Witches Win Season-Opener

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Greenwich jumped out to a 26-10 lead at the end of one and extended their advantage to 49-17 at the half in cruising past Corinth 86-34 in the boys basketball opener for both squads on Tuesday night in Greenwich.

Alex Curtis with 23 points and Jesse Kuzmich with 19, led the Witches attack that used the long ball effectively, bottoming nine triples in the contest.

Isaac Melville with 10 points showed the way for the Tomahawks.

Hoosick Falls Girls Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Rich Cooney

2018-19 Record:  14-10

Key Returning Players:  Logan Thayne Sr.  Maddy Walker Sr.  Sophia Estes Sr.

Coming off a nice season a year ago the Panthers return three seniors that first year head coach Rich Cooney will look to for leadership and production.  The trio of Maddy Walker, Sophia Estes and Logan Thayne are experienced, athletic and skilled players with Thayne earning  the Wasaren League MVP award last year.

Thus far, Cooney has liked what he’s seen from his Panthers in the preseason saying, “This group of girls is committed and dedicated to working hard and improving every day.”

“To be successful this year,” he continued, ” we need to limit our turnovers, play aggressive defense and develop stronger play from some of our younger players.”

The Falls mentor sees, “Height and athleticism,” as strengths and hopes to, “Expose the weaknesses of teams that are smaller and less experienced.”

In the very competitive Wasaren, Cooney sees Cambridge as, “The team to beat with Mechanicville, Tamarac and Hoosick Falls all hoping to contend.”

When asked for a word or phrase he wanted people to associate with his team Cooney chose, “Relentless,”  something every league team needs to be when navigating the Wasaren schedule that is frequently described using the same word.

The Panthers will have enough talent on the floor this year, led by SUNY Albany commit Thayne, to put themselves in position to win every night.  If they add “relentless” effort to the mix, look for the Falls to have a big number in the win column at season’s end.

 

 

Mechanicville Girls Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Blaine Goverski

2018-19 Record:  17-8  Section II Champs

Key Returning Players:  Charli Goverski  Jada Brown Amy DiSiena  AJ Analdo  Gianna Cavotta

Fresh off a Section Class B championship a year ago, the Red Raiders bring back nearly everyone and are primed and ready for a big 19-20 campaign.

“We have waited for this year to come and it is here,” said head coach Blaine Goverski.  “The girls have been playing all summer long, weight lifting and looking forward to this year.”

Last year the Raiders brought to the floor an up tempo style of play and look for little to change this season according to Goverski.  “Our team speed and athletic ability are keys for us.  We play with a fast pace, pressing and running the floor,” he continued.  “All five players on the court are capable of scoring.  We have experience and a deep, athletic bench.”

After winning Section II last year the Mechanicville mentor said the biggest challenge for this season will be, “To keep everyone hungry and get back to playing with urgency every night.”

Goverski touts Cambridge, Tamarac and Hoosic Valley as top contenders for the Wasaren crown this year in a league where there are no nights off.

A key phrase for this year’s version of the Raiders is, “Make our shining moments for our team together ,” according to the head coach.  “If we play together we have a lot to look forward to this year.”

 

 

Hoosick Falls Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Mike Lilac

2018-19 Record:  14-0 League  21-2 Overall

Key Returning Players:  Tristan Williams Sr.  Jon Kempf Sr.  Max Kipp Sr.  Dmitri Rose Sr.  Isiah Burnett Sr.  ( all who started at some point last season )  Zach Cahill Sr.  Nick Houghton Sr.  Sam Wickenden Sr.  Dylan Baker Soph.

While it’s not true that the last time Hoosick Falls failed to win a Wasaren championship was during the Bush administration, it sure seems it.  The Panthers, coming off a perfect 14-0 league campaign a year ago, have a won 84 of their last 86 Wasaren games including 54 straight.  They return five starters from last years squad, and seem poised to once again defend their league title.

“Our overall experience should be our biggest strength this year,” said longtime Panthers head coach Mike Lilac.  He added, “We will always stress our tough man to man defense,” a cornerstone of the Falls program for years.

As for this year’s preseason, Lilac likes that his team’s, “Shot selection is better and we seem to be taking better care of the basketball, keeping turnovers down.”

When asked what the Panthers need to do for another successful year, the head coach responded, “Rebounding the ball is the single biggest thing we need to do to be successful.   Outside of Williams we’re not very big.”  He continued, “We will need to bring the intensity every night as we have a bit of a target on our backs.  We will see everyone’s best shot.”

