Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Troy freshman earns tournament MVP honors

Troy High School freshman Javion Ogunyemmi (No. 34, shown here in action Tuesday night against Colonie) scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against La Salle Institute. He earned tournament MVP honors at the Girmindl/Sand Memorial Tournament at Shaker High School. Troy's Josh Blaabouer (21) elevates for a field goal attempt. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Called up from the JV just about three weeks ago, Ogunyemmi has had an immediate impact on the Troy team. His size and athleticism allows Troy High head coach Jeff Sitterly to move sophomore forward Kareem Brown to the wing and it makes the Flying Horses and dangerously long team. With Greg Williams and John Pompey also in the mix in the front court, the Flying Horses are a very tall bunch.

"(Ogunyemmi) did a good job, he finishes, he has good hands and defensively he’s a big help for us because he can contest the rim," said Troy High head coach Jeff Sitterly. "Now we’re able to move Kareem out to the wing and have some size. He’s been a big addition and we’re excited about the rest of the season with him in the lineup."

Read more about his performance in Wednesday's 54-51 victory over La Salle in Thursday's edition of The Record.

Raheem Felder leaps while watching the basketball during Tuesday's game against Colonie. Wednesday, he was named to the Girmindl/Sand All-Tournament team and helped lead the Flying Horses to the team title.

He's only a sophomore, but Felder has quickly become a leader on Troy's senior-less team. He scored five points and grabbed six rebounds and made three assists in the win over La Salle, providing some excitement in the backcourt alongside Elijah Jenkins.

"All I could do as a point guard was pass the ball and set my teammates up," Felder said. "That’s all coach asks me to do. And we play hard defense all game. I try my best not to turn over the ball and lead my team to the championship."


The Troy team erupted in jubilation after the victory. Sure, they had won a tournament and topped one of their Collar City rivals, but it was the fashion in which the Horses won that most pleased them and their coaches. Ogunyemmi completed a pair of three-point plays down the stretch and hit both free throws in the waning seconds of the game. It might have been just a non-conference victory in the middle of the season, but this Troy team proved it can hold on in a close game, managing the clock, balancing their fouls and simply playing smart in the clutch. The future will be very bright for this group.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Averill Park cruises in Big 10-Suburban Challenge

Catholic Central's Mikayla Deguire is mobbed by Averill Park defenders Katie Hawes (rear), Katie Duma (13) and Brooke O'Shea (25) during Monday's game at South Colonie High School. Averill Park won, 57-29. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Averill Park allowed just one field goal in the first half en route to the non-league victory.

Averill Park's Amanda Fitzgerald dribbles up the court as Catholic Central's Ashley Creighton (3) trails during Monday's game.

The Averill Park bench played a big role in this game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.

Catholic Central's Hannah Kutny elevates for a shot attempt over Averill Park's Katie Duma. The Crusaders shot well from the free throw stripe but couldn't make up the difference from the floor.

It was an especially meaningful game for the Lady Warriors, many of whom play in the offseason under Catholic Central head coach Audra DiBacco for the Albany Capitals AAU club. For more on that story, check out the full game report in Tuesday's edition of The Record.

Averill Park's Michela Ottati prepares to leap for a layin attempt during Monday's game. Catholic Central players Ashley Creighton (3), Alexi Howland (32) and Mikayla Deguire (24) look on.

Action continues Tuesday, when Albany faces Averill Park at 6 p.m. and South Colonie hosts Catholic Central at 7:30 p.m. All games will be played at South Colonie High School.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

LSI penalty killers do the job against CBA

La Salle Institute junior goalkeeper Brett Bernardo displays his form while making a save during Saturday's game against Christian Brothers Academy at the Albany County Hockey Facility. La Salle won, 5-2, by killing 11 of 12 CBA power plays. (Top three photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

The Cadets can't find a way to keep out of the penalty box, just like last week's game against Saratoga Springs, in which they committed 13 penalties. This time, however, the La Salle penalty kill came through, lifting the Cadets to a CDHSHL victory over the Brothers.

La Salle junior center Alex Verchereau scores a first period goal past CBA goalkeeper Zach Baron. CBA's David Wilgocki (15) defends on the play.

Sophomore forward Matt Wagner added the game-winning and insurance goals later in the game. The Verchereau-Wagner-Nolan Crowley line is beginning to produce for La Salle, thanks in large part to a defensive challenge posed by La Salle head coach Tim Flanigan.

