Throughout his basketball coaching career, Josh Peck has adapted with the changes.
“Some guys like to stay with a system. I tend to flex to the kids I have. I’ve got to see the size and speed,” said Mohonasen High School’s new varsity boys’ coach. “My philosophy is to work with what you’ve got, play to strengths and teach them along the way.”
Peck’s adjustments according to personnel led to four league and three regional championships in his 11 seasons with the boys’ and girls’ teams at The King’s School in Bolton, Conn.
“We had a lot of success pressing and going up-tempo, but not rushing,” said the 37-year-old Mohonasen social worker. “We did well even though we were a small school and we played bigger schools. It was like it is here.”
Mohonasen won a combined nine games the last two seasons, but in four of the five seasons before that posted double-digit victories and reached the Section II Class A final four. The Mighty Warriors claimed the Class A crown in 2011 and notched 17 wins under Ken Dagostino, who stepped down over the summer.
“My goal, of course, is to bring back the winning tradition. We’ve had a couple of down years,” said Peck. “We plan to win. We don’t plan on backing down.”
Mohonasen is among a handful of Class A schools that compete in the Class AA dominated Suburban Council.
“Some people may say I’m at a disadvantage not knowing the ins and outs of the Suburban Council,” said Peck. “There are some advantages coming in new. People don’t know my system or philosophy.”
Peck has not been involved in coaching since coming to Mohonasen. This is his third year in the district.
“I went away from coaching for a while, but I feel a passion for it. It’s the kind of passion I want the kids to have,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Pats dig in
Schenectady went to survival mode for last week’s Class AA Liberty Division football game at Columbia, and came out with a 6-2 win that bolstered its playoff hopes.
“We had some key offensive guys out, and we had to move some guys around,” said Schenectady coach Mark Cerrone, who counted lineman Josh Fisherauer and running back Keenan Chandler among the missing. “We knew our defense would have to win the game.”
The Patriots made Jahvontay Brown’s second-quarter touchdown stand up with their first defensive blanking since a 25-0 win over Colonie in 2009. Kolby Youngblood, Jayquan Beckford and Ditaye Douglas had interceptions, and Kyle Bacon had a strip-fumble recovery as part of the performance.
“In high school ball, a shutout is hard to come by. The guys should be proud of that. The whole game was a defensive stand,” said Cerrone. “They answered the bell, and they’ve got to answer the bell again.”
Schenectady (1-2 division, 3-2 overall) plays at Colonie (2-1, 3-2) tonight before concluding division play at home against LaSalle (1-2, 1-4).
“If we win the next two, we’ll be the No. 3 seed [in the Liberty]. With a split, we’ve got to look at who beat who and who has quarter points,” said Cerrone, whose Pats went 2-3 in the division last year and failed to make the playoffs. “We don’t want to rely on people. We did that last year, and it didn’t work out.”
Colonie dealt Bethlehem its first loss last week in overtime, 28-27, when Will McCann hit Eugene Reyes with his fourth touchdown pass and the two hooked up on a two-point conversion after the Eagles went ahead in the extra session.
“Colonie is very dangerous. We’ve got to have another good game from our defense,” said Cerrone. “Coming off Shaker [a 42-0 loss] and Bethlehem [37-12 loss], last week was huge for their confidence.”
Cerrone said Fisherauer and Chandler will be back in the lineup tonight.
“Our offense left a lot of points off the board,” Cerrone said of the Columbia game. “We did what we wanted to do. We went right down the field and then we shot ourselves. We’ve got to put some points up.”
Versatile Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake volleyball star Jessica Dillon has committed to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
“I’m proud of the type of kids we produce,” said Burnt Hills coach Gary Bynon. “She’ll bring competitiveness, leadership and a winning attitude to their program.”
Dillon is going from one successful program to another. The Mountain Cats went 26-11 last season with a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title and NCAA Division II tournament appearance. They went 18-8 the season before, and are currently 9-5.
“Their coach [Joanna Haupt] is a go-getter. They just moved to a very competitive league,” said Bynon. “I’m happy for her to have that opportunity in that kind of environment.”
“It’s the school that fit me best,” Dillon, a senior setter and outside hitter, said after Tuesday’s four-set win over Shenendehowa. “I can see myself being very happy there.”
Dillon is the only Burnt Hills player to record 2,000 assists and 600 kills in her career. She needed three assists Tuesday to reach the special mark and finished with 48, including a feed on a clinching point.
“We always take pride here in the fact that our kids can play a lot of different positions,” said Bynon. “I’ve been able to run a 6-2 [two-setter offense] because of her versatility.”
Dillon helped Burnt Hills reach the last four state Class A championship matches, with the Spartans prevailing in 2011 and 2012.
Dillon made the all-state first team as a junior after earning a second team nod as a 10th-grader.
Samson No. 1
Shenendehowa’s Julia Samson swam a winning 58.34 in the 100-yard butterfly Tuesday in a meet with Mohonasen/Schalmont, giving the junior the top Section II time this season in seven of eight individual events.
Samson is also No. 1 in the 200 free (1:55.46), 200 individual medley (2:08.24), 50 free (24.97), 100 free (54.15), 500 free (5:16.12) and 100 backstroke (57.52).
Samson placed second in the 200 IM at the 2013 state meet in 2:03.77, just missing the Section II record of 2:03.25 logged by Richelle Depold of Scotia-Glenville in 1990.
Senior Elyse Piseczny of Mohonasen/Schalmont won the 11-dive competition at Saturday’s Mohonasen/Schalmont diving meet with a team-record 494.95 points, topping Annie Burdick of Bethlehem (481.60), Jane Rice of Saratoga Springs (440.80) and Maddy Chao of Albany Academy (425.10).
Lindsey Rowley of Queensbury was best among the six-dive particicants with a 174.85.