Hammond Girls, Boys Seek Fast Hoop Starts
The Hammond Girls and Boys Basketball teams will both be looking for strong starts to their NAC West Basketball seasons as part of tournament action this week.
The Lady Devils will host a Heuvelton squad which stands at 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in the division on Wednesday and they face Lisbon in the first round of the Morristown Holiday Hustle Tournament on Friday. Sacketts Harbor will Morristown in the first round of the tournament which concludes on Saturday
The Hammond Boys visit Lisbon in their season and division opener on Friday in the first round of the Jim Darcy Memorial Tournament. Gouverneur will face Brushton-Moira in the other first round game of the tournament which concludes on Saturday.
Extending the solidarity the boys and girls teams showed in soccer, members of the basketball teams took part in the annual Hammond Turkey Shootout where elementary and high school students all won turkeys to bring home for a great Thanksgiving Dinner.
GIRLS LOOK TO FOLLOW SOCCER SUCCESS
Drawing upon a talent pool which produced an undefeated NAC West Girls Soccer title and a run to the New York State Final Four, the Hammond Central Girls will approach basketball with the same approach.
"Much like soccer, we aren't going to look ahead. We will just get better today, one day at a time. Coming off the Soccer final 4 I’d imagine they will be pumped to keep that momentum going," said Coach Shawn Dack who will once again be assisted by Chet Truskowski.
Leading the Devils into a new season are a pair of returning All-NAC selections in first-teamer Avery Kenyon and second teamer Kelsey Bennett and senior Kylie Vaugh who was honored with the team's Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.
All three returning starters are looking to the lead the Devils' quest to better last season's 8-4 NAC West record and a 14-8 season which ended into loss to eventual Final Four qualifier in Edwards-Knox.
"This group last year lost to EK in a great break fashion and we will look to build on that everyday. No matter where it leads us. Today is the most important day," said Coach Dack.
Four other juniors in Hailey Cunningham, Caitlyn Cunningham, Norah Pease and Jordan Kloepping were all vital cogs in the success and will look to play the same roles in basketball.
Sophomore Aylvia Crosby and Sadey Sprabary will be starting their first varsity season with outstanding JV credentials and Crosby also gained valuable experience as the goaltender on the soccer team.
The Lady Devils will play a strong nonleague schedule meeting Madrid-Waddington in the first round of OFA's Ben Cordwell Memorial Tournament, playing Brushton-Moira at SUNY Canton and playing Malone of the Central Division in a home and home series.
Edwards-Knox (12-0, 17-1) will be undergoing a rebuilding project under Coach Patty Taylor after two straight trips to New York State Final Four. Taylor looks to rebuild around the shooting of guard Abby Hart and the all-around play of Lucy Frary . Also returning from last year's team at Hailey Marthews, Decota Matthews and Rachel Vachez.
Rounding out the squad will be Clifton-Fine student-athletes Alicia Mathews, Kalyn Stroka who played on the boys JV team last year, Karina Benzel and Turkish exchange student Pelinsu Kara.
BOYS LOOK REACH POTENTIAL
Hammond (4-8, 5-14): Coach Kevin Toland feels that his team has the potential to better last year's 4-8 division record and 5-14 overall mark in the season ahead blending the talents of returning veterans and some good move-up talent from last year's JV squad..
"We have quickness, strength and when we are on we can shoot very well from the outside when we are on. We just to develop consistency" said Toland.
"We also have some guys who should play well in the post."
Senior Nate Jewett, a Second Team All-NAC selection last season, and junior Logan Tate can play inside and outside and a deep cast of returning players also features: junior point guard Randy Durham, junior guard Lukas McQueer, junior guard Brandon LaRock and senior center-forward Luke Lundy.
Other junior players are: guard Brent Raymond, guard Connor McRoberts and guard Matt Hodgdon. Two sophomore post players and in Kennon Gardner and Logan Jones are looking to develop on the varsity.
Hammond will not field a junior varsity team this season.