The line had allowed too many goals and Flanigan asked them to focus first on defense, telling them that the goals would come. The line has not had a goal scored against them in the last three games and they've lit up the scoreboard in the last two.

"If you play good defense and you get turnovers, you get scoring chances off of transition," Flanigan said. "They can do it, they just have to come together and cover up each other’s mistakes and help out."

Brett Bernardo (31) is spun around as CBA's Casey Hladik is pushed away by a La Salle defender during Saturday's game. CBA twice tied the game in the second period, but a pair of goals from Matt Wagner sealed the game for La Salle.

Steve Basile scored CBA's two goals and Zach Baron and Ryan Ward combined to make 29 saves in net for the Brothers.

There was plenty of hard-hitting in the open ice between both sides, something I would chalk up to the long-standing rivalry between the schools. It was a pretty entertaining game, especially because CBA practically always had an opportunity on the power play and the Cadets never really felt confident with the lead until an empty net goal in the final minute.

Matt Wagner (14) is about to score the game-winning goal in the second period of Saturday's CDHSHL game against CBA. (Photo submitted by Mark Wagner)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 7 - Mechanicville softball wins NYS title

Mechanicville sophomore Anna Arceneaux guided the Red Raiders to their sixth state championship of the decade, this their first in Class B.

For the second consecutive season Arceneaux guided the Red Raiders to a New York State championship, this time Mechanicville’s first in Class B. The team had won five Class C state titles since 2000 prior to 2009. She went 17-1 in the pitcher’s circle, striking out 1.4 hitters per inning. At the plate, Arceneaux hit .472 with 28 runs scored and 27 runs batted in. She was named co-New York State Class B Player of the Year.

Her father, Don Arceneaux, was named the New York State co-Coach of the Year in Class B.

The Mechanicville bench rallies during a crucial Colonial Council game against Lansingburgh late in the 2009 regular season.

If there was a team of the decade from the Capital Region, it would be hard to pick against the Mechanicville girls. They're nearly flawless on the field, playing sharp defense and knowing how to manufacture runs when a runner gets on base.

Shannon McBride split some of the pitching duties with Arceneaux this season and she was also one of the team's best hitters. Kelsey Hines delivered the power for the Red Raiders and hit a mammoth shot against Fredonia in the state finals that just somehow missed clearing the fence.

Alysa Russel and Abby Maiello also provided a spark with speed and solid defense at third base and center field, respectively.

With plenty of young yet experienced players returning when the snow melts in 2010, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see the Red Raiders challenging for another title at the start of a new decade.

Mechanicville may be the gold standard by which all other teams are judged, but plenty of teams around Section II also played very well in 2009.

Troy High senior Shannon Jones shifted from center field to shortstop and continued to rake at the plate, swinging her way to a scholarship at Siena College.

Jones, The Record's 2009 Player of the Year, was simply astonishing. Jones had 38 hits in 70 at-bats, hit eight home runs, scored 38 runs and drove in 29 for the Flying Horses, who won a fourth consecutive Big 10 Conference regular season title.

Jones’ slugging percentage (the number of total bases per at-bat) was a jaw-dropping 1.185 and she reached base at a 71% clip. Her prowess in the batter’s box was so well-known that many pitchers never gave her anything to hit, figuring a walk was a better decision than letting Jones swing away.

"Sometimes it was frustrating because I want to help the team out by getting a hit and getting things started," Jones said.

In Class C, Hoosick Falls won its first Section II championship since 1993 and its first regional crown since 1988, thanks in large part to the dominant pitching of freshman sensation Rachel Quackenbush, leaping for joy above.

The Panthers were always a fun team to watch because you knew Quackenbush would only give up a run or two, at best. How their offense responded was another matter.

She took matters into her own hands in the regional final against St. Lawrence, smacking the walk-off double in a 4-3 victory over the Larries. Our photographer J.S. Carras got a wonderful shot of the bench erupting to welcome Jenna Priore at home plate with the game-winning run.

Quackenbush finished with a 22-4 record, struck out 334 hitters in 181 innings and was named to the New York State Class C first team. At the plate, she collected 38 hits and drove in 18 runs.

Hoosick Falls fell in the NYS Class C semifinals to Rhinebeck, but like Mechanicville, the Panthers should again be one of the favorites to win a Section II title in 2010.

