Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s defensive leader and top point producer have been named to the all-state girls’ volleyball Class A first team.
Senior libero Siena Wilder and senior outside hitter Molly McCormack received the prestigious honor after spearheading the Spartans’ drive toward a second consecutive New York championship and the school’s fifth in 11 years.
Wilder was selected to the Class A first team for the second time, while junior setter Libby Bjork of state Class C finalist Voorheesville also earned her second consecutive first-team nod. Sophomore outside hitter Annie Stock of state Class B semifinalist Johnstown, junior middle hitter Carolyn Bablon of Voorheesville and senior outside hitter Gwenn Harsha of state Class D semifinalist Hartford also garnered first-team laurels.
Wilder amassed 564 defensive digs this season, including 38 when Burnt Hills beat Pittsford Sutherland in a four-set state final, and also served 68 aces. McCormack had 272 kills, including 13 in the state final, to go with 235 digs and 55 aces.
Wilder (state tournament) and McCormark (Suburban Council) were previously recognized with most valuable players awards.
All-state second-team honors went to junior setter Haley Macken of Section II Class AA champ Shenendehowa, sophomore setter/outside hitter Jessica Dillon of Burnt Hills, senior setter Zara Hyde of Johnstown, and senior middle hitter Morgan Wicks of Hartford. Schalmont junior outside hitter Rachel Rineda and Greenville and senior middle hitter Sierra Godfellow made the Class B and Class C third team, respectively. Fourth-team recognition went to senior outside hitter Quincy Kinzel of Guilderland (Class AA), senior setter Brooke Meader of Quensbury (Class A), senior libero Lexi Payne of Hoosic Valley Class C), and junior setter Alyssa Salerno of Argyle (Class D).
Niskayuna record-setters Kina Zhou and Luke Goldstock were among seven Silver Warriors who recently signed national collegiate letters of intent.
The Yale University-bound Zhou was outstanding in her final scholastic swimming appearance at the state championship meet, breaking her own New York
100-yard freestyle record (50.14) while winning the event for the third straight time, and also helping Niskayuna top its Section II 200 free relay record (1:37.33).
Zhou set the state 200 free public school record (1:48.30), as well.
Goldstock set a Section II single-season lacrosse record with 83 goals as a junior, and the University of North Carolina-bound attackman finished with a Niskayuna single-season record of 144 points. Both Goldstock and Zhou led their teams to Section II championships.
Niskayuna lacrosse standouts Lucas Maloney (Penn State), Evan Quinn (Hartford), Tyler Pantalone (Siena), Dom Sloma (Marist) and Kelly Schlansker (Michigan) also signed.
Christian Brothers Academy had four lacrosse players ink their commitments in Peter Reilly (Hofstra), John Bassett (Merrick), and brothers Josh and Luke Frese (Saint Rose), and Queensbury got a pair of official lacrosse signings from Casey White (James Madison) and Dylan Borkowski (Le Moyne).
Watervliet senior Ailayia Demand became the school’s third career 1,000-point scorer in girls’ basketball when she netted 19 in last week’s 65-22 season-opening win against Albany Leadership.
Demand needed 10 points to reach the milestone, and added 13 more in a 66-32 win over Ballston Spa the following night as Water-vliet captured its tip-off tournament championship.
Crystal Carroll (1993 graduate, 1,252 points) and Casey Prue (2004, 1,068) were the first two from Watervliet to reach the special plateau.
Working for success
Niskayuna boys’ basketball coach Ian McShane has been driving his team hard in the preseason.
“When it slips a little bit, I remind them of what’s out in front of us,” McShane said of a difficult Suburban Council schedule that awaits. “They’re good at refocusing.”
The former Schenectady and Shenendehowa assistant and second-year Niskayuna lead man is hoping the toil his team is enduring will pay off in the form of a few more wins.
“We talk a lot about laying the foundation with work and commitment, and hope it translates into giving ourselves a chance to compete. We have to take advantage of every minute we have in the gym,” he said. “Teams that do the grunt work and do the little things, big things have a way of taking care of themselves.”
The Silver Warriors prevailed only four times last season, while five of their 15 setbacks came by nine points or less. That raw team had only one player who saw significant action the season before in Chris Giglio.
“We took some lumps. We went through some growing pains, but I think we got a better feeling for what it takes to succeed at this level,” McShane said.
Niskayuna’s 12-player roster had six varsity veterans in seniors Connor Andrews, Liam Byrne, Brandon Fine and Brent Oliver, and juniors Aaron Gordon and Michael Sise. Among the newcomers is 6-foot-6 junior Ben Orr, the team’s tallest player.
“No game looks like it will be an easy win for us,” McShane. “The guys know it’s going to take a lot of work, and they’re responding in the right way.”
State football finals
When Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake beat Sweet Home in the Class A final, 40-20, and Hoosick Falls topped Hornell for Class C honors, 34-21, Section II last weekend captured two state football championships in the same year for the second time. Troy (Class AA) and Watervliet (Class C) both secured state titles to end the 1996 season.
Burnt Hills and Hoosick Falls became the fifth and sixth area teams to land New York championships, with Troy also prevailing in 1998 (Class AA), Amsterdam going the distance in 1995 (Class B) and 2005 (Class A), and Cambridge winning in 1999 (Class D).
Burnt Hills, which got two touchdown passes from Ryan McDonnell and a pair of scoring runs from Dan Maynard, tied Troy’s Section II record with four state title-game appearances. . . .
Hoosick Falls became just the second Section II team to complete a 13-0 season when it ended Hornell’s 51-game winning streak. Watervliet went 13-0 in 1996. Cambridge went 12-0 in 1999. . . .
New Rochelle beat Orchard Park in the Class AA championship game, 34-6, Maine-Endwell defeated Glens Falls in the Class B final, 42-12, and Randolph beat Tuckahoe in the Class D title matchup, 28-7.