March 22, 2016

Cortland honors winter athletes

Staff Writer

The members of Cortland High’s winter sports teams were honored recently at their respective teams’ season-ending functions.
Here is a list of each team’s award winners, with the respective coaches’ comments on their Most Valuable Players.
Coach: Jeremy Milligan
MVP: Nick Craig
Most Improved Player: Harold Pallone
Coaches’ Award: John Khazzaka
Milligan on Craig: “As a third-year player, Nick was our floor general and we needed him on the court at all times. His presence gave us the best opportunity to score and win games. Whether it was going to the rim, shooting the ball, or dishing it out, Nick created plays.
“He led team in scoring (14.7 points per game), assists (69. 3.3) and steals (38) and was second in rebounding (128, 6.1), blocks (13) and deflections (35).”
Craig finished with 757 points in three seasons (12.2), 10th all-time in the program, and was also 10th in career rebounding with 288. He finished fifth in career assists with 186 and second in career free throws made with 213.
Coach: Nolan Sinclair
Most Valuable Players: Jackie Phillips and Shea Swartwout
Most Improved Player: Logan Chase
Sinclair on Phillips: “What can I say about Jackie that people don’t already know? She is an fantastic player and person. Jackie not only shines on the basketball court but off it as well. She is a great student and has tremendous character. Jackie was our leader. Jackie had a tremendous career at Cortland High School, and my only regret is that I had just one year with her.
“Jackie is the type of player that does everything necessary to win a game. Yes, she averaged 14 points a game (929 points in a five-year career), but she also led us in rebounds (140), assists (63), blocked shots (24), and was second in steals (35). Jackie works hard each and every second that she is on the floor, both in practice and in games. A team’s starting point guard is an extension of the coach, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the season that Jackie had. The Cortland program is going to miss Jackie Phillips, she is the type of person/player that is not easily replaced. “
Sinclair on Swartwout: “Shea is a tremendous athlete. It is quite impressive that a player that scores over 1000 points in her career (1,010 total) is going to college to play a sport other than basketball; Shea is going to Niagara to play lacrosse. That just demonstrates how impressive her athletic ability is. Shea is known for being a shooter and a scorer, but she is so much more than that. Shea led our team in points at 16.5 points a game, but she also averaged 4.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Shea was always the player that opposing teams would focus on.
“She always seemed to have an opposing player face-guard her all over the offensive end of the floor. Even with that defensive pressure, she still had nine games over 18 points, five games over 20 points, and three games of 28 or more points (31 versus Homer). Similar to Jackie, I will miss Shea, and I wish I had more time to be her coach. “
Phillips and Swartwout were both repeat members of the OHSL Freedom National all-league first team this season, with Phillips named the Player of the Year.
Coach: Chad Totman
MVP: Clay Larson (Cortland)
MIPs: Cooper Swartwout (Cortland) and Jackson Brazo (Homer)
Coach’s: Jonathon Frederick (Cortland) and Zane Grihin (Homer)
Totman on Larson: “Clay is a four-year veteran of the Golden Eagles. He was asked to move from defense last year to offense this year because his strength and ability to carry the puck. He put the team first and never complained or asked to change back to defense, even though we knew he would personally rather play in the back. As a forward he put a lot of pressure on our opponents’ defenses. Clay was often found carrying the puck in the zone, passing it off to another forward for a shot or in front of the net going for rebounds.
“Clay was the hardest worker on the team and would push himself to the limit every shift. He had the highest plus-minus ratio on the team, which shows his defensive skills. Clay was often called on for extra tasks like power play and penalty kill. He was an honorable mention all-league selection. He tripled his career points this year, scoring six goals with 10 assists. He had one goal and four assists prior to this year. Clay was a silent leader on the team that everyone respected and will be greatly missed next year.”
Larson led the Golden Eagles in assists and in scoring with 16 points.
Coach: George Burkinshaw
Most Valuable Wrestlers: Dane George and Dakoatah Miller
Coach’s: Isaiah Brookman
Most Dedicated: Andrew Sawyer
High Achievement Award: Russell Gerhard
Burkinshaw on George and Miller: “Dane and Dakoatah are both talented, hard-working athletes who dedicated their time to the sport of wrestling and were there when needed. Both displayed high character as well as being high academic achievers.”
George, a senior, had a record of 16-14 with seven pins this season at 113, 120 and 126 pounds, was sixth at 113 at the Section 3 Class B tournanment and finished his high school career with a record of 107-88 with 41 pins. Miller, a junior, was 38-11 with 19 pins at 182 and 195 pounds, was third at 182 at the Section 3 Class B tournament and will head into his senior season with a record of 94-34 with 47 pins.
Coach: Cheri Drake
MVP: Kristin Bush
Coach’s: Chloe Bush
MIP: Allison Holl
Drake on Kristin Bush: “Kristin is a great player and we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without her. You can tell that she plays year-round. I am ecstatic that I get her for one more season.”
Bush had a team-high 449 digs as well as 67 aces, 44 kills and seven assists.
Coach: Ron Reed
Boys’ Most Valuable Bowler: Alex Babcock
Girls’ Most Valuable Bowler: Liz Minnard
Most Improved Bowlers: Michael Davis (Boys), Taylor Cullip (Girls)
Coach’s: Jake Woods (Boys), Rebecca Alteri (Girls)
Reed on Babcock: “To describe the important role that Alex has on the bowling team, I will relate it to the sport he plays in the spring — baseball. On defense he is found either at either third base or shortstop. On offense, coach Albright will assign him as the third or fourth hitter in the batting order. There is good reason for this. Those places are generally reserved for a contact, power hitter. Alex is just that, whether on a baseball field or in a bowling alley.
For those of you who never saw him roll a bowling ball, you should make it a point to do so. The team and I could always count on him to come through under pressure, something he seemed to enjoy rather than fear. He was consistent in several ways: his pin count each match, the support he offered to his teammates and in the humble way he accepted the good games and the rough ones. One of the pleasures of returning to coaching has been the opportunity to work with athletes like Alex Babcock.”
Babcock had a team-high and OHSL season average of 201 (13th in the league), and was an all-league honorable mention. He had a season-high 279 game and a season-high 682 series, was fourth in the league doubles tournament with Troy Vallese, had an average of 184 at Section III tournament (14th of 23) and a 190 average (12th) at the Section III composite team shootout.
Reed on Minnard: “Liz is my ‘go to’ person. Whenever I need to get information from or disperse relevant materials to the teams, Liz is the one I count on. I trust her and I know she will get the job done. The rapport she has with the younger athletes is admirable. She accepts them like they were her siblings. She graciously shares her experiences as a bowler with others, including those of opposing teams.
“Liz is a skilled athlete and seeks help and suggestions from coaches in order to improve her game. I had the pleasure of coaching her sister and it has been an honor to work with Liz too. “
Minnard, a teamn captain for the second season in a row, had an OHSL season average of 170 (seventh in the league) and earned second-team all-league honors. She had a season-high 213 game and a season-high 564 series, was fifth in the league doubles tournament with Taylor Cullip, had a team-high average of 163 at Section III tournament (ninth of 21) and had a 170 average (12th) at the Section III composite team shootout.
Five of Cortland High’s winter athletic squads have been named NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete teams.
The girls’ basketball team led the way for the Purple Tigers this winter with an average of 94.829, followed by girls’ volleyball at 93.545, boys’ basketball at 92.047, hockey (with Homer) at 92.015 and boys’ bowling at 90.212.
Varsity teams must earn an academic average of 90 percent or higher during their season to qualify for the award, with letters of recognition and pins provided by NYSPHSAA for the individual athletes who made the team awards possible.

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