Top Ten 3/28/20

1. In looking back at the top performers of the high school winter
sports season no “star” was bigger than a sophomore named Starling.
Baldwinsville boys basketball star J.J. Starling all but carried the
Bees to the Section III Class AA finals, averaging better than 28
points per game. His highlights were many, from big scoring surges in
wins over the likes of J-D and West Genesee to last-second shots that
twice beat Liverpool. And he did this while under the close watch of
many national college powers, Syracuse University included. After the
sectional finals loss to Corcoran, everyone wondered if Starling was
going to stay at B’ville for his remaining two years or increase his
visibility at a prep school.

2. Meanwhile, the team that won the Section III boys basketball Class
AA title, Corcoran, had a go-to guy of its own in De’Jour Reaves. The
numbers for Reaves were impressive enough as he averaged 26.7 points
per game, but what also stood out was his relative consistency and
ability to find a way to get points on the board, no matter what it
took. Reaves had some signature performances, too, whether it was the
47 points he dropped in a 101-86 win over Binghamton late in the
regular season or the 30 in a sectional semifinal win over Bishop
Ludden. But Reaves was glad to cede to his teammates when it was
really needed as the Cougars knocked off Baldwinsville for the first
time in 20 years.

3. When the CBA girls basketball team earned its first sectional title
since 2007 when it toppled J-D in the Class A title game, it had
Brooke Jarvis to thank for so much. Through her high school career,
Jarvis quietly put up great numbers, but burst into the spotlight as a
senior. First, Jarvis broke the school’s all-time scoring record held
by Leanne Ockenden. Then she kept on going, averaging nearly 20 points
per game and leading a core of four senior starters that would easily
power through two sectional playoff games and then, in the finals
against J-D, Jarvis had six key points in the fourth quarter and
played superb defense in the final minutes, finally putting an end to
the Red Rams’ eight-year run at the top.

4. After three years away from the top, the C-NS girls basketball team
climbed back to the top of Class AA when it knocked off top seed
Baldwinsville in the sectional finals. Most of the season, the
Northstars leaned on junior forward Jessica Cook, who constantly drew
double and triple teams, but still managed to put up big numbers.
Overall, Cook averaged 20 points per game, but sometimes those numbers
were much higher, including 38 points and 16 rebounds in a romp over
Liverpool in January and 36 points that were all needed to beat West
Genesee in February. Cook fittingly closed out B’ville in the
sectional final, too, netting 12 of her 20 points in the fourth
quarter to thwart any Bees comeback.

5. Yet no individual girls basketball player in Section III proved as
wondrous as Weedsport’s Suzie Nemec. True, the Warriors lost to
Cooperstown in the sectional Class C final, but before that Nemec put
together a tremendous season. Overall, Nemec averaged better than 25
points a game, but sometimes she did a whole lot better. In
particular, Nemec ruled the month of January, where in a matter of
weeks she (1) scored 43 points and had 13 rebounds in a 66-57 win over
Little Falls, (2) netted 41 points to carry her team past Port Byron
56-48, and (3) peaked with 50 points against Cato-Meridian. Only a
junior, Nemec could put up more outrageous numbers in 2020-21 as she
tries again to bring a title to Weedsport.

6. While earning a 22-0-1 record in defense of its 2019 state Division
I title, the Skaneateles ice hockey team put up some tremendous
numbers. And many of them were put up by the Lakers’ top scoring line
of Garrett Krieger, Charlie Russell and Charlie Major. Combined, the
trio had 127 points, with Krieger getting 21 goals and 44 points,
Russell posting 15 goals and 27 assists and Major also getting 27
assists to go with 14 goals. As if all this wasn’t enough, Cole Heintz
matched Krieger’s total of 21 goals. No wonder the Lakers beat
everyone except Auburn, who tied them 1-1 in December but then lost to
them 10-0 when the teams met again in January, though COVID-19
prevented a chance to repeat as state champions.

7. Just one Section III indoor track and field athlete emerged as a
state champion – Henninger’s Kwamere White, who was victorious in the
boys high jump. All season long, White topped the state rankings in
this event, but that didn’t guarantee anything once the March 7 state
meet at Staten Island’s Ocean Breeze complex began. It ultimately came
down to four athletes who all cleared 6 feet 6 inches, including
White, but he did so with fewer misses than Gates-Chili’s Calvin
Finger, Westhampton Beach’s Jack Meigel and Archbishop Stepanic’s
Nazir Hibbert. Though attempts at clearing 6’7″ and 6’8″ did not work
out, White still brought home to Henninger the state championship gold
medal.

8. Section III’s girls indoor track and field season included a
victory by the sectional team in the distance medley relay. On her
own, though, Tully’s sensational junior Brooke Rauber, already a
four-time state Class D cross country champion, made the biggest noise
during the winter. First, Rauber went to San Diego and won the USA
Track and Field long course cross country race, and with that as a
baseline, Rauber qualified for the February 29 Pan Am cross country
race in British Columbia. Over a 6,000-meter course, Rauber stayed
with the leaders most of the race and pulled away in the last 1,000 to
win the gold medal, an international title to add to the many she has
already earned statewide.

9. In a boys swimming season dominated by Liverpool on the team side,
two other individuals made the biggest noise at the state
championships. Watertown long-time veteran Nate Carlos steadily worked
all season to peak at the March 7 state meet on Long Island, where he
ultimately tore to a time of 46.06 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle
to finish second among NYSPHSAA swimmers and third overall. Meanwhile,
Baldwinsville’s Nick Schultz not only made his way to second place in
the 100-yard breaststroke, but did so while twice breaking Garrett
Clarke’s sectional record, ultimately settling on a time of 56.14
seconds to set a new mark that future swimmers will have a difficult
time matching.

10. Once more, Section III wrestlers capped a strong season by
bringing home a pair of state championships from the Feb. 28-29 meet
in Albany. In each case, they went undefeated. Dolgeville’s Jacob Null
went 47-0 this winter and, after taking the sectional title, went to
the state meet and won four more times, capped by his 7-3 decision
over Eden’s Giovanni Schiafino in the championship round. Meanwhile,
South Jefferson/Sandy Creek’s Tyler Mousaw earned his own bit of glory
by going 35-0 this season, and at the state meet pulled off two pins
and a technical fall before getting (fittingly) a 35-second pin over
Bolivar Richburg’s Hudson Evingham to produce a state championship.

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