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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 24, 2005

Guilderland boys' basketball preview

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — There are new faces for the Guilderland boys’ basketball team this year.

Only a couple of players who garnered varsity experience last year return.

"We don’t have a lot of experience returning," Guilderland Coach Ron Osinski said. "Jimmy Googas has the most. He was our sixth and he’s what I would call a starter. He got significant, quality times. Matt Doherty got some time later in the year. In years past, we’ve had seniors that have been able to step in."

Googas and Doherty were elected the Dutchmen’s captains for this season. They are just two of five seniors on the team. Nick Zarrelli, Barry Kinlan, and Luke Pagano are the other seniors.

"We have some leadership in the senior class," Osinski said. "And Mark Domaracki was with us as a sophomore and got some experience and will be a key part of this team."

Domaracki is one of seven juniors. He is joined by Taylor Walden, Steve Doak, Andy Guilz, Uwana Okure, Jimmy Munsie, and Kevin Forbes. Brett Marfurt is the only sophomore on the team.

"Marfurt played on the junior varsity last year," Osinski said. "He’s a good player. He’ll see some significant time. He’s capable of playing all the guard positions and can guard taller guys and guard perimeter players."

Stressing defense

The Dutchmen will be small in the front court but big in the back court.

"Our guards will be big," Osinski said. "They’ll be 6’1", 6’2", and 6’3". We’ll have quickness. We just need to piece things together and play as a team. We don’t need to worry about who’s scoring but that we are scoring. Assists will be an important part."

As usual, Osinski is stressing defense, especially against some of the players the Dutch will face in the Suburban Council.

"We’re working hard on defense," Osinski said. "We’re working hard on doubling and defending bigger kids."

Osinski said that some of the pressure from the 2003-04 season carried over to last year’s team. They felt they had to defend their Suburban Council championship and sectional finalist spot.

"I think we played not to lose at times," Osinski said. "We don’t have as high expectations this year."

The coach said that his team has nothing to lose this year and can just come to play.

"I’m excited for the season," Osinski said. "The kids that are coming back are better than they were last year. The kids are committed to the game this season. I don’t think there is anything hanging over our heads."

The Dutchmen scrimmaged Schenectady High School on Saturday and will scrimmage Amsterdam and Christian Brothers Academy during the pre-season. Osinski will be better able to tell what he has this season after the Dutch play some outside competition.

"That’s what the scrimmages are about," Osinski said. "The juniors will be the key players. They’re a bit behind right now. They are worried about making mistakes and not just going out and playing. We’ll have three or four scrimmages and we want to get better through those."

New division

The Dutchmen have moved divisions within the Suburban Council. Guilderland will be in the Blue Division with the largest schools in the league — Shenendehowa, Shaker, and Saratoga. Colonie moved to the Gold Division.

"I don’t think that makes any difference," Osinski said. "Niskayuna and Bethlehem are tough teams. The whole league is tough. Every game will be difficult for us. There’s never an easy game. There are good coaches and good players in the league. And we have to play them all."

Guilderland opens the season on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Niskayuna Tip-Off Tournament. The Dutch will play Bishop Maginn and will play on Saturday in either the championship or consolation game.

"We’re just working on getting better," Osinski said last Friday. "We’ll use the Schenectady scrimmage to show us what we need to work on. Things might come easily in practice but they might not come easy tommorrow. We’ll work on passing and press breakers. We’ll shore up the rotation and work on who is capable of playing in what spots."

Guilderland girls' basketball preview

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ basketball team has made some changes this pre-season as it prepares to make another run at the Class AA championship.

The Lady Dutch lost five seniors from a team that played in the sectional championship game last year. One of them was Suburban Council all-star Jessica Edmonds who is playing at Siena College.

"We have two returning starters," said Guilderland Coach Frank Cacckello. "We lost five seniors, but I think that we’ll be a pretty good offensive team. We have some kids that can really put the ball in the basket."

Cacckello said he and Assistant Coach Jim Mazzone are implementing a new offense. Last year, Edmonds was the main focus of the offense, but this winter the Dutch will use a guard-oriented offense.