Lansingburgh's Meg Volz is all laughs after being congratulated by Sarah Cipperly during a game in 2009. The Lady Knights didn't repeat as Colonial Council champions, but they wound up with a Section II Class A title after topping South Glens Falls in the championship game.

Senior pitcher Erin Glikes, who finished with the following stat line: 19-5, 0.66 ERA, 239 Ks (163 inn), batting average allowed .127, was the anchor of another solid Lansingburgh squad. The Lady Knights weren't as smooth in the field as they were in 2008, but they sure could hit the ball.

Head coach John Cipperly relied on a crew of dedicated assistants and volunteers and was named The Record's Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Jenna Servidone earned Suburban Council MVP honors and carried the Blue Devils to the NYS Class AA semifinals.

The Columbia High team also had a very notable season, escaping the Suburban Council and the tough Class AA bracket in the Section II tournament.

Servidone went 18-5 in the pitcher’s circle with a 0.89 ERA, striking out 175 in 156.2 innings. She also hit in the cleanup spot in Columbia’s order, driving in eight runs and connecting on 19 hits. Servidone was a second team Class AA All-State selection.

Sam Chevalier, the senior shortstop, also provided a ton of senior leadership for the Blue Devils.

My favorite part about this year's Columbia team was head coach Gary Holtz tuned down his intense football instincts and let his natural coaching abilities take over. His players loved playing for him and responded with clutch play throughout the postseason.

Softball just might be the most successful sport in Section II, in terms of teams from this area that continually advance deep into regional and state competition. With many of these players returning in 2010, it looks like the best is yet to come.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Schenectady can't cure Cancer, CBA nets Big 10 victory

Christian Brothers Academy junior Galal Cancer slashes his way to the rim as Schenectady defenders Jallah Tarver and Shadell Millinghaus (23) cling to him during Tuesday's Big 10 Conference game at CBA. The Brothers won, 79-57. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

Cancer scored 20 points and connected on a pair of crucial three-point plays in the fourth quarter that finished the Patriots' long-shot hopes of a comeback. CBA senior Kameron Ritter added 21 points and slammed home an emphatic dunk along the baseline with just under two minutes to play to seal the victory.

CBA head coach Dave Doemel can't believe his eyes during early action in Tuesday's game. Schenectady's fast-paced offense, run by a trio of Millinghaus brothers, jumped out to a 20-11 lead after one quarter.

The Brothers' defense finally began to clamp down on the Patriots' perimeter game in the second quarter as CBA flipped the momentum and outscored Schenectady 27-10 in the period.

Everyone on the CBA offense contributed as Ritter and Cancer drove to the rim, opening up shots on the outside for Josh Dennis, Max Weaver and Joe Krong, who all hit three-point field goals.

Senior center Jack Reilly made his mark in the second half, grabbing seven of his eight rebounds after halftime. Reilly scored 10 points and along with Weaver (12), Cancer (20) and Ritter (21) was one of four CBA players to crack double digits.

Kameron Ritter (33) negotiates the baseline as Schenectady's Shadell Millinghaus defends during Tuesday's game.

Fouls were a major part of the game. Schenectady was called for 17 infractions to CBA's 12. Shadell Millinghaus picked up his third foul with 4:51 to play in the second quarter and was stuck to the bench for a while. He picked up his fourth 1:09 to play in the third quarter and his absence from the floor meant the Patriots could never find a second option to Derrick Millinghaus' scoring, allowing the Brothers to focus their energies mostly on the Schenectady senior.

Josh Williams was also in foul trouble and the Patriots never found much help off the bench late in the game.

Siena College head coach Fran McCaffery was among the many local basketball luminaries in the Ned McGraw Gymnasium and he is rumored to be taking looks at Derrick Millinghaus when he gets the chance. The Saints host Rider Wednesday night in a key MAAC contest.

CBA's Max Weaver drives to the basket. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Don't count out Schenectady just yet. The Patriots can run up and down the floor with such speed that Doemel used six players in practice to simulate it, but even he felt his players underestimated Schenectady's skill in the first quarter.

CBA did a good job of finding the other players on the floor for points here and there. Reilly, Weaver and Dennis weren't often holding on to the ball, but they helped score the points that kept the CBA rallies going.

