By Rob Centorani Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Since The Daily Star started selecting All-Star teams for boys basketball in 1984, never has its Player of the Year attended Bainbridge-Guilford and never has its Coach of the Year directed Morris.
Until now, that is.
B-G senior Austin Bauerle and Morris' Dave Sander earned The Daily Star's top honors, with Bauerle's 19-point and 15.3-rebound averages leading the Bobcats to a 10-8 record. Sander guided the Mustangs to an 18-2 season, one that ended with a 60-55 loss to Marathon in the Section Four Class D final.
Bauerle's senior-season contributions to B-G sports teams started in August of 2012 and ended in May of 2013. He played starring roles on the Bobcats' football, basketball and baseball teams.
In the fall, he made 20 catches for 311 yards and scored two touchdowns as a 6-foot-3, 220-pound tight end.
In the spring, he earned Midstate Athletic Conference MVP honors for baseball as the Bobcats reached the Section Four Class C semifinals, falling, 2-0, to a Seton Catholic Central team that went on to win the state championship. Bauerle, a Second Team all-state selection in Class C in baseball, took the loss in that game, throwing a four-hitter. Two days earlier, he struck out 15 in a one-hitter in B-G's 2-1 win over Spencer-Van Etten.
Then there's basketball. To go along with easily averaging a double-double, he also averaged 4.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.7 steals.
“During the summer, I focus on all three sports,” Bauerle said of preparing for his rounded talents. “Once football starts, they have open gyms for basketball, so I make sure I go to those to keep my touch. The same with baseball, you can always throw a baseball in the gym. It's knowing you have another sport but not losing focus on the sport you're playing.”
B-G basketball coach Greg Warren called Bauerle one of the smartest players he's coached.
“He has such a sense of what was going on,” Warren said. “He's definitely a coach on the floor. In the huddle during a timeout, he'd say this is what we need. He was a good facilitator with teammates. He helped manage people and was right on par with what I was saying.”
In B-G's season-finale, a 72-52 loss at Lansing, Bauerle had game-highs of 26 points and 15 rebounds, and he hit three three-pointers.
“I felt they were at a loss in the first half,” said Warren, whose team led, 38-35, at halftime. “They couldn't guard him on the perimeter. They had 6-8, 6-5 and 6-4 starting and they couldn't keep him off the boards, even with that size differential. If you put a guard on him, he's too big, and if you put a bigger guy on him, he's still too strong.”
Added Bauerle: “I'm a pretty big kid, but I've always focused on shooting. That way, there's more than one aspect to my game. It's important to work on shooting and moves inside.”
Those interested in becoming a quality rebounder should listen to Bauerle's quick tutorial on snatching caroms.
“I stay low and get into the guy,” he said of boxing out. “Because I've been playing so long, I know the bounces off the rim, just trying to predict where the ball was going to go. You have to pretend the ball is yours and no one else can have it.”
Warren said in addition to Bauerle's year-round athletic exploits, he's also near the top of his class academically.
“He's such a good kid,” Warren said. “He's extremely coachable. He's reserved, but he'd not a standoffish kid. He works hard, doesn't run his mouth and is a good team player. I hate losing him.”
Bauerle said he'll attend Cortland State in the fall but doesn't plan to play a sport. He said he wants to concentrate on his studies as a communications major with a concentration in journalism.
Asked if he'll miss not having a sports season to prepare for, Bauerle said: “It's already tough. Two months out of high school and I already miss basketball, baseball and football. It kind of stinks knowing I'm not going to start four-hour practices, but I'm looking for a new experience and I'm happy I'm going there.”
Morris' season included its second straight Tri-Valley League title – a 34-27 win over Milford in the final – and a spot in the sectional championship game.
Led by Fourth Team all-state selection Mike DeLuca and all-state honorable mention Levi Decker, the Mustangs rolled through the Tri-Valley League to the tune of a 13-1 record.
Decker and DeLuca, both seniors, averaged 16.9 and 16.4 points, respectively.
In sectionals, Morris scored 77 points in back-to-back games, eliminating Southern Cayuga and Hunter-Tannersville.
In the final against Marathon, the Mustangs tied the score at 49 on a free throw by DeLuca before the Olympians pulled away.
Following that game, Sander said: “This is a great, great, great group of guys. They're just a wonderful group of young men. I've had no problems, they do what they're supposed to do, I don't have to worry about trouble in school. I love each and every one of them, truly.”
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.