March 19, 2013
Court shine to local four
It was a different road taken for each of the three local Interscholastic Athletic Conference boys’ basketball teams during the 2012-13 season.
Dryden Hgh was in contention for the North Large School Division crown late into the season before Whitney Point emerged as the top squad there.
In the IAC North Small School Division, Marathon Central was inconsistent during the regular season before catching fire to win a Section 4 Class D crown despite being under .500. Groton has its own struggles and said good-bye to the senior statesman of the coaching ranks as John Filzen retired from his sideline duties.
Despite those different paths, each team had representation when the coaches gathered and selected the IAC All-Star squads.
Dryden seniors Bryan Norman and Gage Ellis earned North Large School Division First-Team all-star honors for their efforts this season.
Marathon senior Jeff Contri and Groton senior Taj McKnight were both voted North Small School Division First-Team All-Stars.
— Joining Norman and Ellis as Large School first-teamers were Whitney Point’s Adam Tillotson and teammate Austin Standish-Warpus, plus Lansing teammates Ellington Hopkins and Ben Rourke. Tillotson was named the Large School MVP.
North Large School second-team all-stars include Dryden freshman Ali Abel-Ferretti, Lansing’s Nate McIntosh, plus the Whitney Point trio of Nick Stevens, Zach Marsh and Chris Ellerson.
— Contri and McKnight were North Small School Division first teamers with Moravia’s Dylan Powers, Chandler Benson and Jared Lyon along with Vince Stebbins from Southern Cayuga. Powers was named MVP, leading the Blue Devils to a Section 4 Class C title, too.
Marathon senior Kody Barry was a North Small School Division Second-Team all-star along with Chase Walker of Moravia, Union Springs’ Harry Fearon, plus the Southern Cayuga duo of Tom Miller and Mike Killian.
Dryden coach Kim Brown, Marathon head coach Jim Holland and Groton’s Filzen offer their thoughts on their first-team all-stars.
Brown on Norman: “Bryan was undoubtedly our team leader during games and practice. He finished second on our team in scoring as he averaged 14.4 ppg (259 total points). Bryan would finish his high school career with 899 points. Bryan also led us in 3-point percentage (35.6%), free-throws attempted (88) and made (58), along with steals (1.3 pg, 23 total steals). Bryan has worked extremely hard to improve his skill level every year. His talent level and drive will be hard to replace next year. It is very rare that a coach can say an athlete of his never took a play off during games or practice during his entire career, yet that is exactly what Bryan did. Bryan gave maximum effort all the time. Bryan will attend Cornell University in the fall where he will study Human Biology, Health and Society at the College of Human Ecology.”
Brown on Ellis: “Gage was our most capable scorer on the floor this year. He averaged a team-high 15.7 ppg (282 points). Gage also led us in two-point percentage (67.1 percent), rebounds (6.4 pg...118 total) and blocks (1.1 pg...20 total). As is evident by the aforementioned statistical categories, Gage had the unique ability to affect the game on both ends of the floor. His ability, offensively and defensively, will be hard to replace. He was able to score the ball with ease, and also made it difficult for opponents to get clean looks at the rim. Gage will take his talents to SUNY Potsdam in the fall where he will study engineering and play basketball.”
Holland on Contri: “Jeff is one of the highest ranking students in the senior class. Jeff is a truly lovable athlete who is not only easy to coach, but has a drive to win and a likable personality. He led the team in both rebounds (141) and scoring (336 point). Jeff is more of a leader through his play and was an integral part of this year’s Section 4 run. He has been very consistent throughout the year and I think his ability to shoot very well from 15 to 18 feet made match up problems for other teams. He has a very strong practice ethic and is among the top players that I have ever coached. It brings tears to my eyes to have to say good-bye to a student athlete of his caliber. Jeff will be missed immensely and it will be hard to replace his consistent play and positive attitude. His importance to this team can be seen during the regional game. When he is not having a great first half, we struggle to find points at times. Contri plans on majoring in aerospace engineering in college.”
Filzen of McKnight: “Taj was a three-year player. Last year, he was a difference maker in helping get us to sectional final. We had other scorers like Keegan Donovan who teams had to worry about. We had groomed a nice sequence of point guards from Matt Robinson, Joey Volpicelli, Pete Jackson to Keegan. Taj didn’t have to worry about being a point guard until this season. We moved Taj to that position and he had a lot of responsibilities as far as running the offense and handling the ball more. He handled that well. More importantly, Taj has a 90 average and he a was member of our scholar-athlete team this season.”
McKnight averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists per game this season.
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