by Tom Pedulla –
The Hudson Independent examines the prospects of local schools for the varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball season.
Last year’s record: 17-6
Top returnees: Samantha Arone, Kayla Halverson, Julia Schwabe, Kristin Trezza.
Top newcomers: Taylor Broccoli, Talia Reith.
Key to success: Schwabe, who committed to Michigan to play lacrosse, needs to be a force inside. Strong team defense is a must.
Coach’s Quote: “We should be able to contend again if we play together and execute.” – Stephanie Mills
Last year’s record: 19-5
Top returnees: Jenny Canoni, Sofia Graziano, Annabel Ives, Shira Meer, Isabella Monteleone, Sophia Petriello, Dylan Wade.
Top newcomers: Ashley Currie, Ashley Morgner, Phoebe Naughton, Lotte Steinert, Julia Thomson.
Key to success: With Graziano as the lone returning starter, Hackley must work to develop a cohesive starting five. Petriello, a starter late last season as an eighth grader, can provide an offensive spark.
Coach’s Quote: “I’m always optimistic. If we can finish in the top two or three (in the Ivy League), that would be great.” – Margaret Scarcella
Last year’s record: 29-1 (defending New York State champions)
Top returnees: Aine Cleary, Abigail Conklin, Kate Hanna, Katie LeBuhn, Nikki May, Grace Thybulle.
Top newcomers: Claire Friedlander, Amanda Raimondo.
Key to success: Striking a balance between inside and outside scoring while playing sound on the defensive end.
Coach’s Quote: “We are building a new team. We would like to win our tournament in December. We would like to do well in our league. We want to be a better, more cohesive team by the end of the season.” – Gina Maher
Last year’s record: 17-6
Top returnees: Dakota Daniello, Allie Koziarz, Noemia Massingue, Gwenn Sabato, Brooke Tatarian.
Top newcomers: Anna Castillo.
Key to success: With a critical lack of depth, it is vital that Masters stay out of foul trouble and remain healthy.
Coach’s Quote: “We do have high goals, but we’re going to have to figure out how to get this done so short-handed. So, it’s best we focus on taking it one day at a time.” – Nick Volchok
Last year’s record: 4-16
Top returnees: Emma Briante, Emma Clarke, Adriana Davis-Sumpter, Isabella Meyer, Jennifer Stewart.
Top newcomers: Elle Bertolacci, Alexa Charles, Maddy Fortugno.
Key to success: Players must embrace the fresh start marked by the arrival of first-year coach Tony Pignataro and develop a positive mindset to create a culture of winning.
Coach’s Quote: “They are willing to do the work. Our practices are harder than games. They’re going to be fine.” – Tony Pignataro
Last year’s record: 21-5
Top returnees: Luke Distefano, Peter Geratz, Lester McCarthy, Ryan McHugh, Thomas Ritch, Chase Rowland.
Top newcomers: James McGovern, Sebastien Orlowski, Ryan Ritch.
Key to success: The Eagles’ ability to compensate for heavy graduation losses will go a long way toward determining how well they defend their first sectional title in 52 years.
Coach’s Quote: “We have the pieces. The thing that needs to happen is for us to figure out how to put those pieces together and find out what the puzzle looks like. It could be something very interesting.” – Scott Patrillo
Last year’s record: 3-16
Top returnees: Andrew Abrons, Austin Benedetto, James Sexton-Holtmeier, Enzi Teacher, Matt Wiele.
Top newcomers: Ben Kirsch, Charlie Lee.
Key to success: Second-year coach Zach Kuba will look to his seniors to step up and reverse the fortunes of a struggling program.
Coach’s Quote: “We want to be in the top half of the Ivy League and make the playoffs. We think it’s possible.” –Zach Kuba
Last year’s record: 14-8
Top returnees: Michael Brennen, Ronan Cypher, Josh Hunt, James Rhodes, Brant Steinberg, Wyatt Triestman.
Top newcomers: Andrew Brereton, Kyvon Green, Edward Hanlon, Liam Pakola.
Key to success: First-year coach Keith Gelardi has plenty of depth and will not hesitate to go to the bench. Opponents will likely struggle to match the quality of the Bulldogs’ reserves.
Coach’s Quote: “We have enough pieces to accomplish pretty much anything. We should compete for the league title. We can compete for a Gold Ball. Pretty much everything is on the table.” – Keith Gelardi
Last year’s record: 8-13
Top returnees: Dillon Graham, Tim Mathas, Allen Ming, Mike VanDemark.
Top newcomers: Chris Gatty, Stephon Marbury II.
Key to success: Masters must overcome lack of size and experience with hustle and the ability to push the ball whenever possible under first-year coach Keydren Clark.
Coach’s Quote: “My goal is to have a winning season, but it’s going to be a process. I see this as a transition year.” – Keydren Clark
Last year’s record: 6-15
Top returnees: Kishaun Cole, Ben Good, Josh Kearse, Zach Rudder, Pat Smith.
Top newcomers: Julian Asante, Todd Smith, Kevin Sullivan.
Key to success: Sleepy Hollow will look to use its speed to compensate for lack of size, forcing opponents to switch to smaller lineups.
Coach’s Quote: “It’s a big difference from in the past. From Day One, these guys know the expectations and what we’re trying to do as a program and we can get right into it.” – Chris Starace