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Phil Blackwell

Stories by Phil

C-NS softball outshines Liverpool again

Scott hurts Warriors with home run, five RBIs

For more than three decades, Kerry Bennett had the best possible view as he built a softball dynasty at Cicero-North Syracuse that piled up Section III and state championships. But when the Northstars met main rival Liverpool Monday afternoon at the Gillette Road complex, Bennett, the subject of a controversial dismissal from his job in August of 2012, was on the opposing side, assisting Warriors coach Nick Spataro.

Liverpool baseball roars to three straight wins

Better weather leads to Warriors' hot start

Determined to climb back to the top of the Section III Class AA ranks, the Liverpool baseball team found immediate success once games finally got underway.

C-NS baseball falls to Oswego, Syracuse East

Northstars take pair of one-run defeats after 3-0 start

With a big early-season showdown against defending state Class AA champion Baldwinsville looming on Tuesday, the Cicero-North Syracuse baseball team dealt with a pair of one-run defeats, which slowed things up after a 3-0 start.

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C-NS, Liverpool softball string together wins

Warriors start 3-0; Northstars prevail at Binghamton tourney

The Cicero-North Syracuse softball team could not quickly put its 2-1 defeat to Baldwinsville on April 3 behind them due to the bad weather that kept them off the field for nearly a week.

C-NS boys lax takes first loss to Corcoran

Northstars rebound to top Oswego; Liverpool still winless

A 4-0 start that included high-quality wins over Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool may have lured the Cicero-North Syracuse boys lacrosse team into thinking that it was firmly established among the top Section III Class A sides.

Liverpool, C-NS split track showdowns

Boys Warriors win big; girls Northstars prevail, too

Normally, the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse track and field teams would wait until later in the spring before having their big showdowns. But in 2014, traditions got cast aside, and the Northstars and Warriors found themselves opening their respective seasons in each other’s company, and both sides would take away something.

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Stewart, UConn complete perfect run to national title

Huskies have won back-to-back crowns with C-NS standout

So far, the dreams and hopes that Cicero-North Syracuse's Breanna Stewart carried with her to the University of Connecticut have all worked out - to perfection. Stewart's sophomore season ended just like her freshman season did, as the Huskies won yet another NCAA women's basketball championship Tuesday night by handling Notre Dame 79-58 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

C-NS girls lacrosse handles B'ville, 13-6

Ryan dominates first half; teammates take over later

Tiffany Ryan got the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team moving toward a bit of redemption against the Baldwinsville side that kept them from the Section III Class A title a season ago. Just as importantly, the rest of the Northstars jumped in to help out and by doing so, it defeated the Bees 13-6 Tuesday night at Onondaga Community College's Murphy Field.

C-NS girls lacrosse roars to 2-0 start

Liverpool gets first win over Oswego, falls to B'ville

Even with all that it accomplished a season ago – especially ending West Genesee’s six-year Section III Class A championship reign – the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team did not get the ending it wanted.

C-NS grad Mattice wins NCAA Division II basketball title

Bentley (Mass.) completes perfect season with national championship

Much of the attention among former Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball standouts has gone to Breanna Stewart as she tries to lead Connecticut to back-to-back NCAA Division I titles, along with an undefeated season. But there’s another former Northstar who has just put a national championship – done with a team that went undefeated - on her career ledger.

C-NS boys lacrosse rolls to 2-0 start

Northstars consistent in romps over Binghamton, U-E

Starting on Tuesday night, when Fayetteville-Manlius pays a visit to Bragman Stadium, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys lacrosse team will get a good idea of where it stands.

C-NS announces spring sports schedule

Northstars defend state softball title, host state track meet in June

Cicero-North Syracuse will see its softball team defend its state Class AA championship and, at the end of the spring season, host the state track and field championships on June 6 and 7, just before a new turf and track are installed at the Bragman Stadium complex. Here is the 2014 spring sports varsity schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Liverpool announces spring sports schedule

Boys lacrosse Warriors open April 1 at West Genesee

Liverpool High School’s 2014 spring sports schedule, with all dates and times subject to change.

Why I still do this

State finals remind writer of joys inherent in covering sports

So you want to know - after all these years spent jotting illegible things down in notebooks, doing hundreds of interviews, writing thousands of stories, covering untold numbers of contests both mundane and meaningful, and then hammering it out in front of an inanimate computer screen, why keep doing it?

