Monday, February 2, 2009

Magic numbers - high school hoops stretch run

With about two weeks to go before the Section II playoffs begin, let's break down who has the inside shot to clinch league titles in the coming days. Magic numbers mean any combination of first place team victories plus second place team defeats equals a league title.
For example, with six games left on its Big 10 schedule, Bishop Maginn needs any combination of their victories or CBA losses to add up to six to lock up the conference championship.
We'll start with the boys teams, league-by-league.

Big 10

B. Maginn (AA, 16) (10-0, 11-3)
C.B.A. (AA, 18) (11-1, 13-2)
B. Gibbons (7-3, 10-4)
Schenectady (6-5, 8-7)
Albany (5-6, 6-8)
Troy (4-8, 5-11)
Amsterdam (3-8, 5-10)
La Salle (2-9, 4-11)
Catholic Central (2-10, 3-12)

Bishop Maginn's magic number: 6
With CBA only a game behind, any combination of Bishop Maginn victories or CBA losses adding up to six means the Griffins can capture their second Big 10 title both overall and consecutively. The Golden Griffins have won 32 straight Big 10 games heading into Tuesday's contest against ND-BG. Friday night, they'll play CBA at the Washington Avenue Armory - tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

Suburban Council

North Division

Shenendehowa (10-1, 14-1)
Saratoga Springs (7-4, 10-5)
Shaker (6-6, 7-9)
Burnt Hills (5-6, 7-8)
Niskayuna (3-9, 4-12)
Ballston Spa (1-11, 3-12)
South Division
Guilderland (9-2, 11-4)
Mohonasen (8-3, 10-5)
Colonie (7-4, 9-6)
Bethlehem (5-6, 5-10)
Columbia (5-7, 9-7)
Averill Park (2-9, 3-12)

Shenendehowa's magic number: 3
Guilderland's magic number: 5
The Plainsmen nearly have the North Division locked up and they can clinch it on Friday against Averill Park if they defeat Saratoga Springs on Tuesday. A victory on Tuesday and a Saratoga Springs loss on Friday night would also clinch the division for Shenendehowa.
The Dutchmen, on the other hand, still have a bit of work to do, but they can knock two off the number on Tuesday night when they travel to Mohonasen. The Warriors, of course, could force a tie with a victory.

Colonial Council
Lansingburgh (9-1, 12-4)
Voorheesville (C, 13) (8-1, 10-5)
Cohoes (8-3, 10-6)
Watervliet (7-5, 9-8)
Mechanicville (4-6, 5-11)
Cobleskill (2-8, 2-14)
Ravena (2-8, 2-12)
Schalmont (1-9, 1-14)

Lansingburgh's magic number: 5
The Blackbirds of Voorheesville have a game at hand and it will take a Voorheesville loss and Lansingburgh winning out for them to claim sole possession of the Colonial Council title.
Although the Blackbirds have been on the skids lately with losses to Class AA teams, it's likely the teams will share the Council title after splitting the season series.

Wasaren League
Hoosick Falls (C, 11) (8-1, 12-2)
Granville (7-3, 12-3)
Stillwater (7-3, 10-6)
Tamarac (7-3, 13-3)
Hoosic Valley (4-6, 10-6)
Schuylerville (3-6, 6-9)
Greenwich (2-8, 8-9)
Cambridge (1-9, 2-14)

Hoosick Falls' magic number: 4
After completing the season sweep of Tamarac, the Panthers are sitting two games atop the Wasaren League standings and it looks like the race for second place will be the most interesting. Granville and Tamarac are Class B teams, while Hoosick Falls and Stillwater will compete in the Class CC bracket. Whichever teams fall to third and fourth place will draw lower sectional seeds but will prove to be very formidable teams when the playoffs begin later this month.
The three-way tie for second place complicates the date Hoosick Falls can earliest clinch the title and we'll know more after Wednesday's games.

Patroon Conference
Maple Hill (C, 2) (14-0, 16-0)
Ichabod Crane (11-2, 11-4)
Rensselaer (10-4, 11-5)
Cairo-Durham (8-5, 10-5)
Hudson (8-6, 9-7)
Chatham (7-7, 9-7)
Catskill (6-8, 7-9)
Greenville (4-10, 5-11)
Coxsackie (1-13, 1-15)
Taconic Hills (0-14, 1-15)

Maple Hill's magic number: 3
Victories over Chatham and Greenville would put the Wildcats in position to clinch the title on Tuesday the 10th in Catskill, assuming Ichabod Crane defeats Catskill and Coxsackie this week.
The Wildcats won Patroon Conference titles in 1988, 1995, 1998 and 2004.

Heatly (9-2, 11-4)
Germantown (9-3, 12-4)
Loudonville Christian (8-3, 9-6)
Berlin (7-3, 7-7)
Waterford (7-4, 8-7)
New Lebanon (5-7, 5-9)
Hawthorne Valley (3-9, 3-9)
Doane Stuart (2-9, 3-10)
Berkshire (0-10, 0-12)

Heatly's magic number: 5
The Hornets made life a lot easier for themselves with a big victory over Heatly on Saturday afternoon, but the league title is far from clinched.
Perhaps the biggest game left on the schedule is Tuesday's game at Berlin and the Mountaineers feature the dangerous Chris Zema.

