Hammond Girls Make Annual Reload For New Season
BY DAVE SHEA
Last season Hammond Central was poised to make a run at a New York State Class D Girls Basketball Championship and were literally unstoppable after an early season loss when NAC West Co-MVP Avery Kenyon was sidelined by injury. But their highly touted hopes were stopped in their tracks along with the other regional finalists in the state tournament by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic's on-going reign of terror has taken heavy toll on Hammond Girls Athletics. It prevented the Lady Red Devils' undefeated girls soccer team from a state title run and has cancelled this season's basketball postseason and reduced the regular season to one month.
Hammond opens its season hosting Morristown on Tuesday and then travelling to Morristown on Friday. The Devils are also projected to play home and home games with Edwards-Knox, Hermon-DeKalb, Harrisville and possibly Gouverneur.
Several members of the current Red Devil basketball squad have had three state title shots thwarted by the virus but Coach Shawn Dack reports that his team is disappointed but undaunted and very grateful to be back playing.
"We are very grateful we have a chance to play and have a final run for these seniors and collective group...its not what we wanted...as we wanted to have the chance for a full schedule...playoff run...state run...and its unfortunate this group (whether in soccer or basketball) had their opportunity for history changed...beginning with last season cut short for State Play...and this year...for as a coach I KNOW what they are missing," said Coach Dack.
"And they know as we have always talked since grade school about state play...BUT I am always proud of Hammond and how they adapt and PLAY."
Despite the small season the Lady Devils will be undergoing another full scale reload led by Avery Kenyon who enters her senior season after averaging 21 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals as a junior where she shared NAC MVP Award with Kelsey Bennett who is now part of the SUNY Potsdam program which is presently in pause.
Kenyon and Bennett also earned all-state honors
Also returning from last years' 23-1 NAC are seniors in Second Team All-NAC West selection Hailey Cunningham, Jordan Kloepping and Caitlynn Cunningham, junior Alyvia Crosby, and sophomore Sadey Sprabary.
Moving up from strong JV team are: sophomores Hailee Manning, Brooklyn Arquitt and Zoey Cunningham, freshman Landree Kenyon, juniors Lily Towne, Hannah Belknap and Natalie Howe and eighth grader Ava Howie.
The JV players moved up for the Section 10 Tournament and made all indication that their transition to the varsity level would be smooth.
HAMMOND GIRLS BASKETBALL 2021
2 - Jordan Kloepping (senior) forward/guard
3 - Ava Howie (8th Grader) forward/guard
5 - Landree Kenyon (freshman) forward/guard
10 - Hailey Cunningham (senior) forward/guard
11 - Avery Kenyon (senior) forward/guard
12 - Zoey Cunningham (sophomore) guard/forward
13 - Caitlynn Cunningham (senior) guard
14 - Lily Towne - Junior forward
22 - Brooklyn Arquitt (sophomore) forward
23 - Alyvia Crosby (junior) forward/guard
25 - Sadey Sprabary (sophomore) center/forward
31 - Hailee Manning (sophomore) guard
32 - Hannah Belknap (junior) forward/guard
34 - Natalie Howie (junior) forward/center