Friday, February 27, 2009

Heatly Hornets looking to sting Class D competition

Heatly boys basketball players Alex Heffern (l), LaShon Pringle and Peter Heffern - all cousins - look to lead the No. 1 seeded Hornets to their first Section II title in school history. (Photo by Tom Killips - The Record)

William Montgomery
The Record

GREEN ISLAND - Tucked away in a corner of the Heatly School trophy case is the flaking and crusty crown jewel of the boys basketball program. Aged by years of oxidation and shrouded in dust, the cup touting the Hornets’ 1936-37 Eastern New York Public High School Athletic Association League’s Eastern Section title draws more attention than the long list of Central Hudson Valley League championships the Hornets have won in recent years.
In spite of their regular season success, that old trophy contains all of the postseason frustrations the Hornets have endured since.
But a trio of cousins - senior LaShon Pringle, junior Peter Heffern and sophomore Alex Heffern – led the Hornets to a 2008-09 regular season Central Hudson Valley League championship, their first in three seasons.
Alex Heffern was a first team CHVL All-Star, Pringle was a second team selection and Peter Heffern was an honorable mention pick. Senior Brandon Fish was also named to the first team. The cousins, however, are looking to lead Heatly to its first Section II boys basketball title in school history.
Today, No. 1 Heatly (16-4) faces No. 8 Northville (11-9) in a Section II Class D quarterfinal matchup at Saratoga Springs High School. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Admission is $6.
The Hornets, coming from a small school, are traditionally few in number, but they’ve had to deal with being small in stature, too. With only one player taller than six feet, Alex Heffern leads Heatly’s perimeter shooting attack with 14.9 points per game.
"We’re one of the smallest teams in the league but we have to go out and play our game," he said. "To start off the game, we usually look inside, but basically everyone on our team can shoot."
Peter and Alex have combined to make 56 three-point baskets, and Pringle is Heatly’s biggest scoring threat in the paint.
Under the guidance of first-year varsity head coach Peter Heffern – junior Peter’s father - who coached many of the players as junior varsity head coach from 2000-08, the group began to play as a cohesive unit. With their long history of familiarity, whether related or not, the Hornets have cut down on turnovers and always look to make the extra pass.
"I think these kids are closer than most and that leads to a family atmosphere which leads to a better team atmosphere," head coach Heffern said. "I think, in all fairness to other classes prior, I think this team had an advantage being family and knowing that they have to play together to win."
The family tradition extends to the girls team as well, as Melissa Heffern and Danielle Greene have led the Lady Hornets (11-9) to a No. 4 seed in the Class D tournament and a Saturday date with No. 5 Northville. Tip-off at Germantown High School is set for 6 p.m.
A 12-game winning streak through the end of the regular season and quality non-league victories over Mechanicville and Berne-Knox-Westerlo led the Section II seeding committee to award the Heatly boys the No. 1 seed. Five CHVL rivals are among the contenders in the Class D bracket and it could be a banner season for the league, which has not been home to a Section II champion this decade.
"It turned out in the seeding that we’re not really going to face any of those until the end and I really hope we meet one of those because I think it would be really great for the league," said coach Heffern. "Our league hasn’t fared well - we have got there - but haven’t won. It certainly would be nice for league if we can put someone in finals and win it."
The Hornets will have endured a 14-day layoff when Saturday’s quarterfinal game begins but they’re hoping their hours spent playing against former Heatly players in local parks in the summer has toughened them up for a run through the Class D bracket.
"It really does mean a lot," Alex Heffern said. "Talking to alumni, we’re the first No. 1 seed since 1999 and we’ve never won a sectional title."
The younger Peter Heffern was quick to finish his cousin’s thought.
"It’s a big deal," he said.

(Note: Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this is ever going to fit in the hard copy of The Record because of space limitations in recent days, so I'll post it here for posterity's sake)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article but it is lacking in the fact that covering the boy's team should have been extended a bit more to at least cover the total starting team. I recognize that this is also an article on the Heffern family element and it's part in the team success, and rightly so, but I feel that it did not necessarily have to exclude the others on the team. I note that B. Fish is mentioned but is not in the photo nor are any others. Last I recall these teams were made up of five players and in a playoff, these three very talented players would still be hard pressed to win without the presence and support of two other guys out there that know how to team play.

February 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Heatly boys play very well together but it is B. Fish that controls the game. And A. Bryant and JR Gleason are key contributors too. Good Luck to all the boys.

February 28, 2009 at 4:28 PM 
Blogger sportsfan said...

While I agree with what you've both said, the blog had a unique angle that they were taking - the fact that these are family members. The article also mentioned Danielle and Melissa. That's 5 cousins, playing on the two teams - and the coach being related as well.