If anyone on the Schenectady team can emerge as a consistent dual threat alongside Derrick Millinghaus on the offensive end, the Patriots will be hard to beat in a sectional playoff atmosphere, even if they essentially play a five-guard game. If and when Reece Jackson returns from his injury, the Patriots will be much improved underneath.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 8 - Troy High football posts five straight shutouts

This was a common sight for offenses facing Troy's defense during the early stages of the 2009 season. The Flying Horses posted five consecutive shutouts and stretched that streak for 24 straight quarters. Kyle Geraci (44), Stephaun Grinage (31) and Dorrel Williams (17) make the tackle against an Amsterdam running back in the above picture.

One of the most intriguing high school football mid-season storylines was the Troy High defense posting five consecutive shutouts.

The Flying Horses allowed a touchdown to Queensbury in the first quarter of their first game and didn't allow another point until the second quarter of Week 7. It was an amazing accomplishment, of course, for the starting defense, but let's consider a number of other factors that made this remarkable.

First, the Troy offense was also very proficient, meaning the Troy coaching staff often pulled the starters in the third and fourth quarters. So, the second and third team defenses were also getting the job done.

Second, it only takes a block here and a block there for a kickoff or punt returner to squeeze his way past the kicking team into the end zone. And with all of the points the Flying Horses scored during the streak - 310, to be exact - that is a whole lot of kickoffs that have to be defended.

Third, the offense never created a turnover that led into points. An interception returned for a touchdown is rare, but even a fumble deep in their own territory could have doomed the Flying Horses. And for five straight weeks, they never let a single mistake like that to happen.

From left to right, linebacker Kyle Geraci, and defensive linemen David Jabour and Dorrel Williams were crucial to the success of the Troy defense.

To be fair, the Flying Horses were not facing the toughest part of their schedule during the shutout run.

Sept. 12, TROY 50, Amsterdam 0
Sept. 18, Troy 67, SCOTIA-GLENVILLE 0
Sept. 26, TROY 53, Mohonasen 0
Oct. 3, TROY 54, Averill Park 0
Oct. 9, Troy 49, BISHOP MAGINN 0

(Home team in CAPS)

The final combined record of those teams? 10-32.

Still, to not allow a single point over a five week stretch is an incredible accomplishment when you think of all the little ways a football team can make a mistake that results in the other team scoring points. Credit Troy head coach Jack Burger (pictured below) and defensive coordinator Bob Burns for having their team prepared for everything every single week.

Another midseason story that deserves mention is the Cardiac Cats comebacks at Cohoes.

Four times on their home Alumni Field, the Cohoes Tigers rallied from a deficit to post victories.

Anthony Fogarty (pictured below) scored 1.2 seconds before halftime and added two more scores in the second half as the Tigers rallied from a 14-0 deficit to topple the Indians.

Perhaps the wildest of the Tigers' victories, Cohoes scored with 1:22 remaining but failed to convert a two-point try and trailed 22-20.
Josh LeMay's onside kickoff worked and Josh Floeser hit Darnell Rafalko on a 50-yard pass with 46 seconds to play with lift Cohoes to the 26-22 victory.

Oct. 8
Cohoes 33, Albany Academy 26 (OT)

It was a battle for second place in the Reinfurt Division, but Fogarty played big in the clutch yet again. He scored the eventual game-winning touchdown in overtime but needed to sack Albany Academy quarterback Hunter McCarthy on the Cadets' ensuing possession to seal the deal.

Defense led the way in this comeback, which came in the quarterfinals of the Section II Class B playoffs. Tommy Durrant returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, Josh LeMay returned an interception for a score - the first interception of his career - and Fogarty rushed for three scores as the Tigers clawed their way back from a 14-point deficit to advance to the Class B semifinals for the second consecutive season.

The Flying Horses were a steamroller and the Tigers were a rollercoaster, but either way, local football fans were guaranteed to see something special any time either team took the field in 2009.

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Dennis the menace: CBA senior does all the little things for the Brothers

Christian Brothers Academy hosts Schenectady Tuesday night in a battle for the top spot in the Big 10 Conference.
Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. and tickets will go on sale to the general public around 5:45 p.m. Seating is limited in the CBA gym, so tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis.

More on the matchup later in the post...