A committee’s thankless task

Group that decides NCAA Tournament field deserves some love, right?

This Sunday night, just after 6 p.m., anyone who cares about college basketball will see the only bracket that matters. Ron Wellman, athletic director at Wake Forest, and the rest of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee will unveil the 68 teams for our annual Dance – who they are, where they are going, when they’ll be playing.

Indoor track athletes finish well at state meet

Liverpool, C-NS each notch top-five efforts at Cornell

Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse sent a large contingent of top athletes to last Saturday’s state championship meet at Cornell University’s Barton Hall, and emerged from the meet with plenty of top-10 finishes, including one second-place effort.

C-NS’s Barber wrestles at state championships

Northstars junior goes 1-2 at 106 pounds in first appearance

Cicero-North Syracuse wrestler Joe Barber would represent Section III in a tough Division I 106-pound bracket during last weekend’s state championship meet at Albany’s Times Union Center, ending up with a 1-2 record.

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Northstars fall in AA boys sectional thriller

Utica Proctor rallies late, edges C-NS 83-79

No one would end up losing Saturday night's wild, thrilling Section III Class AA boys basketball championship game at the Carrier Dome. One team would just have more points at the end. Cicero-North Syracuse badly wanted to be that team, but a key departure at an ill-timed moment turned things in Utica Proctor's favor, and the Raiders rallied to beat the Northstars 83-79 to earn the sectional title.

C-NS girls basketball wins sixth straight sectional title

Stifling defense helps Northstars turn back West Genny

Big names or small, veterans or younger players, the one constant throughout the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team's long reign as Section III Class AA champions has been an ability, when necessary, to forget everything else and just shut an opponent down.

C-NS boys upend top seed F-M in Class AA semis

Williams, Evans lead Northstars past Hornets, 69-63

Connor Evans and Ronnie Williams may not have started with the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team, but the fact that they are there now is a big reason why the Northstars are making its way to the Carrier Dome to play for the Section III Class AA championship.

Liverpool, C-NS pick up wins at state qualifier

Lawes, Okinpelu, Christensen, Buck all prevail for Warriors

All kinds of athletes from Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse took starring roles during Wednesday night’s Section III state qualifier at SRC Arena. And with a string of victories, the Warriors and Northstars assured that both would have heavy representation this Saturday for the New York State Public High School Association championship meet at Cornell University’s Barton Hall.

C-NS basketball sides reach AA semis

Girls handle F-M; boys fight past West Genesee

In their own unique ways, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls and boys basketball teams will both head to Onondaga Community College Saturday with clear goals in mind when they enter the Section III Class AA semifinals.

Barber emerges as sectional wrestling champion

Liverpool second, C-NS fourth in team standings behind B'ville

Despite not earning any individual titles, the Liverpool wrestling team still rose to a second-place finish in Saturday’s Section III Division I championships at SRC Arena. Cicero-North Syracuse also had a strong meet, claiming fourth place behind Baldwinsville, Liverpool and Fulton, but had the area’s lone champion – Joe Barber, who prevailed at 106 pounds.

Swimming Warriors roll to Class A sectional title

Clarke sets state standard in 100 breaststroke

While the Liverpool boys swim team was quite satisfied with earning the Section III Class A championship Saturday at West Genesee High School, it has so much more in mind. From Garrett Clarke to Nick Burdo to diver Dan Roche and a pair of terrific relay teams, the Warriors are dead-set on earning medals when the state meet takes place Feb. 28-March 1 at Webster Aquatic Center, near Rochester.

Liverpool boys hoops surges to playoff win

Warriors stop Oswego, earn shot at top seed F-M

Right at the moment when it mattered most, the Liverpool boys basketball team found the form that made them so feared early this season. As a result, the no. 9 seed Warriors eliminated no. 8 seed Oswego, 61-48, in Friday night's opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs and earned a shot at top seed Fayetteville-Manlius in Tuesday night's quarterfinal round.

C-NS girls second at indoor track league meet

Fanizzi sweep of long jump, triple jump leads Northstars

For the most part, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls indoor track and field team lagged behind rival Liverpool whenever the two met up during the winter. However, in Thursday night’s CNY Counties League National division championships at SRC Arena, the Northstars made its way to second place, with 110 points, as the Warriors finished third with 75 points, each of them trailing Fayetteville-Manlius, who won again with 150 points.

