State career scoring leader Joseph Girard III of Glens Falls has been named to The Daily Gazette All-Area first team for the fourth year in a row, and is joined by repeat selections August Mahoney of Albany Academy and Shane O’Dell of Schalmont.
Andre Jackson of Albany Academy and Michael Ortale of Bethlehem round out the elite cast.
Here is a glance at the accomplishments of each of the All-Area first-team selections.
(Photos: Peter R. Barber/Daily Gazette, Erica Miller/Daily Gazette.)
JOSEPH GIRARD III, GLENS FALLS
Girard III’s final high school season will be remembered for the records broke or added to, and the championships he finally won.
The Syracuse commit finished with a state-record 4,763 points, and with New York State Public High School Athletic Association and New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class B titles.
“Getting all the individual accolades is cool, but if you don’t get the main thing you’re working for as a team, there’s a hole there,” Girard III said.
Girard III anchored four first-place Foothills Council championship teams, and led Glens Falls to four Section II final four appearances, area championships in 2017 and this season, and a regional title this season before its state-level wins.
Girard III scored 50 points, including a buzzer-beating overtime layup, when the Indians edged Lowville 75-74 for the NYSPHSAA crown. He netted 43 when the Indians beat Cardinal O’Hara 88-79 for the Federation flag, and walked away with his second tournament MVP award in as many weeks.
“There’s no way one guy can do it, and he understands that,” Glens Falls athletic director Chip Corlew said. “Those other guys have roles and he appreciates what they do.”
What Girard III did this season in leading Glens Falls to a Section II-record 29 wins was, in a word, sensational.
The 6-foot-2 guard set a Section II one-game record with 69 points in a win over Schuylerville, and set a Section II tournament record with 66 in a semifinal win over Watervliet. With his shifty drives, spectacular 3-point range and excellent free throw percentage, he also had 13 games this season where he scored between 50 and 59 points. Over 30 games, he averaged 48.6 while expertly handling the point guard duties and hitting the boards.
“Look what guys threw at him,” Corlew said. “Double-teams. Triple-teams. He was still able to produce.”
Twice as a junior he scored 60 points in a game, and he knocked down 12 3-pointers in another to equal the Section II record. After games, Girard III made sure every autograph and photo seeker was accommodated.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that the kid has a huge heart,” Corlew said.
Girard III set a state singe-season record with 179 3-point baskets as a junior, and broke it this season with 195. His 1,457 points this season were another New York mark, topping the 1,149 he produced as an 11th-grader.
Girard III was named the Gatorade New York Basketball Player of the Year for the second time this season, and just before the NYSPHSAA tournament was tabbed Mr. New York Basketball by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York.
ANDRE JACKSON & AUGUST MAHONEY, ALBANY ACADEMY
Though spectacular in doing so, delivering slam dunks and 3-point baskets were only part of the contributions Jackson and Mahoney provided Albany Academy with as it rattled off 19 wins and won the program’s fourth New York State Federation Tournament of Champions Class A title in seven years.
“They did whatever we asked,” Cadets coach Brian Fruscio said of all-star tandem. “Score, rebound, pass, guard someone. Our motto was, ‘All in,’ and August and Andre were all in.”
The 6-foot-7 Jackson collected 10 rebounds and five assists per game to go with his 17.4 scoring average, and also served as a defensive catalyst with his quickness and long arms. At the defensive end, he averaged two steals and two blocks per outing.
“He can guard one through four,” Fruscio said of the junior who has received scholarship offers from Connecticut, Iowa, Marquette, Princeton, Stanford and Syracuse. “In the paint, he is a mismatch.”
Jackson shot 70 percent from the field, scoring mostly on putbacks, drives and monster slams. The junior hammered four of them while collecting 13 points and nine rebounds when the Cadets (19-3) beat Frederick Douglass 75-49 for the Federation crown. In a 71-56 semifinal win over Park School, Jackson had 18 points and 10 boards.
“He’s improved so much each year,” Fruscio said. “I think that will continue. I think you’ll see him extend himself and shoot more [jumpers] and increase his ball-handling because he spends so much time with it.”
Jumpers and dribbling are Mahoney strengths, and the Saratoga Springs resident displayed those talents with 97 3s while superbly handling the Cadets’ point guard duties. He had five assists in both Federation wins, and averaged 3.5 for the season.
“He could have scored 35 a game and Andre could have scored 30,” Fruscio said. “With them it was, ‘We want to win.'”
Mahoney hit his average with 24 points against Frederick Douglass, with the Federation MVP nailing eight 3s to set a tournament one-game Class A record. The New York Mr. Basketball award finalist also made eight 3 in a regular-season game and sank seven of them three times.
“He took 12 3s and made eight of them,” Fruscio said of Mahoney’s final high school game. “He’s the best shooter in the area. He shot 47 percent on 3s, 57 percent on twos and 93 percent from the line. Unbelievable.”
