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PHCS to seek boys basketball merger with CPCS

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PARISHVILLE - Last month the board of education rejected a basketball merger with Colton-Pierrepont Central School that would have seen girls from Parishville-Hopkinton playing for Colton-Pierrepont and boys from Colton-Pierrepont playing for Parishville-Hopkinton.

This month, however, following a presentation by high school Principal and Athletic Director Robert Stewart, the board decided to see if Colton-Pierrepont was still interested in a boy’s only merger.

While the original agreement would of had boys from Colton-Pierrepont playing for Parishville-Hopkinton, this time around, Mr. Stewart said, it would be them asking Colton-Pierrepont for a merger, meaning their boys would be playing for Colton-Pierrepont.

“In this case it would be us asking them for a merger,” he said, adding he’s only seeking a merger on the varsity and junior varsity levels.

“I think having 14 students for a single seventh and eighth-grade team would give us a good base and a chance to build our program again for the future,” he said, adding he’s hoping that Parishville-Hopkinton can one day again field its own team.

In order to have the merger approved in time for this year’s upcoming season, Mr. Stewart said both schools would have to approve it and have it presented to Section 10’s athletic directors prior to their Nov. 8 meeting.

“A merger has to be approved before the season begins,” he said.

After speaking with potential players and telling them “don’t sign up unless you’re committed to play,” Mr. Stewart said he ended up with one senior, three juniors and four sophomores. Without a merger those eight students would form a varsity team with two freshmen, nine eighth-graders and five seventh-graders making up a junior high team.

“With eight students you could probably have a team, but it would not be a competitive team,” he said. “Without a lot of players it’s tough to maintain rules and maintain competitiveness. If you lose anyone for any reason that would put the entire team in jeopardy.”

It’s that lack of competitiveness that worries board member Robert White.

“Am I looking for 13-1, no, I’m looking for 7-7,” he said. “In town leagues, I’ve seen teams where they all quit after losing four games.”

The potential of that led Mr. White, who was not present at last month’s meeting, to support the merger.

“I just want them to have a place to play. I don’t care where,” he said.

According to Mr. Stewart, a former basketball coach at Norwood-Norfolk, the merger would give the combined team a varsity squad of nine to 10 players and a junior varsity team with 15 players.

As he was speaking to the board Monday night though, Mr. Stewart noted he hadn’t yet spoke with Colton-Pierrepont Athletic Director James Nee, but he was confident Mr. Nee would be supportive of the move.

“In the past James has always been very open to doing a combined team,” he said.

“As a board what do we want to do?” asked Vice President Tim Zellweger. “I have spoken with some of the mothers and they were disappointed when the merger did not go through.”

While no formal action on the move was taken, Mr. Stewart was given permission to approach Colton-Pierrepont about the merger. Should Colton-Pierrepont be willing to accept Parishville-Hopkinton’s athletes, the board would likely vote on the agreement at next month’s meeting.

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