CBA junior Max Weaver (left) and Josh Dennis (right) pose for a picture in the school's Ned McGraw Gymnasium after Monday's practice. (Photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

Dennis has been an invaluable part of the CBA offense the last few years, even if he isn't the one scoring all the points. He plays shooting guard in the Brothers' guard-heavy scheme, but is often setting up players like senior forward Kameron Ritter and junior point guard Galal Cancer for shots.

Weaver has become the team's three-point specialist and also benefits from teams focusing on Ritter and Cancer.

Max Weaver shows off his dribbling skills on top of the CBA logo after Monday's practice.

The Brothers return many players from their 2008-09 Section II Class AA championship team, but they miss Andrew Stire, who at 6-foot-8, was the anchor of the Brothers defense. Now, without a true center, the Brothers have had to adapt to a more focused and responsible defensive scheme.

A year ago, the CBA guards could afford to play more aggressive around the perimeter, knowing Stire was behind them to make a stop or grab a rebound. This year, the Brothers have had to play more cleanly on the defensive end.

"The good thing about our team is that nobody cares who the leader is," Weaver said. "Nobody has to be the high scorer. If there is a weak link on the other team, everybody can take advantage of that. It doesn’t have to be one person."

Josh Dennis practices his jump shot during Monday's practice. He's only scored 15 points through five games but is a vital key to the Brothers offense, setting up shots for other players.

"I was talking to him after last game," said CBA head coach Dave Doemel. "I said, with Galal and Kameron going to the basket like they do, if you just are patient and put yourself in the right position, you can cash in on teams trying to defend them. Because both of those guys are unselfish, they’ll find JD."

CBA (5-0, 5-0) plays host to Schenectady (4-0, 4-0) tonight in what promises to be a run-and-gun offensive battle both ways. Derrick, Shadell and Devonte Millinghaus - Schenectady's brother trio - love to run the floor like crazy, as does anyone Schenectady head coach Mark Sausville puts on the floor.

"I think it’s going to be a fun game," Dennis said. "It will be a quick game, very fast-paced."

It will definitely be loud in the cozy McGraw gymnasium and however it plays out, will likely go a long way in determining the 2009-10 Big 10 Conference champion. At least it will give us an idea of who is the best team at this stage in the season.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Toga cashes in on LSI mistakes; Wildcats defense romps

La Salle's Nolan Crowley was called for a hold here on Saratoga Springs' Tristan Sperry. The Blue Streaks scored the second power play goal of the game on the ensuing man advantage. (Hockey photos by Jeff Couch - The Record).

Saratoga Springs converted on four of its first six power play opportunities, romping to a 5-2 victory over the Cadets at Conway Ice Arena at Hudson Valley Community College.

La Salle pulled starting goalie Cody Johnson just 6:25 into the game after he had allowed two quick power play goals to the Blue Streaks. He had played great the night before in a 5-3 victory over South Glens Falls, La Salle's first win of the season.

La Salle's Joe Heffernan pins Saratoga Springs' Dan Going to the boards during Saturday's game. The Cadets committed 13 penalties in the 5-2 defeat.

La Salle played pretty well in five-on-five situations, but the penalties led to power plays and the Saratoga goal scorers quickly pounced on those opportunities. La Salle's second goalie, Brett Bernardo, played well, making 24 saves in the second period alone. He did his best to keep La Salle in the game, but too many trips to the sin bin sunk the Cadets Saturday night.

La Salle travels to the Albany County facility behind the airport on Saturday, Dec. 26 to take on CBA.

Check out Sunday's version of The Record or The Saratogian for more on this game.

Maple Hill senior center Sean Danaher is surrounded by a swarm of Cairo-Durham defenders. The Wildcats defended even better, posting a 50-34 victory over the Mustangs. (Basketball photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Danaher anchored the Wildcats' 2-3 zone and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He was the only Maple Hill player to finish in double-digit points.

Maple Hill senior point guard Dominic Prinzo looks to passing room during Saturday's game. Prinzo sparked a 15-0 Maple Hill run to close out the first quarter.

Prinzo has emerged as a starter in the backcourt this season with the graduation of Jaime Schultz and Trent Tibbitts, who led the Wildcats to the New York State Class C championship game a season ago. Prinzo admitted his AAU experience and growing a few inches have helped him feel much more confident this year.

