Thursday, February 26, 2015

A tale of two schools

Sectional play began in high school basketball on Tuesday night in upstate NY. In Class AA, there were two games of particular, peculiar interest that illustrate the pros and cons of how NY's Section II determines who is eligible for sectional play.

Once upon a time, Albany High and Bishop Maginn were two elite teams in boys' hoops. Like their brethren in the defunct Big 10, they were left to put together an independent schedule this season, and, the results were, well, not great. In fact, the women's teams at both schools probably could've beaten them in co-ed scrimmages. Between them, Albany & Bishop Maginn's boys teams won 4, maybe 5 games the entire season.

On Tuesday, Maginn, having been thrashed by nearly 50 points by Troy High a week earlier, didn't appear to put up much of a struggle with Guilderland, losing 84-40. The Griffins had won just 2 games, and there are rumors regarding the future of the school, due to a decline in enrollment. From what I understand, rising tuition costs at Bishop Maginn, in contrast to charter schools such as Green Tech or Albany Leadership, might be convincing parents to send their children to the latter schools. Maginn has been in operation for over 30-35 years, and the Catholic Diocese may be looking at closing the school.

In sharp contrast to Maginn's misfortunes on the court, Albany put up a valiant effort in their first round game vs. Bethlehem, a team they're likely to see next year in the Suburban Council, depending on the schedule. The Eagles won by only 5, which, given the Falcons' record, gives Albany at least a moral victory. Albany, as previously documented, is one of four schools (Troy, CBA, & Schenectady are the others) headed to the Suburban in the fall, so they'll get a steady diet of Bethlehem, Shaker, & Guilderland, among others. The Suburban Council is considered one of the toughest leagues in Section II, now swelling to 16 teams (2 8-team divisions).

So what is Bishop Maginn's future? For now, uncertain. With the drop in enrollment, I doubt that they would retain their status in Class AA, and would instead drop down to no lower than B. I'm told they have less than 200 students enrolled there now, but what if it gets worse?

I don't think we want to know.

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