Coach: Mike Johnston Jr.
2011-12 record: 4-13, lost to Horseheads in Section 4 Class AA quarterfinal
Outlook: Corning struggled against a tough schedule last season, but three starters and eight lettermen return. The biggest graduation departure was 1,000-point career scorer Brandon Griffin. Returning players are 6-foot-2 senior forward Trent Ray, 6-2 senior forward Pat Marks, 6-3 senior forward Jared Cramer, 6-4 senior forward DJ Ketchum, 5-9 senior guard Nick Alteri, 6-0 senior guard Jordan Siri, 5-9 senior guard Justin Lewis and 6-2 senior forward Connor Jacobs. Johnston said defensive intensity, rebounding and taking care of the ball will go a long way in determining his team’s success. “Our number one goal is to go out and compete for 32 minutes and finish games in the closing minutes,” he said. “As always in high school basketball, we will need to remain injury free and continue to build on team chemistry.”
Coach: John Miller
2011-12 record: 3-14, lost to Union-Endicott in Section 4 Class AA quarterfinal
Outlook: Last season was the first as a combined program for Elmira and the Express went through some growing pains. Two of the top players from that team — 6-foot senior guard Tyler Ladd and 6-5 junior forward Zach Nierstedt — give Elmira a solid foundation. Ladd was a STAC Metro-West all-conference choice last season and a dynamic point guard at times. Miller expects a strong backcourt with Ladd and sophomore Tyler Moffe. Miller said Elmira has the talent to play multiple defenses, with its ability to play consistent defense and to take advantage of its athleticism two keys to the season.
Nickname: Blue Raiders
Coach: Steve Monks
2011-12 record: 11-9, won STAC West title and lost to Binghamton in Section 4 Class AA championship game
Outlook: Horseheads’ success last season was largely because of a deep, senior-laden roster. This season’s team doesn’t have that luxury, with 10 players lost to graduation. Said Monks: “We are a very young team this year. We need strong leadership from our returning players and our new players need to get their game to the varsity level as soon as possible for us to be successful.” David Yorio, a 6-foot-3 senior forward who was a STAC West/Metro all-conference pick last season, is back to provide a triple threat of scoring, rebounding and interior defense. Also back are senior guards Kevin Boulas and Patrick Matkosky.
Coach: Bill Pierce
2011-12 record: 6-11, lost to Vestal in Section 4 Class AA quarterfinal
Outlook: Injuries took their toll on the Hawks last season and they had an early exit from sectionals. Corning has an extremely young lineup this season, with 5-foot-9 guard Tori Blaker the only senior. She was sidelined last season with a torn ACL and is now the Hawks’ captain. Junior guard Sarah Trifoso and 6-foot junior forward Megan Lewis also return. “We are striving for daily improvement, with a goal to compete night in and night out,” said Pierce, who has coached the team for all three seasons as a combined group.
Coach: Jake Dailey
2011-12 record: 0-16, lost to Union-Endicott in Section 4 Class AA quarterfinals
Outlook: Elmira is still looking for its first victory as a combined program after a winless inaugural season. Dailey takes over as varsity coach after guiding the Express to the STAC West junior varsity title. Although talented guard Ellie Leszyk is now at Horseheads, there are some quality athletes back for the Express. Among them are senior forward Bee Bulkley, 5-foot-10 sophomore forward Abbie Topping, and junior guards McKenna Backer, Melissa Erway and Katelyn Weaver. Said Dailey: “We are young, with only three seniors, seven juniors and three sophomores. Our juniors and sophomores are all returning from a successful JV season last year and we are looking to continue that success at the varsity level in the future.”
Nickname: Blue Raiders
Coach: Andy Scott
2011-12 record: 16-4, won STAC West title and lost to Binghamton in Section 4 Class AA championship game
Outlook: Scott has not had a losing season in his previous 13 seasons as coach and that streak promises to continue with a solid nucleus back. Horseheads lost one player to graduation and the starting five returns intact. Senior guard Tess Wicks (12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 steals per game) was an all-state selection and senior forward Jen Chalk (15 points, 8.3 rebounds per game) joined Wicks on the STAC West/Metro all-conference team. Amanda Schiefen, a 6-foot sophomore, is a big presence inside and was an all-division pick last season. Senior guard Kasey Harter is a 3-point threat. Also back are sophomore guard Marlea Nolan, junior guard Jen LaViola, senior forward Catherine Cites, junior guard Abbey Benesh, junior forward Erin Strollo and senior guard Brooke Hockeborn. Former Elmira standout Ellie Leszyk joins the team, along with sophomores Shannon Titus and Katie Reasons.
Compiled by Andrew Legare