Monday, February 9, 2009

'Burgh girls roll into Holy Names showdown; power polls

Lansingburgh senior forward Tina Johnston (center, with ball) spins in the paint in front of head coach Mari Warner during practice on Monday. (Tom Killips - The Record).

The Lady Knights carry a nine-game Colonial Council winning streak into Tuesday's game at Colonial-leading Holy Names (15-0, 17-0), the No. 3 ranked Class A team in the state.
Check out the full story on how Lansingburgh has turned its season around after a frustrating 4-5 start in Tuesday's edition of The Record.

With the A-Roid scandal, Siena and UAlbany playing tonight, plus our weekly bowling coverage, there was no room for the polls in the hard copy this week. Instead, a digital version.

Large Schools

Rank School Last Week

1 Albany Academy 1

The Cadets edged out Bishop Loughlin in a high-scoring game last week and they’re looking nearly unstoppable heading into the Section II Class AA tournament. They have a bunch of perimeter shooters (Tyler Foster and Nolan Hart), a great point guard in Jimmer Bennett and Jamel Fields is fearless driving to the hoop. No one in the section can match Chris Pelcher’s size and agility in the paint and Hunter McCarthy and Matt LaClair provide a defensive spark off the bench. When we find out where the Cadets are seeded next Wednesday, we’ll learn a lot about how the Class AA bracket could unfold.

2 Bishop Maginn 2

Trashon Burrell has really emerged for the Golden Griffins, who despite their stellar record, are just beginning to figure out how all the pieces fit together. With their mix of experience, talent and coaching, the Griffs have to be considered a lock for the Section II Class AA championship game. They’ve all but locked up the Big 10 but whether they can post a Section II title defense remains to be seen.

3 Shenendehowa 3

The Plainsmen are flying a bit below the radar in the Suburban Council, but they did avenge their only loss to Saratoga Springs last week. They’ve already locked up the Suburban Council North Division title. Remember, Shenendehowa was upset in the first round of the Section II tournament by Troy last season and while this year’s team is stronger, they will have to gear up for the tough teams from the Big 10.

4 CBA 4

The Brothers made a valiant comeback in the third quarter against Bishop Maginn on Friday but just didn’t have the firepower to retaliate in the fourth with Kam Ritter in foul trouble. I still think, however, if there is one team that could match up well with Academy, it’s CBA, provided Ritter, center Andy Stire and sophomore point guard Galal Cancer play the games of the lives.

5 Lansingburgh 5

The Knights have not won a Colonial Council title since 1990 and they are on the path to clinching at least a share with Voorheesville if they can win their last two games. They’ll have a big rivalry game against Cohoes on Tues. the 17th, at 7:30 p.m. in the ‘Burgh.

Small Schools

Rank School Last Week

1 Maple Hill 1

The Wildcats uncharacteristically dropped a home game to Greenville last week, their first defeat of the season. But their biggest strength is their depth and full embrace of the team concept, so a loss to release a little pressure might not have been the worst thing in the world for Maple Hill. According to the Section II handbook, they’ll compete in the Class CC bracket (although the girls are listed in the single C) against tough teams like Hoosick Falls, Hoosic Valley, Stillwater and Voorheesville.

2 Hoosick Falls 2

Like Maple Hill, the Panthers also dropped a league game last week, falling to Schuylerville. However, they still have a game at hand and remain atop the Wasaren league, with games against Greenwich, Stillwater and a Schuylerville make up date remaining.

3 Heatly NR

The Hornets have a tough stretch this week in the CHVL as they try to wrap up another league title. Alex and Peter Heffern can both light it up from behind the three-point arc and Bobby Fish always does a great job running the Heatly offense.

4 Tamarac 3

The Bengals travel to Granville on Wednesday night and the teams will enter the game entrenched in a second place tie. The winner goes on to have a shot at the Wasaren League title, depending on what Hoosick Falls does, and it will also help the winner’s seeding in the Section II Class B tournament. Tamarac got off to a hot start, winning their first 10 games and they may be due for another hot streak. Connor Whalen had a big game from the bench last week.