David Briggs, above, and Chris Despart, below, scored eight points apiece for Maple Hill. Big-impact players on the wing a season ago, Briggs and Despart are up to their old tricks again, filling the stat sheets with rebounds, assists and steals while creating opportunities for others.

This Maple Hill team is going to be very fun to watch in 2009-10, just like they were in 2008-09. I don't think they'll wind up scoring as many points - they miss Schultz and Tibbitts in this regard - but they're relying more on defense and sound fundamentals. They allowed just one field goal to Cairo in the third quarter and their aggressive zone defense clinically took apart anything the Mustangs tried to do. In essence, the Wildcats dominated all aspects of the game in what had to be a very satisfying victory for them.

They play two more games before Christmas - making that four games in six days. A big Patroon Conference clash with Rensselaer awaits in early January.

Check out the full story in Sunday's edition of The Record.

Coming next week, plenty of coverage of Tuesday's Big 10 Conference clash for first place between Schenectady and Christian Brothers Academy. We'll also be covering a big Colonial Council girls basketball game on Tuesday night when Watervliet invades Cohoes as both teams look to keep pace with Holy Names, Voorheesville and the Albany Academy for Girls.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Averill Park tops Shen; La Salle outlasts CCHS

Shenendehowa's Emily Weber attempts a shot over Averill Park's Michela Ottati (3) during Friday's Suburban Council game at Shenendehowa. Ottati returned from an injury in the second quarter and connected on four three-point baskets, leading the Warriors to an elusive 45-36 victory over the Lady Plainsmen. (All photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

Averill Park is well-regarded for its offensive firepower, but they proved on Friday night that they also have the defense to get it done.

The Warriors completely shut down Shen for five points in the third quarter and they never let the Lady Plainsmen get comfortable on the offensive end. No Shen player finished in double-figure scoring.

Ottati and Katie Duma led the way on the other end with 12 points apiece.

Make sure to check out Saturday's edition of The Record for more on Ottati's injury scare in the second quarter and how that rallied the Warriors.

Averill Park's Amanda Fitzgerald guard Shenendehowa's Roz Alexander during Friday's game. The Lady Warriors saw 10 players get significant minutes on the floor in a effort to confuse the Lady Plainsmen with a number of different fronts and schemes.

Averill Park forwards Katie Hawes, Bridget Carney and Molly Streb smile for the camera during practice at APHS on Thursday.

For more on the players who are getting the job done underneath, make sure to check out this story that appeared in The Record on Friday.

Molly Streb looks to make a pass during practice on Thursday. She didn't score any points Friday night, but added three rebounds, two assists and a block and a steal off the bench.

It was an important victory for the Averill Park program, because it was the first time this group of seniors had ever beaten their counterparts from Clifton Park. We all knew they had the offense, but they proved their defense is seriously up to the task, shutting down the No. 3 ranked Class AA team in the state.

--Meanwhile, in the Collar City, Troy's two private schools met in a twice-annual encounter on the hardcourt. La Salle's Marquis Campbell, seen here driving the ball, finished with seven points. The Cadets, who had lost two games narrowly to start the season, posted a 44-41 victory over the Crusaders at Monsignor Burns Gymnasium.

Catholic Central's Mike McFerrin looks for room during Friday's game against La Salle. During the Thanksgiving weekend, he was named to the Catholic Central season-opening All-Tournament team. He did not score any points Friday night.

Our Ryan Kircher was at the game and you can read his story all about how the Cadets haven't given up hope on the season yet in Saturday's edition of The Record.

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Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 9 - 'Burgh baseball wins Colonial title

The La Salle Institute baseball team had been the best team in the Collar City for quite a few years, but both Lansingburgh and Troy High seriously challenged the Cadets for that honor in 2009.

The Knights won a Colonial Council title, posting a 15-1 league record, thanks to ace pitchers Jordan Zareski (pictured above) and first-year varsity hurler T.J. McLaughlin (pictured below - credit to J.S. Carras for both images).

Under first-year varsity head coach Joe Henkel, who of course, as long-time head of the Lansingburgh Royals was no stranger to organized baseball, the Knights were a fun bunch to watch. Frank Castiglione set the tone as the lead-off man and sluggers like Mark Tracey and Ryan McGrath drove in plenty of runs.

The Knights earned the No. 1 seed in the Section II Class A tournament and a home game against No. 8 Mohonasen, which earned a spot in the postseason really just to round out the field.

