As we move into late January two area girls basketball teams are undefeated and there are a couple of other good teams with a handful of losses.
Canastota and Hamilton remain unbeaten and both the Raiders and Emerald Knights are state ranked. Canastota (14-0), which pulled out a close win over Adirondack Saturday, is No. 17 in Class B. Hamilton, also 14-0, is No. 3 in Class D.
The Raiders and Emerald Knights' undefeated records are a surprise because this year is a down season for Utica area teams, especially in the Center State Conference. Canastota is in CSC II and Hamilton plays in CSC III.
I have not seen Canastota play this season, I'm working on it, but I saw Hamilton Thursday night at Rome Catholic. Rome Catholic played physical against Hamilton and gave the Emerald Knights all they could handle well into the fourth quarter. Rome Catholic's strategy worked because they had plenty of post players to throw at Hamilton, and because Emerald Knights guard Jess Brawn sat out much of the second half with foul trouble. Brawn's absence put a lot on the shoulders of forward/center Kylie Martin, but the senior scored nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep Hamilton undefeated.
"I really wanted to work low and power up and draw some fouls because that's what we needed," said Martin, who was dripping with sweat after the win.
New Hartford also played a physical game against a bigger Whitesboro team in a Tri Valley League game Friday. Whitesboro outscored New Hartford 17-0 during a 10:30 stretch of the second half to remain undefeated in the TVL. The Warriors, who have depth in the post, did a quick turnaround and beat TVL foe Camden Saturday afternoon to move to 11-0 in the league.
Whitesboro coach Patrick Reader is a Camden graduate and he used a lineup that might be something to watch during the postseason. Reader played 6-foot senior forward-center Betsy Gadziala at the point and went to a big lineup against the Blue Devils. Gadizala, who signed to play at Division I Monmouth University in November, is athletic and can handle the ball. Giving Gadziala the ball gives Whitesboro options. For one, it makes Gadziala harder to defend and if 5-11 sophomore Francesca Cotrupe and 5-10 sophomore Sonya Zielinski play well the Warriors are a much deeper team.
Thoughts on other teams:Thomas R. Proctor
- Raiders have arguably the area's best player in sophomore guard Bri Kiesel and have won 7 of 8 after a nonleague win against Notre Dame Saturday. The Raiders are playing well at the right time and need to get production from post players in support of Kiesel, a Division I prospect.Mohawk
- Class C Mohicans are not ranked in the state, despite a win this week over CSC I rival Little Falls, which is No. 5. Mohawk are athletic and have players with good basketball sense but the team seems to be streaky.Clinton
- Class B Warriors are ranked 16th in the state and are playing better since return of athletic senior guard Allie Donovan. I saw Clinton in an early season win over Waterville and my attempts to watch them again have been thwarted by snow. Donovan was all over the court in the November win against Waterville and she was the reason they won. The Warriors struggled for a time when she went out with an ankle injury before Christmas, but rallied with a convincing victory against then-unbeaten Little Falls at the Little Falls Tournament. Senior Lauren Conway is among TVL scoring leaders.