In the week after spring sports was called off for 2020, some reminder of what got left behind emerged when All-State basketball teams were named. And that included, in girls Class AA, Cicero-North Syracuse star Jessica Cook as a first-team choice. Averaging more than 22 points per game and leading the Northstars to the Section III Class AA title as a junior, Cook has already surpassed 1,000 career points and has made a verbal commitment to the University of Toledo. West Genesee’s Catie Cunningham was a fifth-team selection, having helped the Wildcats to the state AA title game in her junior year as she is also heading to Division I college basketball, having announced that she will go to Maris College in Poughkeepsie.
By contrast, even the supernatural talents of J.J. Starling that helped carry the Baldwinsville boys basketball team to the Section III Class AA title game did not help him in terms of All-State selections. Starling was merely an eighth-team choice, which seemed like a snub given the way he won so many games for the Bees by himself, whether with big scoring surges or last-second baskets (twice doing so against Liverpool). It was the same with De’Jour Reaves, whose consistent season-long excellence got Corcoran to its first sectional title since 2000. Reaves, who averaged 26.7 points per game, was relegated to the All-State 11th team. There likely wasn’t 50 players in the state better than he was.
By contrast, girls basketball superstars in Section III were not snubbed by All-State selections. Two of them, in fact, were chosen to the second team. one was Brooke Jarvis, who in her senior year emerged as CBA’s all-time leading scorer and, more importantly, helped the Brothers break Jamesville-DeWitt’s near decade-long run as Section III Class A champions. Joining Jarvis on the All-State second team was New Hartford’s Kaia Henderson, who as a sophomore is already tops on the Spartans’ career scoring list. What’s more, Henderson has demonstrated her community spirit by starting a community challenge for basketball players that would raise money for Mohawk Valley’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The unlikely run that CBA’s boys basketball team took from a 1-4 start in December to a Section III Class A championsihp was very much a team effort, but some individual honors did come for the Brothers as Dan Anderson, just a sophomore but the team’s leading scorer, earned an All-State eighth-team spot. Though it didn’t provide any consolation after it lost to CBA in a pulsating sectional Class A final, Jamesville-DeWitt standout Payton Shumpert, who averaged 20.6 points per game, made the All-State fifth team. All-State recognizes 16 teams plus honorable mention, leaving room to put Syracuae Academy of Science’s Zacchaeus Smith on the 11th team and Bishop Grimes’ Jack Gutchess on the 13th team.
The highest honor achieved by any Section III basketball player when the All-State selections were announced was in girls Class B. South Jefferson’s super sophomore, Jackie Piddock, was named the Co-Player of the Year in the state with Horace Mann’s Ella Anthony. That only made sense since Piddock, averaging 25 points a game, willed the Spartans to a second consecutive sectional Class B championship and was poised for more before the pandemic shut everything down. Oneida’s Sydney Lusher was a first-team All-State choice and Cazenovia’s Lindsey Lawson was named to the second team, with Adirondack’s Belle Kranbuhl chosen to the fifth team and Marcellus’ Katie MacLachlan named to the seventh team.
If the All-State boys basketball Class B selections were to be believed, Lowville had four of the top 32 players in the state, which made sense, given that the Red Raiders repeated as sectional champions and were no. 1 in the state at the time it all stopped. Aidan Macaulay led the way as a first-team All-State choice and Chad Bach was right behind, earning his place on the second team. Aidan Zehr found his way to the seventh team and Gavin Macaulay was named to the eighth team. Westhill’s Zach Brown was a 10th team choice but it proved bittersweet as, late in April, Brown, a member of the 2017 state championship Warriors, lost his life in a car accident that saddened the entire Central New York hoops community.
Weedsport’s Suzie Nemec had quite a case to be a first-team All-State choice in Class C girls basketball after a season that included a 50-point game, two 40-point outings and an overall average of 25.7 points per game. Yet Nemec just missed that level, “settling” for second-team honors and joined by many other Section III stars. Piper Seamon, who led Cooperstown to another sectional title with a fine all-around game that included plenty of points and senior leadership, was a third-team All-State choice, joined by Sherburne-Earlville’s Tessa Cole, who averaged more than 23 points per game, and right behind her there was LaFayette’s Grace Dow, an All-State fourth-team choice.
Even though Weedsport’s boys basketball team broke a 40-year drought when it finally earned the Section III Class C championship in March and had Josh O’Connor earn a spot on the All-State fourth team, two Section III players received higher recognition. In fact, Herkimer’s Jordyn Lanaux, a phenomenal player who averaged nearly 31 points a game this winter, gained first-team All-State honors and John Kennedy, the unstoppable power forward for Cooperstown who was part of the Hawkeyes’ 2019 state Class C title team, was a second-team choice. There was also Utica Academy of Science’s Dekwan Grant on the All-State fifth team, plus Onondaga’s Logan Nordman and West Canada’s Andrew Soron on the sixth team.
We all saw how Brookfield’s girls basketball team delighted its entire community while making an undefeated run to the Section III Class D championship. It got noticed, too, as Beavers star Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott was named to the All-State first team and Madalyne Kupris gained a fifth-team selection. Having earned its own berth in the sectional finals, Copenhagen managed to place two players on the All-State honor roll, with Brooke Smykla making her way to the second team and Raegan Dalrymple joining Kupris on the fourth team. As if all that wasn’t enough for Section III boosters, Lyme junior Olivia Ososkalo capped off her fine season with a third-team All-state honors.
Lyme’s Isaiah Wilson was one of the few Section III boys basketball players to ever reach 2,000 career points. Having led Lyme to the sectional Class D final, Wilson capped his high-school career with first-team All-State honors, with teammate Kyle Gaumes a third-team choice and Faith Heritage’s Aidan Retzos a second-team choice after averaging better than 30 points a game. And no, the undefeated, dominant sectional Class D champions from DeRuyter were not snubbed, with Frankie Glisson named to the All-State third team and Benjamin Barnes making his way to the fourth team as Tristan Warlock garnered fifth-team honors, a further reflection of the Rockets’ remarkable depth that it showed all winter.