Seven area teams are a semifinal win away from playing for a Section III boys basketball championship at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday and Sunday, March 5 and March 7.
It should come as no surprise that four of those seven – Class AA Thomas R. Proctor High School, Class A Notre Dame, Class C-2 West Canada Valley and Class D New York Mills – are led by four of the winningest coaches in Section III hoops history.
Proctor’s Norm Stamboly just recorded career win No. 300; Notre Dame’s Mike Durr has a 269-105 mark in his 16 seasons coaching his alma mater; Steve Porter has a 380-143 record at West Canada Valley; and Mike Adey – 435-155 in 29 seasons at New York Mills, New Hartford and Rome Catholic – ranks sixth on Section III boys basketball’s all-time wins list.
Their teams, as well as Holland Patent (B), Westmoreland (C-1) and Mohawk (C-2), remain in Section III title contention heading into this week’s class semifinals. The matchups are set in both the boys and girls basketball tournaments, but the neutral sites and times of those semifinal games – most will likely be played Thursday or Friday night – won’t be released by Section III committee members until later today.
At Proctor, Stamboly has his second-seeded boys team in the Class AA semifinals for the seventh consecutive year. The Raiders (16-3), who play a Henninger team they edged twice during the regular season, 63-58 and 70-67, extended their winning streak to six games with last Friday’s 65-53 quarterfinal win over Liverpool at the Michael J. Arcuri Athletic Complex.
It was a milestone victory for the 58-year-old Stamboly, now 300-119 in 20 seasons as a head coach. He has coached Proctor for the last 17 years, going 269-93 and winning back-to-back Section III titles in 2006 and 2007.
Stamboly’s Raiders were an independent team without a league until the 2005-06 sea
son, when they won the first of three straight league championships. In each of the last six years, they have either won the Class AA title or have been eliminated from the playoffs by the section champ.
Stamboly’s teams haven’t had a losing season since the 1996-97 Raiders went 10-11. And with superstars Josh Wright and Deandre Preaster leading the way, Proctor teams coached by Stamboly and assistant Mark F. Joseph have a remarkable 180-26 record over the last 10 seasons.
Stamboly, though, said winning his 300th last Friday really meant “nothing” to him, and after all of these years, Joseph is sure that he meant it.
“He has taken absolutely no credit for any of the 300 wins, and he has taken responsibility for every one of those 119 losses,” Joseph said. “That’s him. That’s Norm.”
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