We're waiting on the Section III girls basketball pairings to be released. Should be any time, now, from what I was told late in the week. In the meantime, here's some thoughts on the tournament, which starts with first-round games Friday and Saturday.Class AA:
Thomas R. Proctor sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel is in the mix for best player in Section III. Here's hoping the Raiders do more than 1-and-done people can see her play. I'm not sure Utica-area fans she a lot of Kiesel (area's leading scorer at 22.6 ppg) with the Raiders playing in the Syracuse-based Central New York Counties League. Proctor will need post production to take pressure off Kiesel in order to make waves here.Class A:
Whitesboro (16-4) looks to be the No. 1 seed, but Warriors coach Patrick Reader doesn't think his team is the favorite to win the school's first girls basketball Section III title. Jamesville-DeWitt, Mexico, Indian River and Carthage are all tough, Reader said. Reader said Mexico is the team to beat but J-D has a win over the Tigers, who feature 3-point threat Cassi Hall and Empire State Games player Chrissy Sawyer. Reader coached Sawyer on the ESG Central scholastic team.
"Their division (Onondaga High School League Freedom Division) is a lot like the Big East (men)," Reader said. "They beat up on each other."Class B:
Belongs to state-power and two-loss South Jefferson. The Spartans' only defeat was Feb. 2 against Class A Carthage. Class B also looks to be split. South Jefferson will be in B-1 and could be challenged by Cazenovia and Westhill. Class B-2 will include 20-0 Canastota, Sherburne-Earlville (16-4) and Clinton (16-4). Senior Liz McGinley has lead Canastota all year, and the Raiders are getting key contributions from players new to varsity such as junior Alicia Hibbard. TVL West division champion Clinton played very well in its season finale against Camden. On a night when leading scorer Lauren Conway didn't score because of foul trouble, Miranda McDaniel and Kati Griffiths had big nights. Griffiths was 9-of-12 from the field with a career high 25 points. McDaniel, a 5-11, 6-foot post player, was 8-of-12 with 16 points.Class C:
Looks like there will be a split-class format. This happens whenever there are more than 16 teams in the tournament. Class C really represents the whole tournament, there isn't one dominant team that is a sure-fire bet to win. Little Falls, Bishop Grimes, Mohawk, Onondaga and Weedsport might be among the favorites.Class D:
Also a competitive class, led by probable No. 1 seed Hamilton (19-0) and ranked third in the state. Defending Class D champion Sackets Harbor, ranked 11th, will also be in the mix as will Richfield Springs and Madison, which has won all year with balanced scoring. Being undefeated at this point, when a first loss ends the season, isn't a source of pressure for Hamilton coach Jessica Poole and the Emerald Knights.
"We're excited and the accomplishment is awesome," Poole said. "Now we're looking ahead and looking at the big picture."
Senior Kylie Martin has really been a leader for the Emerald Knights. The versatile and athletic Martin is averaging in the range of 18 points and 9 rebounds per game. Martin's contributions have really been big because Hamilton has been without senior guard Jess Brawn for six games. Brawn, who transferred from the Philadelphia area to stay with relatives, was out for the first four games while paperwork was processed. She also missed two games late in the year with illness and academic issues that resulted from the absences, Poole said.
Playing very steady all year for Hamilton has been sophomore Jordan Peterson. Peterson, in her third varsity season, is one to watch for the Emerald Knights. At 5-foot-9, she is the team's leading rebounder (10 rpg).