Girls basketball

Big 10

Schenectady (AA, 11) (8-1, 15-2)
B. Maginn (6-3, 8-6)
Albany (6-3, 9-7)
Catholic Central (5-4, 9-6)
Amsterdam (4-3, 7-7)
Troy (1-8, 6-11)
B. Gibbons (0-8, 1-14)

Schenectady's magic number: 2
The Lady Patriots can clinch the conference title with a victory over Amsterdam on Tuesday and a Bishop Maginn loss at Bishop Gibbons. In the very likely case that Maginn beats Gibbons, if Schenectady beats Albany next Tuesday or Amsterdam beats Maginn, the title belongs to Schenectady.
The interesting question for the Lady Patriots is how they will fare against the Suburban Council teams in the Section II Class AA tournament - as Niskayuna handed Schenectady its first defeat in December.

Suburban Council

North Division

Shen (AA, 18) (10-2, 12-4)
Niskayuna (7-4, 10-5)
Saratoga Springs (5-6, 7-8)
Shaker (5-7, 6-10)
Ballston Spa (2-9, 4-11)
Burnt Hills (0-11, 1-14)
South Division
Mohonasen (A, 12) (9-2, 13-2)
Averill Park (A, 14) (9-3, 13-3)
Bethlehem (8-4, 10-6)
Colonie (5-6, 7-8)
Columbia (5-7, 7-9)
Guilderland (4-8, 8-8)

Shenendehowa's magic number: 3
Mohonasen's magic number: 5
The Lady Plainsmen are well on their way to a North Division title and their defense-first approach certainly has them as favorites to appear in the Section II Class AA final yet again.
The South Division, on the other hand, is still wide open. Mohonasen, Averill Park and Bethlehem all have an equal shot to claim the title but Mohonasen has been the hottest team of late. Averill Park has games remaining against both teams, while Mohonasen and Bethlehem have already completed the season series, a split.

Colonial Council
Holy Names (A, 4) (13-0, 15-0)
Lansingburgh (11-3, 11-5)
Voorheesville (C, 20) (11-3, 12-4)
Watervliet (9-5, 11-5)
Cohoes (7-7, 8-8)
Cobleskill (5-9, 7-9)
Mechanicville (4-9, 6-9)
Albany Acad. for Girls (3-10, 4-12)
Ravena (3-10, 3-12)
Schalmont (2-12, 3-13)

Holy Names' magic number: 3
Holy Names could potentially wrap up the title with victories over Albany Academy for Girls and Cohoes this week and losses by both Lansingburgh and Voorheesville.
The battle for second, however, is heating up as the Lady Knights from Lansingburgh have won seven consecutive games since early in January.

Wasaren League
Hoosic Valley (C, 6) (9-1, 15-1)
Stillwater (C, 10) (9-1, 12-3)
Schuylerville (6-4, 9-7)
Tamarac (6-4, 9-6)
Greenwich (5-5, 11-5)
Cambridge (2-8, 6-10)
Hoosick Falls (2-8, 4-10)
Granville (1-9, 6-10)

Hoosic Valley/Stillwater magic number: 4
This race will become much clearer at the conclusion of Tuesday's battle between Hoosic Valley and Stillwater - with the winner's magic number dropping to two.
The Indians were concered about Stillwater's gym after defeating Greenwich on Friday night because they know how the cramped conditions in Stillwater can affect how the team plays the game. Although the Indians won the first meeting in Schaghticoke convincingly, Stillwater will have a distinct homecourt advantage on Tuesday.

Patroon Conference
Maple Hill (C, 3) (12-0, 15-1)
Catskill (10-2, 12-4)
Greenville (9-3, 11-4)
Rensselaer (6-5, 9-6)
Hudson (4-5, 6-6)
Coxsackie (4-8, 7-8)
Taconic Hills (4-8, 5-9)
Cairo- Durham (3-10, 5-12)
Chatham (0-11, 0-14)

Maple Hill's magic number: 3
Victories over Greenville and Chatham and a Catskill loss on either of those days would lock up the Patroon Conference title for the Wildcats. Should Maple Hill and Catskill both win out this week, next Wednesday's Catskill-Maple Hill game in Schodack will have playoff-like implications.
Maple Hill won Patroon Conference titles in 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2008. The Maple Hill boys and girls basketball teams won dual Patroon Conference titles in 1998.

Germantown (D, 2) (13-0, 17-0)
Berlin (11-0, 12-1)
Emma Willard (7-2, 7-4)
Waterford (7-6, 7-9)
Heatly (6-6, 7-9)
New Lebanon (4-7, 6-10)
Loudonville Christian (1-9, 2-12)
Doane Stuart (2-10, 2-10)
Hawthorne Valley (0-11, 0-11)

Germantown's magic number: 4
The Clippers hold an extra victory but Berlin remained right behind Germantown with a victory over Heatly on Monday night.
The teams will play twice in the coming weeks, with Berlin heading to Germantown on Mon. Feb. 9 and the Clippers hiking to Berlin on Fri. Feb 13.
Right now it's wide open and the pair of games next week will decide which team walks away with the CHVL title.

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