MALONE — Mark McCormick's life seems to be tied up in the courts.When he isn't carrying out his duties as Franklin County Public Defender, McCormick more than likely can be found on a basketball court, where he is considered one of the top officials in New York State.The Chateaugay Central graduate recently was named Section X Boys' Basketball Official of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, Inc. The board is made up college and junior-college coaches as well as one boys and one girls coach from each of the 11 sections of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) as well as New York City public, private and parochial schools."The Basketball Coaches Association congratulates you, Mark, on the quality of work that you do and for your contribution to the game of basketball," Dave Archer, Executive Director of the Association, said.McCormick, 36, is the Section X President of the Girls' Basketball Board of Officials and Chairman of the Northern New York Sports Officials Committee (NNYSOC). He also is co-director of the Malone Adult Basketball League and the Franklin CYO Basketball League. He will eventually take over for Ken Cring, who has been running the CYO League for 41 years.It was Cring who first officiated a basketball game with McCormick."It was a girls' junior-varsity game and he was horrible," Cring recalled. "On the ride home, he was really disconsolate, saying, 'that was terrible, how can I get better at this?'"I invited him to help out with my CYO league and put him with Wayne Walbridge, an excellent teacher, and his improvement was rapid and dramatic. Wayne said he (McCormick) was an excellent student and when you told him something one, he grasped it immediately."It wasn't long before coaches and other officials were taking notice of McCormick's work on the court."I was the assignor for Section 10 basketball," Cring related. "Midway through his first year, I had an emergency cancellation and had enough confidence in Mark to place him on the varsity contest — between Brushton-Moira and Colton-Pierrepont, a very competitive game — which he handled admirably."In only his fourth year, McCormick was chosen to officiate at the NYSPHSAA Championships for girls and impressed the committee such that he was asked to work the Federation games the following week.Two years later, McCormick was selected to work the state finals for boys, thus becoming one of only three Section X officials to work at both the girls' and boys' tournaments.