The Penn State men’s basketball program scored a major victory on the court and off it Thursday night.
Shortly after Penn State defeated Baylor in the NIT championship game, standout Bishop Maginn recruit Taran Buie made a verbal commitment to play for the Nittany Lions and coach Ed DeChellis.
Buie, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, will be reunited with his brother, former Bishop Maginn star Talor Battle, when he joins the collegiate ranks for the 2010-11 season.
“Yes, he’s going to Penn State,” Bishop Maginn coach Rich Hurley said. “I talked to him briefly before he made the call last night [to DeChellis], and he said he wanted to be a Nittany Lion. That’s where we’re at.”
Buie was on a trip with his Albany City Rocks AAU basketball team, and unavailable for comment Friday night.
“We’re going to hold a press conference Monday, and he’ll tell you all about it,” Hurley said. “He’ll tell you how it all went down.”
Hurley said Buie, who is rated among the top 40 juniors by just about every major scouting service, narrowed his college decision down to Penn State, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Penn State won its first NIT title at Madison Square Garden Thursday night with a 69-63 victory in which Battle, a sophomore guard, scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
Buie and Battle played together during the 2006-07 season when Bishop Maginn won its first Section II championship and reached the state Class AA final.
Buie averaged 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.2 steals this season in leading Bishop Maginn to another Big 10 title, a spot in the sectional semifinals and an 18-4 record this year. The Daily Gazette All-Area first-teamer scored 30 points in his final game, a 60-59 overtime loss to Albany Academy.
Nisky drops in class
Having two high-caliber boys’ lacrosse teams in the state tournament is much better than one. Coach Mike Vorgang was thinking along that line when he decided to have his Niskayuna team compete at the Class B level for the 2009 postseason.
Niskayuna was Section II’s premier team over the last four years, winning the Class A championship each time, and its 2005 squad was the area’s first to reach a state final.
Niskayuna is a Class B school for lacrosse, based on enrollment, as it was in several previous years when it opted to play at the higher level.
“We’re doing what’s best for Section II lacrosse. I’ve always been a proponent of making our section better, and by us moving down [to Class B], it will,” Vorgang said. “It makes our section stronger.”
Shenendehowa, Guilderland, Shaker and Christian Brothers Academy lead this year’s Class A hopefuls. Shaker lost to Niskayuna in the 2008 large-school title game after a magnificent push through the sectionals, and Guilderland dropped three consecutive championship games to the Silver Warriors before that.
“There’s strength in our Class A group this year,” Vorgang said. “There are several top-notch teams capable of winning the title, and representing our section well at the state level.”
Before Niskayuna’s recent run of sectional titles, Shenendehowa captured three straight Class A banners from 2002-04 and reached the state semifinals each time. Niskayuna was the first Section II team to reach a state semifinal game in 2000 after it upset Yorktown in a regional matchup, and that was the last time Niskayuna competed at the Class B level.
“Obviously, we want to win our division, get to the sectional championship game, and win the championship game,” said Vorgang. “We’ve got to take care of business in Section II before anything else.”
Niskayuna will be a heavy favorite in each game it plays in the Class B sectionals, but not so in state play, should it advance. The state Class B group includes such heavyweights as John Jay (Cross River), Corning East, Garden City, Carthage, Lynbrook and Harborfields.
“When you get to the state level, everyone is good,” Vorgang said. “Rocky Point won the state Class B title last year and West Genesee won the Class A title, and a lot of people felt Rocky Point was the better team.”
Before Niskayuna goes after its ninth overall sectional championship and third at the Class B level, it will be striving for a 13th straight Suburban Council title. The Silver Warriors are coupled with Shenendehowa, Guilderland, Shaker and Saratoga in the top-heavy Blue Division, while Colonie, Columbia, Bethlehem, Ballston Spa and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake comprise the Gold Division.
Niskayuna went 13-0 in the division last year and 21-0 overall before a regional loss at Yorktown, and returns all but five players from that team that finished with a No. 7 ranking by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
“We look good. We’ve a senior-laden team that worked hard in the offseason and in the preseason,” said Vorgang. “We’re as solid as we’ve been.”
The returning cast includes Georgetown-bound All-American Dan McKinney, fellow midfielder Jared Franze, goalkeeper James Manchester, defensemen Josh Martin and Steve Abba and longstick midfielder Ryan Alden, who is being recruited by Duke, Notre Dame and Harvard.
“The defensive end and midfield is where we have most of our guys back,” said Vorgang. “That’s the strength of our team.”
Niskayuna opens its season today at Schenectady, and hosts Shaker Tuesday in its league debut.
Senior guards Megan Olsen of state finalist Bethlehem and Sheila Dixon of first-time Big 10 champion Schenectady have been named to the all-state Class AA third and fourth team, respectively, by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Twenty-six Section II athletes were honored by the NYSSWA, with Averill Park junior guard/forward Katie Duma making the Class A first team for the second year in a row and senior forward Carolyn Houston of state runner-up Hoosic Valley landing a spot on the Class C first team.
Class AA: Megan Olsen, 12, G, Bethlehem (third team); Sheila Dixon, 12, G, Schenectady (fourth); Alex McCullough, 12, C, Bethlehem (fifth); Staci McElroy, 12, F, Saratoga Springs (ninth); Antonia Williams, 12, C, Schenectady (10th); Mariah Stewart, 12, G, Bishop Maginn (11th).
Class A: Katie Duma, 11, G/F, Averill Park (first); Nicole Adach, 12, F, Mohonasen (second); Michelle Aviza, 12, G, Mohonasen (fifth); Kierra Moore, 11, G/F, Holy Names (sixth); Georgina Farrow, 12, F, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (sixth); Brittany O’Shea, 11, G, Averill Park (ninth).
Class B: Tierney McGlynn, 11, G, Watervliet (third); Paula Egelston, 11, F, Fonda-Fultonville (sixth); Avery Light, 11, F, Broadalbin-Perth (seventh); Hillary Kollar, 10, G, Johnstown (seventh).
Class C: Carolyn Houston, 12, F, Hoosic Valley (first); Samantha Anderson, 12, C, Hoosic Valley (second); Jesse Sussman, 12, F, Hadley-Luzerne (fourth); Ashlyn Slater, 12, G, Schenectady Christian (fifth); Abbey Hanehan, 11, G, Stillwater (sixth); Katie Roth, 10, C, Maple Hill (sixth); Dani DeGregory, 9, G, Greenwich (eighth).
Class D: Taylor Race, 11, F, Germantown (fourth); Chelsea Paul, 12, F, Northville (fifth); Olivia Tomaszewski, 10, G, Sharon Springs (sixth).
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Categories: High School Sports