As for top contenders chasing the league crown Lilac said, “We should be in the mix,” but pointed out his Panthers last season had, “Several close games with Mechanicville, Waterford and Stillwater and they all return a lot.”

“Grit” is the one word the Falls mentor hopes people will associate with his squad this season.  “We always talk about having pride in the program and keeping our strong tradition going.”

And with an experienced, deep and talented Hoosick Falls squad ready to take the floor next week,  the smart money says the program’s winning tradition will continue to thrive.

 

 

 

 

 

Saratoga Catholic Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Brett Simpson

2018-19 Record:  6-15

Key Returning Players:  Jordan Catone Sr.  Ryan McCarroll Jr. are the only returning varsity players.

It will be a brand new system for the Saratoga Catholic program this year and head coach Brett Simpson likes the learning curve so far.  “Our kids have been working hard inside and out of practices and scrimmages.  We have gotten stronger with every practice and will continue to as we move forward.”

Simpson pointed specifically towards, “Ball movement and shooting,” as strengths of his Saints adding, “We will look to push the tempo and use our quickness to our advantage.”

In their effort to improve on the team’s record from a year ago the head coach sites the need to, “Rebound and defend.  If we can do both of those things at a high level we will be a tough team to play.”

The Saints mentor realizes the Wasaren is filled with competitive squads listing Hoosick Falls and Mechanicville at the top while adding, “The Wasaren league is extremely tough.  Anyone can beat anyone on a given night.”

In closing, when asked for a word or phrase that he hopes people will associate with his Saints, Simpson stated “Play smart, play hard, play together.  If we can do those three things we will succeed in basketball and also the real world.”

 

 

 

Cambridge Girls Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Bob Phillips

2018-19 Record:  25-1

Key Returning Players:  Sophie Phillips Jr.  Lily Phillips Jr.  Fiona Mooney Jr.  McKayla McLenithan Jr.  Ruth Nolan Jr.  Stasia Epler So.

Last year the Cambridge Indians earned league, section, and state titles, in winning 25 of 26 outings and this season will return a wealth of talent  from that dominant squad.

When asked what he’s most liked about the preseason Coach Phillips replied, “The experience that comes from having so many players returning and continuing to build on that.”

As was the case in last year’s run to a state championship, Phillips sites, “Pressure defense and a fastbreak style of play,” as strengths of his group.

He pointed out the Indians, “Need to grow both as a team and as individuals,” in order to be successful this season.  Adding, “We can’t rest on past successes, and realize we’ll get everyone’s best shot.”

When asked, Phillips sited Mechanicville, Tamarac and Hoosick Falls along with his Indians as the top contenders for a Wasaren championship come February.

He hopes the phrase, “We over me,” is what spectators will associate with Cambridge after having watched them this season.

In addition to that I’m sure fans will recognize a deep, talented roster, that pushes the pace and plays the game the right way, all components that will serve Cambridge well in their defense of multiple titles from a year ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Mechanicville Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Rian Richardson

2018-19 Record:  12-10

Key Returning Players:  Anthony Atalla  Josh Germaine  Luci D’Ambro  Devin Garland  Tyler Dion

A year ago Mechanicville flashed the ability to play with anyone, and with plenty of returning talent from that squad, hopes run high in Raider Nation this season.

Coach Richardson likes what he’s seen thus far from his group.  “Our practices have been so competitive that each individual has improved which makes our team better each day. Each player brings a little something different to our team in a positive way.”

Richardson highlighted his squads work ethic, ” We’ve worked really hard early, starting back with our open gyms in April.”

The head coach touts the Raiders speed and quickness as strengths that, “Will help us defend and create mismatches offensively” and “Our experience, which should also be beneficial.”

As for keys to Mechanicville’s success this season Richardson pointed to teamwork.

“We will need to play as a team and share the ball to be successful.  Guys are currently learning their roles and if everyone buys in we will be competitive.”

Regarding his thoughts on contenders for the league crown Richardson offered, “We hope to be at the top when the season ends and we realize it won’t be easy.  Hoosick Falls returns five starters that lost in the Class C final last year.”

The Mechanicville mentor concluded by saying he wants, “People to say that we play the game the right way.”

Look for that, as well as a run at the Wasaren title from these Raiders, this season.