5 Voorheesville 4

Watervliet comes to town on Tuesday and the Cannoneers have been playing much better ball lately. It took a while for them to come together with most of the players getting back from football season and they’ll be sure to push the Blackbirds. Voorheesville’s Ethan Mackey and Nick Kinisky form a dynamic inside-outside duo and they’ll be a tough matchup for any team in the Class CC brackets.


Large Schools

Rank School Last Week

1 Holy Names 2

They’ve passed every test so far this season and they’re winning games by an average margin of 25.6 points. Kierra Moore might be the team’s leader, but they also have a very deep team. Casey Spicer, Jackie Murphy and Hannah Wilson are also big contributors for Holy Names. The big question for this team is how they will handle themselves against teams from the Suburban Council in the Class A tournament. The Suburban teams play up against Class AA competition all season while Holy Names plays against mostly Class B and C teams in the Colonial Council.

2 Mohonasen 3

Mohon travels to Averill Park on Friday night, and AP has lost three of its last four games, including a two-point victory over Shaker. AP could be due for rebound, but Mohon has been the hottest team in the Suburban Council lately, handing defeats to Bethlehem, Shenendehowa and Averill Park so far this season.

3 Shenendehowa 4

The Lady Plainsmen have clinched the North Division and eked out an overtime victory at Averill Park last week. On Tuesday, they’ll travel to Latham to take on Shaker High as first-year Blue Bison head coach Emily Caschera goes against her old coach, Ken Strube, for the second time this season. Shen earned a two-point victory early in January.

4 Bethlehem NR

They’ve had their share of struggles this season, but they’re still perhaps the best team built for a Class AA playoff run. They can go inside to Alex McCullough or outside to Meg Olsen and the rest of the supporting cast is solid. Averill Park is on the schedule on Tuesday and the Warriors can climb back into a second place tie with a victory.

5 Lansingburgh 5

The Lady Knights have a big game against Holy Names tonight as they continue to prove themselves in the Colonial Council and against Class A competition.

Diamond Branch scored 10 points against Holy Names in the first meeting between the teams and she could be a weapon for the Knights again tonight.

Small Schools

Rank School Last Week

1 Maple Hill 1

They’ve won 44 straight Patroon Conference games, a streak that predates any of the players of head coach Mark Bubniak. The Wildcats can put away their third consecutive Patroon title with a victory over Catskill at home on Wednesday night. Greenwich and Berlin could pose interesting matchups should the teams meet in the Class C bracket.

2 Hoosic Valley 2

The Indians proved their mettle in a tough, low-scoring game on Stillwater’s tiny court last week, and they also likely sealed up the Wasaren League title with the victory. Defending Section II Class B champions, Hoosic Valley drops back down to Class CC this year, and their toughest in-bracket foes could be Voorheesville or Stillwater.

3 Voorheesville NR

The Blackbirds dropped back-to-back games against Holy Names and Lansingburgh a few weeks ago, but rebounded with three victories since. They’ll close out the season with road games at Watervliet and Schalmont. Voorheesville likes to light it up from behind the three-point arc, as Casey Becerra, Britney Creed and Kelly Glath have combined for 67 long-range shots. They’ll certainly have a hard time trying to shot the longball in Watervliet’s cozy gym on Tuesday night.

4 Stillwater 3

Despite the loss to Hoosic Valley, the Warriors proved they can play tight defense against one of the area’s top teams. Unlike Voorheesville, they don’t rely on the longball, mostly because it’s impossible at home, but they’re very good at forcing the ball inside to Abbey Hanehan. Teams like Hoosic Valley with a great post player like Sam Anderson can pose problems for them, however.

5 Watervliet NR

The Lady Cannoneers have a big game on Tuesday night when Voorheesville comes to town as they try to gain a foothold at the top of the Colonial Council. They’re a young team that cooled off in January after a torrid December but have the tools to make a Section II title defense, although they’ll be playing in the Class B bracket this season after winning the CC/C playoff a year ago.

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