Articles have all been very generous about the team. No one is underestimating Brandon's - or Anthony, JR, Mike, Bob, Dom or Will - contribution to the team. This is a team that has worked together as a team. Brandon is dynamic to watch because he is a very talented athlete. So are the other team members.

Again, this is just a unique angle. I've remembered similar articles and write-ups over the years where there has been stories about siblings on the same team and leading the team.

Good luck to the boys on Tuesday!

March 1, 2009 at 11:47 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great aricle. And all of the team players should be proud. I just really hope that the comments left above are not from an adult. Because that is really immature. your pretty much saying that B.Fish controls the team and the article should be all about him. If you read the article it is not being implied that it is only because of these three that they have made it so far. They are just talking about the family aspect of it. All of them work great as a team and got this far by playing as a team. where is your team spirit?

March 2, 2009 at 10:20 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wake up! The family is on the team. Nowhere is it mentioned that the family IS the whole team. The writer isn't taking any glory away from obviously YOUR kid or any team player. It's about relatives all playing on the same team. How sad you've missed the whole point.

March 2, 2009 at 12:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying what a great article this is. And what a great basketball team Heatly has. They must all have exceptional skills to get themselves this far.
It is very disappointing to read some of these comments. Especially if the aricle is just about the family dynamic of the team. This is high school basketball. If these are parents I dont know if I want my child to play sports. It should not be about who is in the spotlight and who is not. And who holds the team together because last I checked you didnt get this far with 1 person or 3. The article is not about getting this far just because the 3 of them. You should really re-read the article. And how do you think you are making the kids in the article feel? And the friction that may be brought between the players. I really say shame on you. Where is the encouragement??? You are turning something really positive to a negative by misinterpreting
the article. It is just so sad that people would feel this way

March 2, 2009 at 7:26 PM 
Anonymous Fish said...

I was told by someone to go on & read this blog & story & I wanted to clarify that it is NOT anyone in Brandon's family that wrote those blogs. We are not immature or ignorant people. Like it was stated they do family stories all the time it is not unusual. All the boys play well together and got this far because they are a team. Good Luck tomorrow.

March 2, 2009 at 7:40 PM 
Anonymous Brandon Fish said...

Alright...listen, the anonymous comment left on March 2 at 12:05, you need to chill, that was noone in my family... Myself and the other 9 players on my team could care less about the spot light, were just looking to bring a sectional title home.

March 2, 2009 at 9:28 PM 
Anonymous Anita Brown said...

The sad thing about blogging and the internet is that sometimes things can get out of hand.

Let's just 'bring it back' to this is a really nice article with the unique angle of a family of players. I say kudos on a well written piece.

I'm happy to see Heatly receiving positive press, for a team(s) well deserving of the honor. The boys have worked very hard as a TEAM. No one is taking away from that. Nice job to the Fish's for distancing themselves from the negativity, because someone was obviously trying to lead this to a negative/jealousy.

This is not the way people should be getting worked up or trying to get people worked up before the big game. This is a group of kids who have worked together and are trying to capture the first Section II title for the Boys program. Maybe just listen to Brandon, "Myself and the other 9 players on my team could care less about the spot light, were just looking to bring a sectional title home."

Good luck tomorrow to the Heatly Hornets and Lady Hornets. May you both shine - be outstanding sportsmen and women - and oh yeah - WIN! I for one would love to see a really HUGE celebration for both teams success. (I'll even through in a few batches of brownies!)

Make us proud! Play your game!

March 2, 2009 at 10:00 PM 
Anonymous Anita Brown said...

Correction -

(I'll even THROW in a few batches of brownies!)

Make us proud! Play your game!

March 2, 2009 at 10:16 PM 
Anonymous Chris P. Bacon said...

I would just like to say this article sucks,heatly sucks go New Lebanon they are the real CHVL Champs!!!!

March 3, 2009 at 10:42 AM 
Anonymous Mike Hunt said...

Wohhh Chris i would just like to say that new leb got eleminated out of the first round and lost both time to heatly.......Go Hornets!!!

March 3, 2009 at 10:44 AM 
Anonymous Heatly Fan said...

Chris - that's a pretty mature comment. I'm sure you're trying to show your school spirit. Maybe try to find a different approach. Unfortuantely, New Lebanon ranked tied for #6 in CHVL, Heatly ranked #1.

The article is well written. And the Hornets are playing great ball! Go Hornets!

March 3, 2009 at 12:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


October 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM 
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I love this article because I feel so identify with, actually I belong to a group of basketball friends that's cool.

October 6, 2010 at 1:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just like to say Sharon Springs spanked Heatly in the finals, Go SPARTANS baby ;)

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