumann scored a career-high 18 points for the Blue Panthers.
* Jayvaughn Pinkston scored 34 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but Half Hollow Hills West still scored a 75-72 win over Bishop Loughlin in overtime at the High School Invitational at Baruch College. HHHW’s Tobias Harris produced 19 points and seven rebounds in the victory before fouling out in the OT period.
* Canisius College recruit Jen Morabito scored her team's final 15 points as Binghamton remained unbeaten in Class AA girls basketball with a 69-66 triumph over Horseheads. Morabito opened the fourth quarter by setting up Madison Ward for a basket, then rattled off the rest of the Patriots' points to finish with 34 for the night.
* Bishop Ford knocked off the No. 1 St. Michael Academy 48-45 as sophomore Brittany Lewis made two critical free throws, her only points of the game, with :44 to play.
Football: Standout quarterback has uncertain future
Dan Scalo battled back from offseason shoulder surgery to lead Monroe-Woodbury to its sixth straight Section IX football championship and earn multiple individual honors.
But now he’s saying enough is enough. New York’s Gatorade Player of the Year said this week that he is telling college recruiters he will not be ready to play this fall.
The dual-threat quarterback, selected the NYSSWA co-player of the year in Class AA earlier this month, said his shoulder has not fully recovered from surgery in December 2008 following the state championship game, The Times Herald-Record reported.
Scalo played his junior year with a torn labrum in his throwing (left) shoulder and had surgery after the season. He played in some pain throughout his senior season last fall and received a cortisone shot in September to reduce the pain.
He could be facing an uncertain schedule of rest and rehabilitation, and the situation isn’t going to be significantly better before national signing day arrives in two weeks.
"I don't want to go through all the stuff, and then not be able to play," Scalo said. "That wouldn't be fair to the school. I just don't feel like it's where it needs to be to play at the next level."
Scalo is still looking at colleges but has canceled some recruiting visits. The paper said Columbia and Bucknell have made offers, with Lafayette, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Albany and Wyoming still in the mix. Scalo rolled up 33 rushing or passing TDs and more than 2,700 yards of total offense as a senior.
Indoor Track: Seven N.Y. girls in the Millrose mile field
Cornwall junior Aisling Cuffe has been invited to run Jan. 29 in the girls mile on the legendary boards of Madison Square Garden in the Millrose Games. Cuffe barely missed securing the automatic berth at the Hispanic Games on Jan. 16 with a 4:54.84 effort, losing to Roslyn's Emily Lipari by 0.08 seconds.
New Yorkers Hayley McMahon (Arlington), Kelsey Margey (Harborfields), Lizzie Predmore (Shenendehowa), Colleen Schmidt (Holy Trinity) and Katherine Skinner (Riverhead) will join Cuffe and Lipari in the field. The other competitors are Lindsay Crevoiserat of Glastonbury (Conn.), Cory McGee of Pass Christian (Miss.) and Sara Sargent of Pennsbury (Pa.)
Odds and ends
* Sections V and VI have been in talks this winter about a season-opening series of football games between schools from the Rochester and Buffalo areas. Sources indicate that a sponsor is ready to enlist, but there may be scheduling issues (Section V’s Monroe County League may not have enough non-league slots available) that keep the event from getting off the ground this fall.
* Joey DiPiazza stepped down as baseball coach at Albany High, where he had built up the program in his four seasons and guided the '09 team to its first league championship in two decades.
* Marcellus football coach Joe Goss has retired after 11 seasons.
* Cicero-North Syracuse will host the NYSPHSAA and Federation track and field championships in even-number years beginning in 2012, The Post-Standard reported.