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01/29/06

Image Capital Shootout attracts top-notch hoopsters

(January 29, 2006) It's just about a given that the greater Rochester area will never become another New York City, when it comes to high school basketball talent pools.

Still, this area and other parts of upstate New York are home to some of the state's top teams.

Fairport, East High and Palmyra-Macedon get another chance to show they deserve their positions in the state rankings today.

All three top-15 teams will play in McQuaid's Image Capital Shootout, a high school boys basketball showcase that includes five games at Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial.

Palmyra-Macedon (12-2), the reigning Class B public school state champion, owns the highest ranking among Section V teams.

The Red Raiders are two slots behind No. 1 Lackawanna (12-0), which they tip off against at noon. This is the third meeting between Lackawanna and Palmyra-Macedon in less than a year.

Their state tournament quarterfinal matchup last season at the War Memorial was no contest. Palmyra-Macedon romped to a 61-34 win, despite foul trouble for All-Greater Rochester guard Anthony Hall. While the Red Raiders returned this season with largely the same lineup, the Steelers had a new look and edged Palmyra-Macedon, 66-63, Dec. 30 at Lackawanna.

LeSean Braxton, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior, scored 17 points to lead Lackawanna.

The Red Raiders count not only on the hot hand of Hall, but also 6-foot-8 junior Chris Milke. Milke has had statistical double-doubles in four of the team's last five games. Friday against Midlakes he scored 14 points with 15 rebounds and 10 blocks in a 48-35 victory, while Hall, who's averaging 25 points a game, was held to eight.

Fairport (11-1) needs a win over McQuaid (6-7) at 4 p.m. to keep its No. 5 state ranking among Class AA teams.

While the Red Raiders maintain their commitment to defense, they still have three players who score in double figures: point guard Cory McAdam (15.8 points per game), 6-8 senior Cory Magee (15.7) and Kelly Condello (10.0).

East's matchup is at 2 p.m. against unbeaten Jamestown (13-0), state-ranked 13th in Class AA, three spots ahead of the Orientals (12-3).

Senior guard Keion Mitchem, who has scored 40 or more points twice this season, is East's leading scorer at 25 points a game. The Orientals are an even stronger team if 6-9 junior Jazzmin Hoffman or 6-8 senior Chad Bell are playing well and stay away from foul trouble.

Jamestown's scoring is a bit more spread out, as it's a team that thrives on chemistry. Four of its five starters score 10 or more points a game, including 6-foot senior Francisco Lantigua (15.8 ppg/8.5 rpg). Mike Maisto (14.5 ppg/6.5 rpg), a 6-4 senior, is the team's tallest starter.

Finney (14-1), which has scored 100 points twice this season, is off to its best start. The Falcons would be a No. 1 seed if Section V's Class DD Tournament began today and can earn more points with a win over Class B Greece Oydssey (4-7). Senior guard Andy Marchand is Finney's leading scorer.

The Shootout's final matchup is between Class AA state champion Niagara Falls (11-2), state-ranked eighth, and Syracuse Henninger (11-4), with 6-foot-11 sophomore center Ben Cronin.

Syracuse University basketball fans can get a look at Niagara Falls junior guard Johnny Flynn, who has given a verbal commitment to play for the Orange.

JAMESJ@DemocratandChronicle.com



source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060129/SPORTS08/601290338/1007/SPORTS