Hockey Warriors’ season ends in playoff defeat

IHC, with Trudeau hat trick, stops Liverpool 4-2

Having accomplished so much in this turnaround 2013-14 season, the Liverpool ice hockey team wanted, more than anything, to keep the story going beyond the opening round of the Section III Division I playoffs.

Liverpool boys indoor track claims league title

Lawes, Christensen, Vanmarter help Warriors edge F-M

Though the Liverpool boys indoor track and field team was unable to unseat Fayetteville-Manlius for the Section III Class AA championship, it did earn league honors a week later.

C-NS girls hoops takes home loss to Nottingham

Bulldogs use inside power to stop Northstars 56-44

Half a decade has passed since the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team entered the Section III Class AA playoffs as anything other than an overwhelming favorite. Yet that is the Northstars' predicament as it pursues a sixth straight sectional title, directly resulting from Tuesday night's 56-44 defeat to Nottingham in Tuesday night's regular-season finale.

C-NS wrestlers second, Liverpool third at AA meet

Baldwnisville denies Northstars sectional title by one point

When they went to last Saturday’s Section III Class AA championship meet at Baldwinsville, the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse wrestling teams had various motivations.

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Girls hoops Warriors clinch winning record

Liverpool stops Central Square, goes to sectionals 10-8

Playing three times in the last week of the regular season, the Liverpool girls basketball team claimed one victory – but it was enough to assure a winning record for 2013-14. That win came last Friday night, when the Warriors defeated Central Square 47-29 in a game that was important for both sides.

Liverpool, C-NS hockey take losses

Warriors to face Watertown IHC in sectional tournament

Regardless of what takes place in the Section III Division I playoffs, the Liverpool ice hockey team has taken giant steps toward joining the elite. Still, the Warriors’ regular-season finale, against Mohawk Valley last Friday night, provided a bit of a wake-up call as it took a 5-2 defeat to the Raiders to end up at 12-7-1 going into the sectional tournament.

C-NS boys impressive in win over Henninger

Evans leads mid-game getaway, earns 27 points

In a matter of days, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team went from a low point of its season to a high one. Held in check during a 64-46 defeat to West Genesee last Tuesday night, the Northstars came back home Friday and hit all the shots that it missed in Camillus, leading to an impressive 68-53 victory over defending Section III Class AA champion Henninger.

Lawes wins three events at sectional AA meet

Liverpool boys finish second to F-M; Akinpelu gets pair of girls wins

While the Liverpool boys indoor track and field team could not quite catch Fayetteville-Manlius and earn the Section III Class AA championship, Ryheim Lawes did establish himself as the top individual performer of the event.

Liverpool swimmers beat short-handed CBA/J-D

Burdo breaks pool record in 200 freestyle

All season long, as they piled up victories and they dominated their respective leagues, the Liverpool and CBA/Jamesville-DeWitt boys swim teams looked forward to their season-ending head-to-head showdown to see which side could prove superior.

Girls Northstars claim showdown with West Genny

Fast start, stifling defense key 52-39 win over Northstars

This was the time that many thought the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team would get caught, as West Genesee brought its 13-1 record into town Tuesday night's CNY Counties League National division first-place showdown and a belief that, at last, it was ready to take down the reigning champions.

Liverpool indoor track wins at Last Chance Qualifier

Lawes prevails in 55-meter dash, long jump for Warriors

Before the February post-season gauntlet, the Liverpool boys indoor track and field team had one more chance to add to its win total - and did so. Ryheim Lawes' first-place finishes in the 55-meter dash and long jump helped the Warriors hold off Fayetteville-Manlius and prevail in Wednesday night's Last Chance Qualifier at SRC Arena.

Best against best

Broncos' offense, Seahawks' D makes for compelling Super Bowl

To save you a whole lot of time between now and Sunday night’s football game in New Jersey with a Roman numeral title that decides the championship of the National Football League, here is the lazy, tired narrative that will get repeated millions of times before they kick it off.

C-NS wrestlers nearly upend Fulton at Dual Meet

Liverpool also falls in opening round to South Jefferson

Neither the Cicero-North Syracuse nor Liverpool wrestling teams could make it out of the first round of Saturday’s Section III Dual Meet – but they both left quite an impression.