Mohonasen's senior Siena College-bound Robert Tedesco pitched the first of his two memorable performances of 2009 on the Lansingburgh High School Field. (More on Tedesco's sequel in a later post in this series).

Tedesco allowed nine hits – six were infield singles – and struck out 14 in his complete game gem, a 4-2 victory for the Mighty Warriors. Mohonasen, which entered postseason play with a 7-13 record, wound up winning the Section II Class A championship.

It was a great game to watch and was a bittersweet ending to the season for Lansingburgh.

On the south side of town, La Salle finished one game out of the Big 10 Conference lead, trailing co-champions CBA and Albany High.

When the Cadets clashed with Shaker in the opening round of the Section II Class AA tournament, it wound up being perhaps the game of the year.

Shaker's Brian Cary threw 121 pitches in a nine inning duel with La Salle, and the Suburban Council No. 6 Blue Bison prevailed with a 2-1 triumph over Big 10 No. 3 La Salle at Geer Field.

La Salle senior starter Kyle Charron (pictured above) also went the distance, throwing 126 pitches, striking out seven and adding three hits at the plate.

Columbia wound up winning the Section II Class AA title and advanced to the New York State Final Four in Binghamton. More on the Blue Devils later when I get to their neighbors from the south - Maple Hill.

Troy High's team had an up-and-down 2009 campaign, but boy, were the Flying Horses fun to watch.

They beat CBA and La Salle during the regular season and won the Uncle Sam Baseball tournament at Knickerbacker Park in Lansingburgh. The 'Troy Tough' Flying Horses rallied from a three-run deficit to beat Lansingburgh in the semis and then roughed up La Salle lefties Zach Ferris and Dave Roseboom for 12 runs on 13 hits in the championship game.

They also played an epic game against Catholic Central on May 20th and here was what made the local roundup the next day:

Troy 24, Catholic Central 23: The Flying Horses no-hit Catholic Central in their first meeting this season, but the Crusaders came out swinging in the rematch.

The teams combined for 47 runs, 33 hits and eight errors in a wacky Big 10 Conference victory for Troy High (9-6, 11-7).

Chewy Dwyer scored six runs, hit three singles and added a double and a triple for the Flying Horses. Anibal Maldonado added a grand slam and five RBI. Ryan Clements tripled, singled three times and drove in three runs.

Bradley Adams doubled twice and drove in four runs for Catholic Central (1-14, 2-18) and Rory Sweeney doubled, added two singles and drove in two runs.

Steve Ziter and Jesse Twiss celebrate a moment during the 2009 regular season.

2010 should be a fun year for Troy as well, as long as hard-throwing righty Jesse Twiss in on the hill.

The Flying Horses were a really fun and really well-coached group of guys (well, they might run through a sign every now and again).

They were three teams with three abrupt endings to their seasons, but they provided baseball fans in the Collar City with plenty of entertainment in 2009.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Scholastic basketball polls from NYSSWA

The New York State Sportswriters Association has released its first set of boys and girls high school basketball polls.

Maple Hill, Watervliet, Shenendehowa and Voorheesville have both their boys and girls teams ranked.

Click here for the boys polls.

For the girls polls, click here.

Here is how the teams from Section II fared:
Class AA
12 - CBA
16 - Shenendehowa
20 - Albany Academy

Class A
18 - Scotia-Glenville

Class B
9 - Watervliet
13 - Fonda-Fultonville

Class C
1 - Voorheesville
8 - Hoosick Falls
11 - Maple Hill
13 - Rensselaer

Class D
5- Germantown
9 - Sharon Springs

Class AA
3- Shenendehowa
8 - Colonie

Class A
1 - Averill Park
6- Holy Names
19 - Mohonasen

Class B
11 - Watervliet

Class C
1 - Maple Hill
3 - Hoosic Valley
12 - Voorheesville

Class D
6 - Fort Edward
11 - Whitehall
12 - Germantown

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 10 - Troy and Tamarac volleyball teams win league titles

Over the course of the next two weeks, I will bring you The Record's top 10 youth sports stories from the Capital Region, counting down to No. 1.
(I did this last year as one big post - you can view the top 10 stories of 2008 by clicking here.)

Winning league titles has become second nature for the Troy High volleyball team, which made a second consecutive undefeated run through the Big 10 Conference in 2009.
For their neighbors to the east, a banner year was a big deal.

