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Published: March 07, 2006 10:55 pm

Who's next?

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

The Niagara Falls Wolverines will have a front row seat at 8:45 p.m. tonight at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester when the Fairport Red Raiders meet the Greece Athena Trojans in the Section V Class AAA-AA crossover game.

After a pair of hard practices, Niagara Falls coach Dan Bazzani decided to give his team the day off and bring them along to scout out its potential opponents for the New York State Far West Regional Championship at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Buffalo State College.

Wednesday’s matchup features two very interesting teams.

Fairport Red Raiders (Class AAA)

Fairport (20-1) is a very balanced team with a multitude of solid players including sensational guard Corey McAdam and Canisius College-bound big man Corey Magee. McAdam scored 18 points and was named tournament MVP in the Red Raiders 52-50 win over rival Rush-Henrietta in the Class AAA final.

According to Jeff DiVeronica, a high school sports writer for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, McAdam is the team leader, while Magee is a dominant force inside.

“Fairport has two players. McAdam is really in control out there as a guard and Magee is 6-foot-7, which is a difficult matchup for any team,” he said.

Fairport’s lineup also includes another big man in 6-foot-5 senior Kelly Condello. Rounding out the short rotation are role players Mark Bruce, Owen Reilly and Kyle Downey.

The Red Raiders, who’s only loss coincidentally came at the hands of Niagara Falls at the Cataract Classic in early December, have won 18 straight games including three over Rush-Henrietta as well as a 68-57 overtime win over the Trojans in the championship game of the Edison Tournament.

Following last Saturday’s victory, McAdam said that those wins have given Fairport the confidence necessary to get as far as it has.

“We have the confidence. It comes from hard work in practice and from playing good teams in the regular season,” he said.

Greece-Athena Trojans (Class AA)

The Trojans, better known for their team manager Jason McElwain — the 17-year old autistic senior that has caught the nation by storm with his 20-point performance in the Trojans regular season finale, have a pretty darn good basketball team as well.

Athena is led by it’s three-headed senior guard combination of Steve Kerr, Lavar Goff and Rickey Wallace. All three average in double-figures as the Trojans have a mentality to out-gun their opponents.

“They don’t have a lot of height, but those three guys are all good scorers,” DiVeronica said. “They just try to outscore their opponents.”

That lack of height could be a problem against Fairport, but that do have that great backcourt that includes a streaky shooter in Kerr, the brother of former Syracuse star John Wallace in Rickey and the dynamic Lavar Goff.

“We have great senior leadership in Levar Groff, Ricky Wallace and Steve Kerr — they’ve been outstanding all year,” Greece Athena coach Jim Johnson said following the Trojans 54-41 Class AA championship win over Irondequoit last Saturday.

Keys to the game

For Greece Athena to continue its improbable run, they will need to play to its best ability. With its lack of size, containing Magee will certainly be one of the primary concerns for the Trojans. Even if they sit back in a zone, they have to be alert of the Red Raiders shooters (McAdam, Downey). Offensively, Athena needs to find a way to get huge performances out of all three of its sensational senior guards.

DiVeronica says it’s simple for Fairport, play to your capability and you’ll get that rematch with the Wolverines.

“Fairport is going to win. They are the better team. They’re well-coached. They have that height and they just play so smart.”

- Who: Fairport (20-1) vs. Greece Athena (16-5)

- What: Section V Class AAA-AA crossover game

- When: 8:45 p.m. today

- Where: Blue Cross Arena (Rochester)

- On the line: A date with Niagara Falls in the New York State Far West Regional Championship on Saturday at Buffalo State College