"A lot of our offense went through Jess Edmonds," Cacckello said. "This pre-season we’ve worked more on offense than defense, which we’ve not done before. They have picked it up pretty well."

The two returning starters are junior Kristin Pezze and senior Jessica Tice. Both are guards though Tice is 6 feet, 1 inch tall.

"Tice will be difficult to guard," Cacckello said. "With her, we have a weapon that can play inside and out. We can play in a swing position and she can help us out. She will make it difficult for teams to put a four [forward] on her."

Tice has been on the varsity for three years as has Pezze.

"Pezze can be in the top 10 in scoring in all of Section II," Cacckello said. "That is how good she is. She’ll also play a leadership role and she has a lot of versatility. She can play one of three positions for us."

Also returning is senior Rachel Rabbin who played some at the point-guard position last year. Jen Keefe is the only other senior on the team. She played some at forward last year and will contribute more this year.

Juniors Mary Kate O’Connell and Nicole Branchini also return. Both saw playing time last season and O’Connell will take over Edmonds’s position at center.

"Kristin is in her third year; she was up as a freshman," Cacckello said. "Rachel was on varsity and was a back-up guard. Tice is also in her third year on the varsity. Mary Kate did a great job backing up Edmonds. Niki Branchini is in her second season as is Jen Keefe. They are exceptional kids."


Newcomers to the team are juniors Tricia Loux, Megan Carroll, Corey Armstrong, Melanie Ostrowski, and sophomore Danielle Burns.

"With the newcomers, the biggest thing, and this is my experience," Cacckello said, "is that they need to do the little things. You don’t want to put too much pressure on them early. They can be a screener, and rebound, and defend. If the kids can fill those roles, great."

The Lady Dutch will face high expectations again this year. The Guilderland program has been one of the top in the Suburban Council for the past 10 years.

"Expectations come with being in the program," Cacckello said. "We’ve had tremendous success in the past decade. Any time you run a program, the one thing you fight for is tradition. It’s the one thing we have every time we step on the floor. You fight for the people that took the floor before you."

The Lady Dutch will also be in the large-school division of the Suburban Council. Guilderland joins Shenendehowa, Shaker, and Saratoga in the Blue Division.

The long season begins for the Lady Dutch in the Bethlehem Tournament on Dec. 2 and 3.

"It’s great," Cacckello said. "It’s tentatively scheduled to be played in the Washington Avenue Armory. I’m excited about that."

But the season, if the Dutch are successful, can run until late March and there are a lot of trials and tribulations during the course of the season.

"The kids have definitely put in the work," Cacckello said. "We put in an offense that will make the team better. We’re always looking to make adjustments. It’s a long season with a lot of peaks and valleys."

Especially in the tough Suburban Council.

"It’s always a tough league," Cacckello said. "The teams are top heavy. I think the ultimate goal will be to get back to Hudson Valley," he said of the site of the sectional finals. "Do we have the kids to do that" Yes. Are we a work in progress" Yes. We have to work, we are not going to win games on talent alone."

Wrestling at Guilderland

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Journeymen wrestling club will be hosting the Northeast Duals at Guilderland High School on Saturday.

Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. in the new gym at the high school and will feature 10 Division I wrestling teams.

There will be four top-20 ranked teams highlighted by traditional powerhouse, the University of Minnesota, which is number-four in the country. Virginia Tech University, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and Central Michigan University are ranked in the top 20.

Minnesota won the national championship when the NCAA tournament was held in Albany a few years ago.

Also making an appearance is American University, which features Dwayne Hash-Barberis, a former Section II champion from Scotia-Glenville High School.

Also competing will be Ohio University, the University of Binghamton, the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, and Drexel University.

Journeymen wrestling is led by Frank Popolizio; his brother, Pat, coaches at American.

Admission to the event costs $10 for students and $15 for adults.

"We want to get all local wrestling enthusiasts to come and watch," said Journeymen coach Korey Rogotzke, who is also a coach at Guilderland. Journeymen athletics is a Capital Region wrestling club that supports wrestling in New York by running clinics, camps, and tournaments every year. It also develops and promotes the sport in the state.

