The team that wound up second-best in Class C girls basketball last winter has been anointed No. 1 in early-season New York State Sports Writers Association rankings.
“When the rankings came out, I just kind of groaned to my wife,” Harpursville coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said. “But I told the kids to embrace it, enjoy it, you’re the No. 1 team in the state at this point in the season.”
The Hornets have strung eight consecutive victories to open the season, and will seek No. 9 on Wednesday against Delhi. The average margin has been just shy of 28 points, but included is a game against Bainbridge-Guilford that exposed a potential trouble spot.
Harpursville won that one by 36-23, but along the way came 30-percent shooting, eight missed layups and a one-point third quarter.
“This team is about whether or not we can shoot the ball,” the coach said. “Our defense is still pretty good. … Miranda will be double- and triple-teamed. If we can make some shots, that’ll take some of the pressure off her.”
He spoke of senior Miranda Drummond, a first-team all-state selection last season who next season will join St. Bonaventure’s basketball program. She has averaged 23 points per game, with a high of 33 and a low of 17. She is joined in the starting five by forwards Holly Henry and Tatiana Sosnowsky, and guards Shelby Medovich and Abby Bird. Medovich has scored 11.6 per game and Sosnowsky 8.4.
Harpursville is one of three Section 4 teams that occupy top-2 state rankings, along with South Kortright (No. 1 in Class D) and Oneonta (No. 2 in Class B).
One contest to keep an eye on will come later this month when Seton Catholic Central visits the Hornets for makeup of a game postponed by inclement weather.
“I had a chance to watch them– they go!” Ehrensbeck said of the Saints. “As has been the case, we have a hard time finding non-league games. (SCC coach Colleen Jayne) was looking for a game, so that was fine with me.”
Tornado rolls along
Norwich’s boys hold steady at No. 9 in Class B state rankings with a 7-0 record, the most recent win coming by 24 points over Chenango Valley.
The Purple Tornado has played to a 23-point average margin, though its most impressive wins have arguably been the two by single-figure margins– Oneonta by 55-48 to open the season and then New York Mills by 48-45 for the Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic’s Regional Div. II title on Dec. 30.
Michael Sutton heads Norwich scorers with 15.7 points per game. His season high stands at 19 (vs. New York Mills), and he backed that with an 18-point outing next time out against CV. Michael Oralls’ 10.6 average is the team’s second-best.
M-E gets it together
In the wake of his team’s fourth consecutive victory, Maine-Endwell boys coach Bill Ocker was asked to describe the difference between the team that sputtered to a 1-2 start to the team that stood 5-2 with Saturday’s 62-50 home-court win over Elmira.
“Aggressiveness,” Ocker said. “I feel like we’ve come out with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder and want to use our athleticism and our physicality to our advantage more than we did early in the year.”
As for why that ingredient was missing early?
“For whatever the reason we just weren’t in gear,” he said. “We’re still not there yet, but we are much farther along than we were.”
Elmira faded Saturday by scoring three fourth-quarter points.
“We had a good start to the season but we’ve just fallen into a run where we’re just not making shots, whether from the paint or the 3-point arc,” coach Ryan Johnson said. “The bottom line is, we got shots (late against M-E), we’ve just got to make them.”
Elmira was to have had a go at knocking Union-Endicott from the unbeaten ranks Tuesday night, but that contest is among weather-related postponements.
Owego’s boys pulled out a tight one Friday at Unatego as Will Gladney converted on the interior in the late going to finish off the Indians’ rally from a five-point deficit to start the final quarter to a 64-63 non-league win.
Gladney closed with a game-high 25 points, and teammates Brandon Hathaway and Zach Thomas had 15 apiece for Owego. Hathaway had two of his three 3-point goals in the fourth quarter.
Tourney affects rankings
Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic results impacted state rankings, beginning with Class AA and clear down to Class D.
Tournament champion Christ The King climbed to No. 2 from No. 6 in ‘AA’, one spot below Cardinal Hayes. It was Cardinal Hayes that dealt CTK its lone setback of this season, knocking the Royals from the No. 1 spot where they began.
Fayetteville-Manlius was No. 16 in ‘AA’ to start the Holiday Classic but was dropped to Honorable Mention after a loss to Maine-Endwell.
In Class D, New York Mills dipped from first to third (behind Sherman and Argyle) on the heels of a loss to Norwich.