The Cooperstown girls defeated host Mount Markham, 55-40, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, to win the Center State Conference Division III title.
Kate Donnelly and Piper Seamon each scored 18 points as the Hawkeyes outscored the hosts, 23-8, in the fourth quarter to break a 32-32 tie after three periods. Seamon had 12 points in the frame.
The production from Donnelly and Seamon highlights a pair of key ingredients to Cooperstown’s success: returning standouts from last year’s section championship squad, and another group of players stepping up from supporting roles during last season.
“Last year we had a lot of mojo, and the kids that are playing a big role for us now, especially Kate (Donnelly) and Ashley (Kiuber), were support players last year,” Cooperstown coach Mike Niles said. “They stood out in that role. And last season’s chemistry, the seniors have tried to emulate that.”
Seamon, a senior, and freshman Meagan Schuermann each had starting roles last season, and have continued to produce a year later. Seamon leads the Hawkeyes with an average of 12.1 points per game, while Schuermann has produced 8.6 points per game along with more than 10 rebounds per game, which leads the team.
But Niles credited Donnelly (10.4 points per game) and Kiuber (6.8) with picking up production lost after last season.
“Kate and Ashley coming out of support roles and into starting roles this year have really stood out. Kate’s been really outstanding and consistent,” Niles said.
Gabby Woeppel rounds out a starting five of players that will likely all finish the regular season with 100 points.
“It’s a little bit of a scatter shot. You anticipate things or have some expectations. But after our Christmas tournament where we lost to Duanesburg and Notre Dame, it wasn’t fun for a while,” Niles said. “The kids definitely responded. You can have expectations, but you still have to find yourselves, find your personality.”
The going was not always easy for the Hawkeyes, who took two losses to Duanesburg and one to Utica Notre Dame in a 2-3 stretch that included two losses at home in the Dick White Tournament.
“We took it on the chin from Duanesburg twice, and we took a couple of lessons from that and they ended up being really important with where we are now,” Niles said. “We recognized a two-week streak in our season where it was going to be fury road, if you will, and we thought if we could go 6-1 we would be in really good shape.”
The Hawkeyes responded with nine consecutive wins from Jan. 4 through Jan. 31, before falling to Class B Westhill, 58-51, on the road Saturday, Feb. 1.
Two more wins since have Cooperstown at 15-4 entering the final game of the regular season, a visit to Waterville at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14. Despite having the division title in hand, the Hawkeyes will be looking to boost their case for a first-round bye in the section tournament.
“We had a really good January and the kids have earned a good tournament bracket,” Niles said. “Now we’ve got to play them.”
Cooperstown 55, Mount Markham 40
Cooperstown ..... 13 11 8 23 – 55
Mount Markham ..... 5 12 15 8 – 40
MOUNT MARKHAM: Olivia Ostrander 0 1-2 1, Zoe Hoke 0 0-2 0, Emma Kocienda 2 1-2 5, Caroline Entwistle 1 1-2 3, Mackenzie Doyle 0 0-0 0, Caitlyn Duncan 2 0-2 5, Hayleigh Gates 5 0-0 10, Morgan Sayers 1 1-2 4, Hannah Picola 4 2-4 12. TOTALS 15 6-16 40.
COOPERSTOWN (15-4, 9-0): Kate Donnelly 8 0-0 18, Abby Ford 0 0-0 0, Natalie Fountain 1 0-2 2, Ashley Kiuber 1 0-0 2, Anna Lambert 0 0-0 0, Meagan Schuermann 3 2-6 8, Danielle Seamon 3 1-2 7, Piper Seamon 6 5-5 18, Lindsey Trosset 0 0-0 0, Gabby Woeppel 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 8-15 55.
Three-point field goals: MM 4 (Picola 2, Sayers, Duncan); C 3 (Donnelly 2, P. Seamon).