Rhodes-Devey wins Federation

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Guilderland junior Brian Rhodes-Devey followed up his state championship two weeks ago with a win in the Class AA New State Federation Meet on Saturday.

Rhodes-Devey, who won the state public school title on Nov. 12, won the meet at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls in a time of 15:56.6, besting rival Steve Murdock of Saratoga who came in at 16:09.2.

Guilderland senior Seth Dubois finished ninth in the Federation meet with a time of 16:33.

The Dutchmen finished eighth overall with 245 points and were the fourth Section II team.

Senior Justin Wager ran 17:00.9; classmate Tony Martini ran 18:06.3; senior Greg Masto ran 18:08.9 to score points for Guilderland. Sophomore Roland Graves and Eric Dornbush also ran for the Dutchmen.

Rhodes-Devey and Dubois will be running in the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. Both hope to qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego in December.

B-K-W boys' basketball preview

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team will be able to score from the outside and inside this winter.

The Bulldogs return a group of players that have shown improvement in Andy Wright’s two years as coach, and three players moved up from a successful junior-varsity team.

Wright is carrying nine players on the roster this year.

"Every kid is going to contribute," the coach said. "It’s not a situation where we have 12 or 15 kids and seven of them play."

The Bulldogs will be able to shoot the ball from the outside and also be able to pound it inside.

"We’ll shoot a lot from the outside," Wright said. "And when teams come out to guard us, we’ll be able to dump the ball into the big kids. We have five kids that can shoot three’s accurately and two big kids that can do things inside."

Returning for the Bulldogs are the inside tandem of seniors Andrew Elderd and Ricky Ragone.

"Elderd and Ricky Ragone will be the key inside players," Wright said. "We’ll have a real inside presence on this team. Both are 6’4" and over 200 pounds. They are big high-school kids."

Wright will rely on Elderd, who is in his third year on the varsity team, to provide scoring down low.

"He’s in his third year and knows the level of physicality of varsity basketball," Wright said.

Wright has also been impressed with Ragone’s improvement.

"Ricky has come a long way," Wright said. "From his sophomore to junior to senior years, the difference is night and day. He’s improved a great deal."

Also returning is Tom Houck. He was one of the top scorers for the Bulldogs last season and is also a great rebounder.

"Tom Houck by is the far the most talented player on the team," Wright said. "He is a super athlete."

Also returning are seniors Brandon Motchmann and Dwayne Rockenstyre.

"They are second-year varsity players," Wright said. "They’ll have increased contributions on a small team."

"Gym rats"

Joining the team this year is junior Josh Stoodley, Houck’s cousin.

"They play as much as any kids," Wright said. "I call them gym rats. They are always playing. They travel to play pick-up games. They love the game.

"Josh is in his first year on the varsity," Wright added, "and he doesn’t have much junior-varsity experience. He’s a superior athlete. He’s got natural talent. He’s the fastest kid on the team, an excellent shooter, and he can defend man-to-man. He’ll help the team."

Moving up from the junior varsity team are Rich Giest, Josh Skinner, and Matt Lounsbury.

"Rich Giest will be my point guard for the next two years," Wright said. "He’ll probably have the hardest job on the court, running my offenses. He needs to become a leader among his peers. He’s an itelligent kid. He’s capable of being really good at basketball."

Skinner and Lounsbury are the only sophomores on the team.

"I expect a lot of contribution from those two boys," Wright said.

"A progression"

Wright thinks that this year’s team will be comparable to last year’s and be in the middle of the pack in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs will have a tough time come sectionals as they move up to play Class CC instead of Class C due to an increase in enrollment.

"The best way I can tell you is that we’re starting to get over the hill in terms of the program," Wright said. "A couple of years ago, we were bad and last year we got better. Hopefully, this year we can get a little better, yet.

"It’s still going to be a progression," Wright added. "When I first came here, I said it would take three years to see its effect. It’s the third year and we are starting to see it and I think you will in the next couple of years."

