CARS HOMES JOBS

Falcons like to save best for last in WAC

Friday, November 28, 2008
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Last season, Northville was the feel-good team in the Western Athletic Conference.

Despite posting a 7-5 record in the league, the Falcons got on a run in the Section II tournament, and won their first Class D championship in 46 years.

The Falcons will take their lumps again in the league — that’s what happens when Class D teams play in a league that includes teams from Class B — so second-year coach Ryan Gander, himself a Northville graduate, always looks ahead to the postseason.

“We made a good run last year. and I’ve got four of my top six players back,” said Gander. “We’ve got a good core back, with a lot of experience.”

That group includes senior guard Jordan Williams, junior forward Mike Van Nostrand and senior forward/center Matt Blowers.

“Last year, we had a lot of guys plug in six, eight points a game, and we’ll have the same mentality this year,” said Gander.

Northville plays in the WAC North, where Fonda-Fultonville should be the top dog. The Braves were 11-1 in the league and 20-3 overall last year, losing to Hoosic Valley in the Class B semifinals, and this year’s team is loaded.

“Last year, we were 20-3 and we may not match that, but I’m not worried about the record,” said Braves coach Eric Wilson. “I think we can be a better team, overall, this year.”

Senior guard Kevin Hanson, who averaged 18 points per game last year, is back, along with junior point guard Tyler Hall and 6-foot-2 senior Josh Nethaway.

Saratoga Central Catholic, which was also 11-1 in the North last year and also had its season ended by Hoosic Valley, in the Class B quarterfinals, lost both Ryan Knotek and Pat O’Rourke to graduation, but the cupboard isn’t bare for new coach Ken Mantia.

Senior Kevin O’Rourke will move from the wing to point guard, and seniors Tucker Carlson and Dan O’Rourke are also back.

St. Johnsville, which lost to Northville in the Class D championship game, was hit hard by graduation, as was Fort Plain.

Although the South should be very competitive, Schenectady Christian appears to be the team to beat. The Falcons were 11-1 in the league last year, and will be led by point guard Kelsey Collins.

“Kelsey had a three-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio in his career, but his role will change a bit this year,” said Falcons coach Chad Bowman. “He’s really been a distributor in the past, but we’ll ask him to score a little more this year.”

Canajoharie took its lumps last year, but this could by payback time for the Cougars. Junior Payton Stahler, who averaged nearly 16 points per game last year, will lead the attack, which also features junior Dan O’Neil and 6-4 senior Steve Moshier.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo also went 11-1 in the South last season and has one of the area’s top players in

senior point guard David Sikule, a first-team all-star last season who averaged 15.6 points per game.

Duanesburg has a senior-laden lineup and returns three starters — Zach Edwards, Chris Gaidusek and captain Kyle Boyd. That type of experience will keep the Eagles in the hunt.

Both Sharon Springs and Schoharie are very young, but Middleburgh could have five seniors in its starting lineup.

BERNE-KNOX-WESTERLO

Coach: Andy Wright.

Last year’s record: 11-1 WAC, 14-7 overall.

Top returning players: David Sikule,

senior, guard; Ryan LaBelle, junior, forward; Justin Coon, senior, forward.

CANAJOHARIE

Coach: Rick Palumbo.

Last year’s record: 5-7, 8-13.

Top returning players: Payton Stahler, junior, forward; Dane O’Neil, junior, forward; Anthony Taylor, junior, guard; Adam Jlock, senior, forward; Zach Weaver, senior, forward; Steve Moshier, senior, forward.

DUANESBURG

Coach: John Johnson.

Last year’s record: 6-5, 10-10.

Top returning players: Zack Edwards, senior; Chris Gaidusek, senior; Kyle Boyd, senior.

FONDA-FULTONVILLE

Coach: Eric Wilson.

Last year’s record: 11-1, 20-3.

Top returning players: Kevin Hanson, senior, guard; Tyler Hall, junior, guard; Josh Nethaway, senior, forward.

FORT PLAIN

Coach: Craig Phillips.

Last year’s record: 6-6, 14-8.

Top returning players: Justin Smith, senior, guard; Chris Gattman, senior, center; Ryan Kane, senior, guard; John Larrabee, senior, forward; John Resch, senior, guard.

GALWAY

Coach: Curt Redman.

Last year’s record: 0-12, 3-17.

Top returning players: Todd Cowper, senior, guard; Chris Ferguson, senior, forward; Jim Kerwin, senior, forward; Steven Wilday, senior, guard.

MAYFIELD

Coach: Pete Updyke.

Last year’s record: 2-10, 3-17.

Top returning players: Chris Toscano, senior, guard; Brendan Hennessy, senior, forward; D.J. Hoagboon, senior, guard.

MIDDLEBURGH

Coach: Gregg Johns.

Last year’s record: 2-9, 3-17.

Top returning players: Bruce Batels, senior, center; Kyle Roney, senior, guard; Adam Hoerz, senior, guard; Charles Crook, senior, forward; Derek Ostrander, senior, guard/forward.

NORTHVILLE

Coach: Ryan Gander.

Last year’s record: 7-5, 16-9 overall.

Top returning players: John Briggs, sophomore, guard; Matt Blowers, senior, forward/center; Mike Van Nostrand, junior, forward; Joran Williams, senior, guard.

SARATOGA CENTRAL CATHOLIC

Coach: Ken Mantia.

Last year’s record: 11-1, 16-6.

Top returning players: Tucker Carlson, senior, guard; Kevin O’Rourke, senior, guard; Dan O’Rourke, senior, forward.

SCHENECTADY CHRISTIAN

Coach: Chad Bowman.

Last year’s record: 11-1, 19-3.

Top returning players: Kelsey Collins, senior, guard; Steve Brundage, senior, guard; Chris McCarty, junior, forward; R.J. Gallup, senior, guard/forward.

SCHOHARIE

Coach: Shane Barton.

Last year’s record: 6-6, 10-11.

Top returning players: Ben Schaefer,

senior, guard; Pat Miller, senior, guard; Cam Bullis, senior, forward.

SHARON SPRINGS

Coach: Chris Smith.

Last year’s record: 0-12, 4-18.

Top returning players: Michael Schilbe, senior, guard; Andrew Singer, senior, forward; John Judd, senior, guard.

ST. JOHNSVILLE

Coach: Dustin Cool.

Last year’s record: 5-7, 14-9.

Top returning players: Jared Sczesniak, senior, forward; Jackson Smith, junior, forward; Scotty Jaikin, junior, guard.

 
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