 

 

 

Hoosic Valley Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Alex Lilac

2018-19 Record:  8-6 League  10-11 Overall

Key Returning Players:  CJ Bassett (Sr.)  Nick Santiago (Sr.) Matt Rowe (Jr.)  Logan Reilly (Fr.)

Last season the group from Schaghticoke, more nights than not was a tough out for league opponents and will look to do more of the same in the 2019-20 campaign.

“We have a young group that has blended nicely together on and off the court thus far”, said Lilac, who will lean on a pair seniors in Bassett and Santiago to provide leadership for the Indians.

A year ago the Valley showed prowess at the defensive end and look for their ability to guard to be a cornerstone again for this year’s version of the Indians.  “We have a gritty, defensive-minded team”, said Lilac, adding “We’re capable of beating anyone.”

He continued, “What our team needs to do to be successful is to get better each day and control what we can control.”

Regarding contenders for the league crown, Lilac named just one, the defending champion Panthers of Hoosick Falls.

Asked for the word or phrase he wants most associated with his squad, Lilac simply responded, “Toughness.”

For decades, going all the way back to packed houses, surrounding the small floor in the old Valley gym, opponents have known to bring their “A” game when facing the Indians  or risk going home with a loss.

This season promises to be no different as visitors will find a tough minded Valley team with the ability to guard, ensuring once again, they’ll be no nights off on the hardwood in Schaghticoke.

 

 

 

 

Stillwater Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Bruce Lilac

2018-19 Record:  11-10

Key Returning Players:  Brian McNeil, James Galarneau, Josh Luca, Grant Baker all return with newcomers CJ McNeil, Isaac Cutler,  Tyler Paffen, Jacob Zecca, Tyler Juliano and Rhett Mercier.

Stillwater will look to build on a solid season from a year ago and coach Lilac feels optimistic about doing just that.

“We have a nice mix of returning players with varsity experience along with a talented group from the JV team.  The preseason has been going well as we slowly work in the football guys after they had such a long and great season.”

As for the teams blueprint for success this year coach Lilac said, We will be a team that prides itself on the defensive end, while pushing the ball offensively.  To be successful this season we need to play to our strengths offensively and be really tough on the defensive end of the court.”

Regarding top contenders for the Wasaren title, Lilac echoed a common theme amongst league coaches.  “The league will be tough as usual but Hoosick Falls returning all five starters from last year has to be the top contender.  That being said it’s a league with lots of competition and you have to be ready to play every night or you will get beat.”

When asked of a word or phrase he wants people to associate with his team Lilac responded, “We want people to think of Stillwater basketball as a mentally tough group of kids who play hard every night and leave everything on the floor.”

If the Warriors can bring the effort, coupled with it’s talented roster, there’s a good chance they’ll be in the mix at season’s end for the league crown.

Tamarac Boys Basketball Preview

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Head Coach:  Eric Medved

2018-19 Record:  14-7

Key Returning Players:  Dalton Maxon (only returning starter)

Coming off an excellent 2018-19 campaign the Bengals roster lost seven players to graduation but will see an infusion of talent from the senior class as Tristan Nemjo, Jacob Barbera, Alex Medved and Miles Ednie, will all return to basketball after spending a year away from the sport.

Danny Honsinger returns as a “glue kid” for coach Medved who likes what he see’s in the preseason from his Bengals.

“We get better each and every practice which is what you want to see in a new group.  This is a very unselfish team that simply lacks varsity level game experience.   We have four sophomores and a freshman who will play significant roles this season which is a huge benefit down the road, but for now we are young. ”

Medved likes the potential he sees in freshman Joe Poulin and sophomore Zach Rice saying the tandem could be “poetry in motion” as they continue to grow moving forward.

When asked what his team needed to do to be successful this year the Tamarac mentor responded, “We pass the ball very well and are unselfish, if we utilize that as a strength we may surprise some people.”

As for top contenders in the league, Medved named a handful of squads as is so often the case in the Wasaren where on any given night the difference between a “W” and a Ziggy is slim.

Defending champion Hoosick Falls, an experienced Stillwater squad, a Mechanicville team that “returns 90% of it’s firepower”, Spa Catholic and a “savvy Waterford group” highlighted Medved’s thoughts on the league’s best.

Finally, the head coach wants people to recognize his team as being “hungry”. ” We may not be pretty to look at all the time, but we will compete.”