The Yale-bound Mahoney piled up 37 points twice this season, had 36 in another game, and, like Jackson, reached double figures in every game.
SHANE O’DELL, SCHALMONT
Everything O’Dell did as a sophomore when he earned his first Gazette All-Area first-team nod, he did even better as a junior.
Playing guard at times and forward at others, and defending all parts of the court, the 6-foot-5 Colonial Council MVP averaged 29 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“He picked up where he left off,” Schalmont coach Greg Loiacono said. “He had a good spring and summer with the City Rocks and parlayed it into a great season.”
O’Dell set a Schalmont record with his 696 points and never scored fewer than 17 for the 22-2 Sabres, who climbed as high as No. 2 in the state, defended their Colonial Council title and reached their second consecutive Section II Class B final. O’Dell scored as many as 38 points twice — reaching 1,000 career points in one of those games against Voorheesville — and had other outings with 36 (twice) and 34 (three times).
“In many games, he only played three quarters,” Loiacono said.
O’Dell had 20 points and 14 rebounds the night Schalmont lost to Glens Falls in the Class B final.
“He’s been in the gym every day since we lost,” Loiacono said of his three-year starter who has received an offer from UAlbany and has drawn interest from Vermont, Princeton, Yale, Davidson and Lafayette. “He took it hard. They all did. That last game wasn’t the Schalmont you saw all year.”
MICHAEL ORTALE, BETHLEHEM
After missing all but six games of his junior season due to a severe ankle injury, Ortale bounced back in a big way in leading Bethlehem to the Suburban Council title, a 19-game win streak and a spot in the Section II Class AA championship game that he won as a sophomore when he the was tournament MVP.
“I’ve had a lot of good players, but the fire and talent he possesses are unmatched,” Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons said of his 6-foot-3 senior guard. “I’ve never had anyone like him, and maybe I never will. He wants to win and he has a drive.”
Though Ortale averaged 15.8 points, connected on 61 3s and only once in 23 outings scored below 11, his game is much more than that.
“At times he took over a game and it wasn’t with his points,” Irons said. “If he wasn’t feeling his shot, he went to point guard mode and rebounded. He did other things to help us win. He is a do-it-all-player.”
Ortale had 12 points and nine rebounds in his final game, when Bethlehem lost to Saratoga in the Class AA final, and was named to the all-tournament team.
He averaged 6.5 rebounds and four assists while contributing defensively with 32 steals and 27 blocked shots. The first-team Suburban Council all-star will be taking his vast array of talents to Iona College, which recently earned its fourth straight MAAC championship.
“He could have played lower Division I this year,” Irons said. “He has that ability. The way he played, it was a show.”
Joseph Girard III, 12, 6-2, Glens Falls, 48.6
Andre Jackson, 11, 6-7, Albany Academy, 17.4
August Mahoney, 12, 6-4, Albany Academy, 24.2
Shane O’Dell, 11, 6-5, Schalmont, 29
Michael Ortale, 12, 6-3, Bethlehem, 15.8
Dante Bouchard, 11, 5-11, Gloversville, 25.8
Ozzy DeJesus, 11, 6-0, Mekeel, 20.9
Jordan King, 12, 5-10, CBA, 23.7
Nazaire Merritt, 12, 5-11, Troy, 20.3
Duncan Tallman, 12, 6-1, Mohonasen, 18
Jackson Atty, 11, 6-1, Fonda-Fultonville, 21.6
Chris Becker, 12, 6-7, Lake George, 20
Nate Chudy, 12, 6-8, Saratoga, 12.9
Trent Girard, 12, 5-6, Glens Falls, 10.8
Aidan Holmes, 11, 6-0, Sartaoga, 14.3
Colonial Council: Trevor Green (Lansingburgh), Isaiah Knight (Lansingburgh), Messiah Mallory (Watervliet), Donovan Pacatte (CR), LJ Randle (Schalmont).
Foothills Council: Bryce Bleibtrey (Queensbury), Matt Boyle (Johnstown), Nicholas Budesheim (Schuylerville), Andrew LeMorta (SG), Joe Rowback (Gloversville).
Suburban Council: Latyce Faison (Troy), Will Fox (Saratoga), Zach Price (Averill Park), T.J. Sangare (Shenendehowa), Aaron Satin (Colonie).
Wasaren League: Jon Kempf (Hoosick Falls), Brian McNeil (Stillwater), Bobby Valigorsky (WH), John Walsh (Greenwich), Tristan Williams (Hoosick Falls).
Western Athletic Conference: Jack Brundage (OESJ), Garret Delaney (Mayfield), Trevon Gifford (Mayfield), Tyler Leon (OESJ), Luke Van Slyke (Canajoharie).
Other: Alex Barnhill (Mekeel), Justice Brantley (Catskill), Rob Brown (Albany Academy), Mason Flatley (Lake George), Kemore Johnson (Green Tech).