Wright said that he expects the Bulldogs to be similiar to last year with some slight improvements.

"I think we’ll be in the middle of the pack," the coach said. "They are working hard and they are starting to learn how to get it done."

The Bulldogs opened the season on Wednesday at the Rensselaer Tournament against Heatly High School. They will play in the championship or consolation game on Friday.

B-K-W girls' basketball preview

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — Expectations remain high for the Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team.

Going into this season, the Lady Bulldogs will be defending four consecutive Western Athletic Conference Southern Division championships.

And, though there are many new faces on this year’s squad, they have witnessed the success of the program, which included back-to-back trips to the state final four.

"There’s a mystique," BKW Coach Tom Galvin said. "We’ve won and the kids have always been on winning teams and they want to keep it going. No one wants to be on the team that has a down year."

The one link between the final-four teams of 2003 and 2004 and this year is Christine Sikule.

"She’s had an example of that success," Galvin said. "She adds leadership to this team. She knows the tradition and keeps the guys playing the way it takes to be successful. All the kids work hard to keep that going."

"We want to win the WAC South," said Sikule, who is a co-captain of this year’s team. "We would like to win our division."

"It’s not out of reach," added the other captain, C.J. Vincent. "We want to win the WAC Cup. We want it back in our house."

The Lady Bulldogs won WAC championships from 2002 to 2004, for the first three years the league existed. Last year, Fonda-Fultonville took home the trophy.

"Eveybody wants that trophy back," Sikule said.

"Athletic and pesky"

BKW will have a little different look than in the past couple of years. They won’t have much size to battle inside and will have to rely on a superb group of guards.

"We’re small," Galvin said. "Our biggest player is five foot, 10. But we are athletic and have kids that can handle the ball and can shoot from the outside. We have athletes that can defend and run the floor.

"We need to play with defensive intensity," Galvin added. "If the game is hectic, and we’re playing a full-court game and it’s crazy, we’ll probably win. If the game is slow and methodical, we’re probably not going to win it. A lot of teams in this league have good post players."

"We’re scrappy," Vincent said. "We’re athletic and pesky. We have a lot of fast guards. If we can guard out in front, they will not get the ball down low."

Galvin has nine players to force the hectic pace fewer than in most years.

"A couple of kids decided not to come out," Galvin said. "I would rather have nine kids that want to be here than 11 or 12 questioning why they are here.

"The nine we have here are all talented basketball players," Galvin said. "They all contribute every day. You can do a lot with nine in practice. But you do have to adjust and do some different drills."

Sikule and Sarah Furman are the only seniors on the team. Vincent, Ashley Slaver, Brittany Krimsky, and Cara Swain are the juniors. Alysha Van Dyke and Lauren Ford are sophomores, and Andrea Van Dyke is a ninth-grader.

Vincent and Slaver are the returning starters from last year and the top two scorers from last year. Sikule would have been a starter but was injured for most of last season.

Andrea Van Dyke moved up to the varsity late in the season and played some key minutes last year.

"She played well in our scrimmage with Voorheesville," Galvin said. "She put the ball in the basket. We’re very young. We have a freshman and four juniors. But the kids we have are pretty experienced. I like the kids I have. A lot of them are dedicated to a lot of the things that we are doing."

The Bulldogs are dedicated to staying on top of the Southern Division of the WAC. They’ll even use their history as a way of intimidation.

"Coaches have told me that their kids don’t think they can win in our gym," Galvin said. "They’re intimidated of us; I’ll take that."

Even the new players on the BKW varsity team have experienced success. They have been on the junior varsity team coached by Rob Bentley. The j.v. Bulldogs haven’t lost a divisional game in the past 10 years.

"It’s definitely attainable," Sikule said of winning the division again. "It’s not out of reach."

"All the girls are working extremely hard in practice," Vincent said. "We’re athletically fit and we can guard teams up top and not let them get the ball down low."

The Lady Bulldogs open the season on Friday and on Saturday at the Cohoes Tournament.

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