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Local teams start season in new Northern Basketball League

Westport's Sarah Looby drives to the basket against Moriah's Caitlin Pelkey and Lauren Cross earlier this season. Westport and Moriah now face off as Division II foes in the new Northern Basketball League.

Westport's Sarah Looby drives to the basket against Moriah's Caitlin Pelkey and Lauren Cross earlier this season. Westport and Moriah now face off as Division II foes in the new Northern Basketball League. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Something looked different when players and parents received their 2013-14 basketball schedules.

As was the case with soccer in Section VII, the Mountain and Valley and Champlain Valley Athletic conferences have gone away in basketball, being replaced with the Northern Basketball League.

The league has been separated into three divisions, mixing teams from Class A, B, C and D based partially on geography and competitive balance.

Division I of the NBL includes Class A Peru, Class B schools Northeastern Clinton, Beekmantown, Plattsburgh High, Saranac, Saranac Lake and AuSable Valley along with Class C’s Northern Adirondack.

The remainder of the Class C schools - Seton Catholic, Lake Placid, Moriah and Ticonderoga - will play in Division II, joined by MVAC staples Chazy, Willsboro, Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport.

Division III will include the southern Class D schools: Crown Point, Keene, Schroon Lake, Minerva/Newcomb, Indian Lake/Long Lake, Wells and Johnsburg.

Teams will still break up into their respective classes for the Section VII playoffs to earn a berth into the state tournament.

A post-season change comes with the senior games, where the MVAC All-Senior game and CVAC Exceptional Senior Game will be replaced with a NBL senior game. Each team will be given one automatic player on the senior teams, while the remainder of the rosters (40 players total for boys and 40 for girls) will be voted on by the coaches. The seniors will then be broken up into four teams of 10 to play in senior games at AuSable Valley Middle/High School at the end of the season.

Rules have also been changed for modified teams that played in the MVAC. Formerly, modified teams were only allowed to play half-court, man-to-man defense for the majority of the game, being allowed to press in the final two minutes of the game. Under new league rules, modified teams will be able to press and play zone defense for all 28 minutes of the game starting Jan. 1, allowing time for MVAC coaches to teach their players zone and press defense and offense.

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