The Tamarac High team, guided by coach Judy Burton, pictured above, had never in school history won a league title. There is no volleyball banner in the Bengals gymnasium because there were no championship seasons to display.
Until 2009.

Junior Nancy Vickerson, pictured below, won her second straight Wasaren League MVP award. More importantly to the team, the Bengals finally captured the league title and they can put in an order for a banner.

(Tamarac photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

The postseason wasn't kind to the No. 3 seeded Bengals, who dropped an opening round contest at home to No. 14 Mechanicville. (Loudonville Christian defeated Voorheesville for the 2009 Class C Crown. Click here for 2009 Section II volleyball brackets).

Still, Burton is slowly building a program from the ground up, catching middle-school age players and turning them into year-round volleyball junkies. That is the kind of attitude that has built Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake into a perennial winner and with a banner to finally call their own, the Bengals will be aiming high in the fall of 2010.

First-year Troy High head coach Christine Danz tightens the nets prior to a practice this season. (Troy photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

The Flying Horses entered the 2009 season still riding the success of their magical 2008 campaign. A year ago, Troy ran undefeated through the Big 10 regular season and shocked Burnt Hills in the first game of the Section II Class A championship match. Burnt Hills rallied to win the Section II championship, but the Troy program had already made a name for itself.

And what did they do for an encore?

The Horses needed to replace Kristen Tully, Emily Jones and Shannon Jones - three crucial parts of the 2008 team.

Maddie Weaver, pictured below, stepped up to become the team's setter and the returning front line of Sylvia Sorriento, Rachel Martin and Bridget Haggerty had another great year, leading the Flying Horses to another perfect season in league play.

Troy dispatched Mohonasen in the first round of the Class A playoffs and missed a rematch with Burnt Hills after falling to Queensbury in the semifinals.

Will Rensselaer County continue its volleyball dominance in 2010? Only time will tell, but the Troy and Tamarac programs are certainly on the right track toward building winners year-in and year-out.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crusaders crumble in OT; 'Burgh boys top Cohoes

Catholic Central's Maria Foglia (left) and Alexi Howland (32) defend Albany's Kelsey Greene during the first half of Tuesday's Big 10 Conference game at Catholic Central. Greene would up scoring the game-winning basket with just seconds to play in overtime. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

It was a wild, back and forth game in the final minutes, a game waiting for a hero.

Albany's Maria Koutsakis connected on three-point goals from each side of the floor late in the fourth quarter, giving the Falcons a five-point lead.

Catholic Central's Taliah Pounds answered with a three-pointer of her own and Mikayla Deguire snared a rebound and the game-tying tip-in with 4.4 seconds left to force overtime.

Albany scored the first seven points of the extra frame, but Catholic Central's Maria Foglia scored seven points in the final minute of the period, giving the Crusaders a 61-60 advantage with just seconds to go.

Albany's Greene raced the length of the court, dropping in the game-winning bucket while getting fouled, just in the nick of time. Final score: Albany 63, CCHS 61.

Catholic Central point guard Jenna Huff looks to evade an Albany defender.

The Lady Crusaders never quite had a chance to put this game away in regulation, even though they led by eight points heading into the final quarter. Albany played into the Crusaders' size advantage in the first half, but the Falcons started to run and gun and use their speed and their conditioning to wear down CCHS and force them to make sloppy plays.

Both head coaches and all of the players certainly had a frustrating time, but from a fan's perspective, it was a thrilling back-and-forth contest.

Catholic Central's Hannah Kutny attempts a shot in the first half of Tuesday's game. Kutny completed a three-point play in overtime that started the Crusaders' late rally.

"It was a good game and I think it was a good game for us," Catholic Central head coach Audra DiBacco said. "It was a battle from beginning to end. You can’t ask for anything better on a Tuesday night. Unfortunately, we came out on the losing end."

Check out the full story in Wednesday's edition of The Record.


In boys action Tuesday night, Lansingburgh big man Tyler Hammett dominated in the paint, leading the Knights to a 69-52 victory over Cohoes.

Our Ryan Kircher was there and you can read his account of the game in Wednesday's edition of The Record.

For Tuesday's story on how Cohoes' Josh LeMay and Tom Maloney (pictured below) have used videotape of practice sessions to improve their game, click here.

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