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Capsule look at Boys Basketball Tourney

James Johnson
staff writer

(February 12, 2005) Here's a look at each class:

Class AAA

Top seed: East High. Defending champion: Rush-Henrietta.

Contenders: East, No. 2 Fairport, No. 3 Rush-Henrietta.

Outlook: East and Rush-Henrietta are the clear favorites, but Fairport has pulled upsets before.

The Red Raiders, who have 6-8 junior Cory Magee as a shot blocker, thrive on defense.

There is more quickness among Fairport's guards than in recent years, but the Red Raiders failed to shut down Rush-Henrietta during two regular-season meetings.

Class AA

Top seed: Webster Thomas.

Defending champion: Greece Arcadia.

Contenders: Thomas, No. 2 Greece Athena, No. 3 Wilson.

Outlook: This has the potential to be the most competitive large-school tournament. Thomas is on a 10-game win streak, and has one of the area's best get-it-done players, in 5-11 junior guard Josh Zenkel (21.1 ppg.). Wilson is tested, coming from the City-Catholic League.

Who do Athena's opponents concentrate on defensively? Five players have led the Trojans in scoring during their last five games, including 6-4 senior Nick Mueller (14.7 ppg.).

Class A

Top seed: Geneva. Defending champion: Newark.

Contenders: Geneva, No. 2 Batavia, No. 3 Newark.

Outlook: The Geneva Panthers, with eight players from last season's team, are hungry to win after losing in the 2004 final. The Batavia Blue Devils know that type of pain with two final appearances and a semifinal berth the last three seasons.

They try again with arguably the tournament's top player, 6-3 senior guard Mike Chmielowiec. A Batavia-Geneva final would be a matchup of similar up-tempo styles.

Don't be surprised to see No. 5 Marshall make a deep run, if the Jurists string good efforts together.

Class B

Top seed: Palmyra-Macedon.

Defending champion: Bishop Kearney.

Contenders: Palmyra-Macedon, No. 2 Hornell, No. 3 Wellsville and No. 4 Penn Yan.

Outlook: Kearney has been the dominant team in this classification for a decade, but the tournament seems to be more competitive this time around.

Palmyra-Macedon has one of Section V's top scorers, 6-foot junior guard Anthony Hall (24.0 ppg.). The Red Raiders received a boost from the recent return of 6-8 sophomore center Chris Milke.

Hornell was eliminated in the second round last season. These Red Raiders hope to go a little farther with 6-1 senior Nate Smith and 6-6 junior forward Scott Young.

Wellsville, a finalist last season, makes another run with 6-5 senior Jason Szabo inside and good perimeter shooters.

Class CCC

Top seed: Sodus. Defending champion: Avon.

Contenders: Sodus, No. 2 Byron-Bergen, No. 3 Avon, No. 4 LeRoy.

Outlook: Sodus, the new king of the Wayne County League, is the clear favorite. The unbeaten Spartans can play an up-tempo style or turn to 6-6 junior center/forward Greg Logins in a half-court game. Robert McDowell, a league All-Star at guard, plays a big role in helping the team go.

Don't discount the champions from Avon. The Braves get steady play from 6-1 forward Steve Coleman and guard Joey Sattora, both seniors.

Class CC

Top seed: Campbell-Savona.

Defending champion: Campbell-Savona.

Contenders: Campbell-Savona, No. 2 East Rochester, No. 3 Perry.

Outlook: Now that Campbell-Savona won its first sectional championship, the Panthers have come right back looking for the school's second title. Bruce Mourhess, a 5-11 senior swingman and a holdover from last season, was named to the 2004 all-tournament team.

East Rochester is enjoying its best season in five years as a member of the Wayne County League. The Bombers' losses both came against unbeaten Sodus. Perry aims for its fifth title in eight seasons.

Class C

Top seed: Red Jacket. Defending champion: Harley-Allendale-Columbia.

Contenders: Red Jacket, No. 2 Lyndonville, No. 3 Bloomfield, No. 4 Clyde-Savannah.

Outlook: Red Jacket is red hot. The Indians own a 14-game win streak, in large part because their entire starting lineup came back this season, including Andy and Rob Platt. The 6-4 twins have spent parts of four seasons at the varsity level.

Watch out if Bloomfield's John Eshleman, a 6-4 senior forward, or Clyde-Savannah guard Clarence Jackson get a hot hand. Both can score points in bunches, but ultimately will need help from teammates for their teams to advance.

Class DD

Top seed: Elba.

Defending champion: Genesee Valley.

Contenders: Elba and No. 2 Genesee Valley.

Outlook: What does Genesee Valley have in common with the NFL's New England Patriots? Both are building dynasties. The Jaguars are three-time defending champions and won this title four of the last five years. The Elba Lancers, who have won 10 of their last 11 games, seek their first championship in 32 years.

"The community senses that we have a chance to do something special," Elba coach Joe Zambito said. "Genesee Valley has been awesome for years. We play a similar style."

Elba starters Ryan Byrnes (17 ppg.), Lucas Torrey, Kyle Klineline, Ciaci Zambito and rugged rebounder Tim Maid have led the team in scoring during at least two games this season.

Class D

Top seed: Whitesville.

Defending champion: Whitesville.

Contenders: Whitesville, No. 2 Prattsburgh.

Outlook: Good luck knocking off the Blue Jays, who were state finalists last season. Point guard Lance Brubaker (14 ppg.) and Zach Coleman (17.5 ppg., 11.5 rpg.), also a standout soccer goalie and baseball pitcher, are a tough combination to match. Brubaker was on the 2004 all-tournament team.