Juniors Mariah Ruff and Jordan Beers earned First Team selections on the recently released all-state girls basketball teams, which are selected by the New York State Sports Writers Association.
Ruff, who led Oneonta High to a 20-2 record and a spot in the state semifinals, made it in Class B, along with senior teammates Natalie Vanderlaan-Meyering (Sixth Team) and Kelsey Baker (Eighth Team).
Beers paced Franklin to a 20-1 record that included the program’s first Section Four Class D title. She was joined by teammate Marisa Cawley, a junior who made the Sixth Team in Class D.
Others from the area earning all-state recognition were: Cooperstown seniors Sumer Murdock (Fifth Team) and Nicole Cring (Seventh Team), Unadilla Valley senior Amanda Off (Sixth Team) and Unatego senior Casey Manzanero (Seventh Team) in Class C; and Jefferson senior Elissa Starheim (Third Team), South Kortright senior Kayla Craft (Fourth Team), Davenport junior Sarah Haight (Seventh Team) and Milford freshman Addy Lawson (Seventh Team) in Class D.
Ruff earned all-state honors for the third time in girls basketball. She was a Second Team selection last season and Seventh Team pick in 2010.
Ruff averaged 17.6 points in leading OHS to a Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship and the program’s record sixth straight Section Four title. Ruff saved her best for the postseason.
Starting with Oneonta’s 50-34 win over Class A state finalist Maine-Endwell in a STAC semifinal, Ruff averaged 22 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists. That six-game span included 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a 57-56 win over Section Four Class AA champion Horseheads; 28 points, six rebounds and four assists against previously unbeaten Waverly; 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a Class B state quarterfinal win over Utica Notre Dame; and 26 points, seven rebounds and eight assists against four-time reigning Class B state champion Irvington.
Irvington ended the Yellowjackets’ season with a 55-53 win in a Class B state semifinal. The Bulldogs went on to beat Waterloo by 38 points in the state final.
Irvington’s Lexi Martins and Brittni Lai, headed for Division I schools Lehigh and Marist, respectively, next season, were named co-Class B Players of the Year.
Ruff, a fifth-year varsity player with 1,511 varsity points, had a chance to tie the score against Irvington in the closing seconds of regulation but missed a layup. Vanderlaan-Meyering had another chance to tie, but she missed a putback from close range.
Over the last two seasons in state competition, OHS was the only team Irvington didn’t beat by double digits.
Ruff also was a First Team all-state selection in soccer this past fall, when she guided the Yellowjackets to an 18-3-1 season that ended with a 3-1 overtime loss to Greece Odyssey in the Class B state final.
Vanderlaan-Meyering, a 6-2 center, averaged around nine points. Her presence and shot blocking around the basket, along with her rebounding, keyed Oneonta’s interior defense.
Baker, a 5-10 forward, earned all-state honors for the second straight season. She was an Eighth-Team pick a season ago. An aggressive rebounder and tireless defender, Baker averaged more than seven points.
In terms of an area snub, OHS third-year coach Matt Miller might have been the biggest omission. Miller’s squad not only pushed Irvington to the limit but twice knocked off Class A state champion Troy by double digits.
Buffalo Cardinal O’Hara coach Dan McDermott was named the Class B Coach of the Year. Irvington beat Cardinal O’Hara, 65-48, to win its second straight Class B state Federation title.
As for Beers, her 26.7 scoring average led the next-highest area scorer — Craft — by eight points. Like Ruff, Beers’ production increased during the postseason. She averaged better than 31 points over six playoff games, including 38 in Franklin’s 70-36 sectional semifinal win over Southern Cayuga.
Beers has scored a Franklin-record 1,914 points over five varsity seasons.
Cawley, a 5-10 forward, averaged 13.8 points. She had a team-high 23 points in Franklin’s 59-49 sectional quarterfinal win over Schenevus.
Franklin’s season ended with a 51-46 loss to Class D state finalist Oriskany in a state quarterfinal.
Murdock and Cring led Cooperstown to a 20-3 season that ended with a 45-43 Class C state quarterfinal loss to Harpursville, which advanced to the state final. Murdock averaged 14.1 points and Cring averaged 10.9. Murdock also hit 49 three-pointers, second in the area to Beers’ 56.
Off, a 5-11 center, scored her season high of 25 points during the Storm’s 53-51 Section Four Class C quarterfinal loss to Harpursville. Off helped UV win its first Midstate Athletic Conference title by averaging 17.1 points. The Storm went 15-2.
Manzanero helped Unatego beat Harpursville twice during the season, but the Hornets avenged those losses with a 60-36 win in the Section Four Class C final. Manzanero scored 20 points to lead the Spartans to a 54-50 win over Harpursville in a MAC semifinal. She finished the season averaging 14.0 points and became the fourth Unatego girls basketball player to score 1,000 points.
The 6-0 Starheim had numerous triple-doubles this past season, often reaching double digits in points, rebounds and blocks. She averaged 13.2 points.
Craft earned all-state honors for the second straight season. She was a Fifth Team pick last season. Her 18.7 scoring average helped SK to a 19-1 season that included the Rams’ fourth straight Delaware League title.
Haight averaged a team-best 11.9 points for a Davenport squad that finished 17-4.
Lawson’s 13.9-points per game helped Milford to a 10-8 record.