Thursday, January 14, 2010

In with the new and, well, the old are still around; Tamarac wrestling wins Wasaren

Hoosick Falls senior forward Kevin McMahon (left) is passing the torch this season to sophomore point guard Alex Lilac (right). The Panthers travel to Granville Friday night for a crucial Wasaren League contest. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

The Hoosick Falls boys basketball team, of course, is leaning on senior forward Kevin McMahon, the reigning Wasaren League MVP. McMahon also owns schools records in blocks. All of them. Game, single season and career, McMahon is a once-in-a-lifetime defender for Hoosick Falls and a 6-foot-6 he's got an unstoppable inside-outside offensive game as well.

Mike Brewster and Hutton Rasmus also add veteran experience for Hoosick Falls, but the Panthers, defending Wasaren League champions, are really relying on a trio of sophomores.

Tanner Williams, John Hayden and Alex Lilac, son of head coach Mike Lilac Jr., have all shone so far on the court, leading the Panthers to a 6-0 record in Wasaren League games. Hoosick Falls travels to Granville Friday night for a big-time matchup with the 6-1 Golden Horde at 7:30 p.m.

Alex Lilac works on his defense during a drill in practice Thursday afternoon at Hoosick Falls High School.

Lilac has handled the bulk of the offensive duties for the Panthers this year - he's a distributor and a three-point threat.

Tanner Williams, who made an impact in the secondary for the Panthers' football team in 2009, is Hoosick Falls' designated defender, drawing the opponent's top guard every game. He'll have his hands full with Granville's Connor Hoagland tonight, who scores over 10 points a game - an exorbitant amount in the Wasaren League.

Senior forward Kevin McMahon catches a pass in practice Thursday afternoon at Hoosick Falls.

For more on the Panthers, check out Friday's edition of The Record.

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Nick Knauer was the hero for the Tamarac High School wrestling team Thursday night, winning a 7-2 decision in the final match of Tamarac's contest against Granville. The Bengals were trailing by two points heading into Knauer's match, but wound up winning, 40-39.

It was the first Wasaren League regular season title in school history for Tamarac.

In other news, senior Jake Oswald reached win No. 106 Thursday night, drawing to within two victories of the Tamarac school record of 108, set by Joe Uccellini in 1998.

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It's a big step forward for the Tamarac High wrestling program, which like the girls volleyball program, will be hanging a new banner in the gym sometime soon. The volleyball team won its first league title this fall.

The Bengals have to give a good portion of the credit to head wrestling coach Erick Roadcap, who modestly called himself "a one-man show" when he phoned in the results Thursday night.

It takes a ton of work to be a wrestling coach, just take last weekend's Joe McCabe Invitational at Maple Hill for example. Coaches showed up Friday night for a seeding meeting and had to return with their teams for weigh-ins at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Matches continued all day and the finals did not start until after 7 p.m.

And then the bus ride home.

Watervliet girls basketball coach Gordie Johnson told me Monday afternoon how he and wrestling coach Dennis Lane see each other in the summer at the school and joke about the offseason.

Johnson said he cuts Lane some slack and ends practices a few minutes early the day of wrestling matches. Lane needs time to pull out the bleachers and lay down the mats and set up the scorers tables....and on and on it goes.

It's easy to envision the gym rat basketball player spending all their waking hours working on jump shots and foul shots, but plenty of wrestlers - and their coaches - are putting in just as much work, if not more, for far less attention. It's a sport based on dedication and discipline above all and the folks at Tamarac should be proud their wrestlers were the best in the Wasaren League this season - with plenty of things left to accomplish before the season is over.

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