Boys hoops Northstars stop Corcoran, Oswego

Hot shooting rescues C-NS in tough home win over Bucs

While not at the top of the list of Section III Class AA title contenders due to early-season defeats to Henninger and Fayetteville-Manlius, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys basketball team is right behind them, poised to go even higher should events warrant.

C-NS girls hoops roars to pair of wins

Northstars rely on defense to handle Corcoran, Oswego

Back from yet another defeat in an out-of-town tournament against yet another foe it doesn’t have to worry about come post-season time, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team still finds itself unbeaten against Section III opponents.

Liverpool second to F-M at Kirschenheiter meet

Akinpelu sweeps girls sprints; Buck wins boys mile

Throughout the winter, the Liverpool boys indoor track and field team had picked up a string of victories against CNY Indoor Track Association opponents. But that changed in Tuesday night’s Fred Kirsschenheiter Memorial Invitational, where the Warriors, without sprint star Ryheim Lawes, finished second to Fayetteville-Manlius.

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Horton leads hockey Warriors past B'ville

Liverpool stops Bees for first time in eight years

In the midst of a late-sesaon surge that put them into the state Division I rankings, the Liverpool ice hockey also got a long-awaited win over its neighbors. The Warriors met Baldwinsville Tuesday night at the Greater B'ville Ice Arena facility the two programs share, and with Dalton Horton coming up big, especially in the third period, the Warriors skated past the Bees 3-1.

Home considerations

Even if Dome is maintained, new arena would help Syracuse

More than 30,000 packed the Carrier Dome on Jan. 11 as SU’s undefeated men’s basketball juggernaut dismantled North Carolina. Way more, perhaps up to 35,000, will be on hand next Saturday night for the arrival of Duke, even if they’re not as imposing as Blue Devil teams from seasons past.

Wrestling Warriors beat B’ville, seize league lead

Liverpool prevails at Bees' own dual meet

Not too long ago, the notion of the Liverpool wrestling team even getting on close terms with Baldwinsville, much less beating them, was a fanciful notion. But it’s no longer a fantasy. Instead, it’s a glorious reality that the Warriors created for itself by rallying from behind and stunning the Bees 34-31 Saturday to move into first place in the CNY Counties League.

C-NS wrestlers stopped by B'ville again

Northstars earn 4-1 mark at Hannibal Duals

A tiny margin – half a point, to be exact – ended up separating the Cicero-North Syracuse wrestling team from first-place honors at the Jan. 11 Cazenovia Invitational. And it was Baldwinsville that finished just ahead of the Northstars – the same B’ville team that C-NS faced again four nights later at the Baker High School gym, though it didn’t prove as close this time around as the Bees prevailed by a score of 46-30.

Liverpool boys swimmers handle B’ville, F-M

Warriors improve to 6-0; C-NS falls to West Genny

Churning toward an undefeated regular season, the Liverpool boys swim team isn’t letting anything get in the way – especially possible fatigue. Though the Warriors, when facing Baldwinsville last Wednesday night, were in the midst of a stretch of four meets in 10 days, it didn’t matter one bit as it breezed past the Bees 98-78.

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C-NS boys get even, beats Liverpool in OT

Evans scores 22 after missing first meeting with Warriors

When the Liverpool boys basketball team pulled away from Cicero-North Syracuse and won their first head-to-head encounter earlier this season, someone was missing. And that someone – specifically, Connor Evans – had a lot to do with the Northstars getting even with the rival Warriors Tuesday night during a tense 65-62 overtime victory.

Liverpool boys wins Bob Grieve Invitational

Lawes sweeps 55, 300-meter sprint races

Even the fact that it was competing for the second time in four days could not slow the Liverpool boys indoor track and field team down. The Warriors won four events, two of them by sprint star Ryheim Lawes, and roared to the top spot in Tuesday night's Bob Grieve Memorial Invitational at SRC Arena.

C-NS wrestlers knock off Central Square

Northstars a close second to B'ville at Cazenovia meet

Given newfound momentum by its win over rival Liverpool in the Akley Memorial Duals at Oswego on Jan. 4, the Cicero-North Syracuse wrestling team didn’t waste it. The Northstars made the short trip to Central Square last Wednesday night, and by winning six of the first eight matches, it built an insurmountable lead and went on to defeat the Red Hawks 42-30.

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