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Joe Mazella dies at age 51

But in 2002, it all came together. With Blatche, a future NBA player, blocking shots and Chris Turner earning Central New York Player of the Year honors, Henninger won the state Class A championship, the first (and still only) Section III school to ever win the large-school division.

Having done all he could there, Mazella stepped down after the '02 season and stepped into school administration, replaced by Erik Saroney, who has kept Henninger near the top with two more sectional championships in 2004 and '08.

Even though he stopped coaching, Mazella on the scene and could always be seen at Henninger sporting events. In a cruel bit of irony, he died just hours before the Black Knights' home football opener at Sunnycrest Field against Christian Brothers Academy.

Mazella leaves behind his wife, Janice and daughters Marissa, Leah and Alicia. Calling hours are Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church on James Street in Eastwood, with the funeral Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., also at Blessed Sacrament.

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