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Why I still do this

State finals remind writer of joys inherent in covering sports

Grabbing 29 points, Durr surpassed the great Breanna Stewart as Section III’s all-time leader in points, with 2,389. Surpassing Stewart in anything is special, given what she’s doing at Connecticut, and to do it in this setting, playing for a coach (Mike Plonisch) who’s lost both of his parents in recent months, made it even sweeter and more satisfying.

Right after that, another great senior went out on top. Nick Comenale, from New York Mills’ boys team, overcame a rough night to carry the Marauders to a 57-50 overtime win over Coleman Catholic at Glens Falls to earn the Marauders’ second state championship in four years.

Not many programs, in any class, can match Mills, nor can many of them top the coaching acumen of Mike Adey. He’s first-class, all around, and in Comenale he had a player who delivered night after night, never more so than on that final evening with the big prize on the line.

Even the stories of teams that came up short were great ones. Almost no one thought that Jamesville-DeWitt’s girls, with just one senior in the main rotation and eighth-graders (Meg Hair and Kasey Vaughan) in key roles, would get to the state Class A final for the first time.

Yet the Red Rams pulled it off, leaning on a stifling defense to finally clear the regional hurdle against Averill Park and stop Harborfields, too. Pittsford Sutherland proved too much, 57-41, but no J-D partisan – players, coaches or fans – felt too bad. It was already an historic season.

The same was true with Cicero-North Syracuse’s girls, who fell in the Class AA final to Ossining 74-59. Tough and resilient, the Northstars have long proved that life after Stewart is not just possible, but can prove quite rewarding.

From a sixth consecutive sectional title to a dramatic regional win over Shenendehowa won on a last-second basket to the 18 free throws it made in the state semifinals against Baldwin, C-NS won lots of hearts along the way.

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