Last week, this space was used to emphasize the difficulty of selecting this year’s player and coach of the year awards in boys basketball.
It’s no joke to say that making the same selections for our girls basketball honorees was even more difficult. An even greater abundance of viable candidates, coupled with the tough-to-quantify variable of three teams that did not get to complete their respective seasons, muddied the water even further.
It goes without saying that we really could not have made a bad choice, and this is evidenced in our selection of Franklin’s Kayla Campbell as Player of the Year. It’s unlikely that anyone who saw the play of the BCANY Section IV Class D Co-Player of the Year will disagree with our decision.
For Coach of the Year Bob Zeh, helping Unatego to the program’s first section title in 35 years happened to include earning his 600th coaching win. Again, not too shabby.
Still, there are more than a few other names that should be mentioned along with our winners, especially considering that Cooperstown and South Kortright (as well as Unatego) were still competing for state gold at the time of the season’s cancellation.
In baseball’s spiritual home, basketball has made repeated bids to be the village’s sport of choice. The 2019-20 season saw Hawkeyes senior Piper Seamon score her 1,000th varsity point and key her team’s repeat as Section III Class C champions. The tenacious play of Kate Donnelly, the emergence of Ashley Kiuber and the ballhawking of Meagan Schuermann made all four difficult options to eliminate.
Cooperstown coach Mike Niles had a notable season of his own, leading the Hawkeyes back from a 4-3 start to win 16 of their final 17 games. The last of those wins came just hours after the passing of his mother as Niles coached his side to its second consecutive section title.
South Kortright’s Josh Burroughs made his case to retain his coach of the year title, leading the Rams to an 11th consecutive Delaware League championship along with a second consecutive section title that made it four in six years for SK.
Double-double machine Azalyn Brunson and 3-point markswoman Carli Pardee paced a deep, deep SK team that saw its dreams of state glory snuffed out the same day it was scheduled to begin regional play.
And in Unatego, there’s yet another squad of tremendous depth that somehow produced just one All-MAC First Team performer in Morgan Perry.
Perhaps these players and coaches could have used the upcoming games to bolster their resumes. But even among the players that saw their seasons come to a natural conclusion, there is more than a little talent.
Few players could rival the consistent production of Stamford’s Melanie Hoyt, who according to our records finished with a double-double in all except one of her team’s 23 games.
Also in the Delaware League, Downsville’s Olivia Brunner averaged a double-double and made enough trips to the 30-point plateau to get comfortable.
Meanwhile, teammate Kailee Young finished the year just two assists per game shy of averaging a triple-double. Young’s all-around contributions are rivaled by the outstanding play of Delhi’s Sylvia Liddle and Oneonta’s Anika Buzzy.
As just one way of quantifying our struggle, it’s worth noting that we had seven players on the all-area team average a double-double, and two others were two points or fewer from making it nine such players.
So again, you’re encouraged to check out the capsules of all these players, and those of all the members of the all-area team. But do so not in search of opposition or competition; with the season being over, instead note all of the remarkable teams and players that graced the hardwood this winter.
Then, if you’re really looking for a mental exercise, try to pick out one player. Good luck with that.