Monday, November 17, 2008

Hoop season almost upon us

High school basketball begins on Thanksgiving weekend, with what looks like a great tournament going on at Catholic Central. The Crusader Roundball Classic begins on Friday, November 28 with games between La Salle, Albany Academy, Schuylerville and host Catholic High. The first game begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday with the next to immediately follow.
Consolation and championship games will be played on Saturday.

Who do you think will be the major players on the court this season, either on the girls or boys sides? Which teams have a shot to win their league titles?

On the boys side, Bishop Maginn should be again the favorite to win the Big 10, with Taran Buie and Bunduka Kargbo returning as the best backcourt in Section II. Teams such as CBA and Catholic Central lost significant talent and senior leadership, so beyond Maginn, the Big 10 is wide open.
Bishop Maginn junior Taran Buie (with ball) aims to again be one of the top scorers in the area this season. (Mike McMahon - The Record)

The Suburban Council has realigned into two divisions:

North Division: Ballston Spa, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Niskayuna, Saratoga Springs, Shaker and Shenendehowa.
South Division: Averill Park, Bethlehem, Colonie, Columbia, Mohonasen and Guilderland.

Each team will play home-and-home in their division and play a single game against opponents in the opposite division for a 16-game regular season schedule. As far as I understand, the postseason Suburban Council tournament, which was played prior to the beginning of the Sectional tournament, has been scrapped.

On the boys side, Colonie should be dominant thanks to a frontcourt featuring Sean Peer and Herb Tedford. Jordan Stevens from Saratoga Springs may have something to say about that.

Tamarac is the front-runner in the Wasaren League, as all of their players except for Matt Dixon, the lone senior on last year's team, return. Cambridge (Shea Bromirksi) and Hoosic Valley (Pat Lanoue) lost their big-time shooters, so the rest of the league is up for grabs.

Now that Albany Academy has escaped the Colonial Council (they'll play a freelance Class AA schedule, but have some dates against old Colonial foes) any team can make a name for themselves. Nick Benoit at Cohoes and Chris Hughes at Watervliet are just two of the players to watch this season. And remember, Mechanicville made it all the way to the New York State championship game last season, so don't count out the Red Raiders.

For the girls, Averill Park's Katie Duma is back for her junior year and was a first-team all-state player as a sophomore.
Bethlehem's Meg Olsen should also factor in for the Eagles.

The Big 10 could likely come down to a battle between Schenectady and Shelia Dixon and Bishop Maginn and Mariah Stewart. Amsterdam, however, also figures to be in the mix.

In the Colonial Council, both Cohoes and Watervliet lost major players to graduation, so we will have to see who steps up to fill those shoes.
Lansingburgh's Erin Glikes earned Colonial Council MVP honors in softball but also figures to be a key player on the Lady Knights' basketball team this season.

And in the Wasaren, the Hoosic Valley team advanced far in the New York State tournament but will have to do it this year without Kayla Ryan, who was a big-time scorer for the Indians a season ago.

That's just a rough outline off the top of my head, but I hope it spurs some conversation.

- Will Montgomery

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