HEUVELTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - There have been some pretty good girls basketball teams from the north country to win state titles, but one team has accomplished something on the hardwood that may never be matched by 3-peating as state champs: the Heuvelton Lady Bulldogs.
The Heuvelton Lady Bulldogs did just that in 2015, 2016 and 2017, capturing the State Class D title.
“I think the biggest thing was that everybody bought in to what we were doing, everybody bought into the systems, everybody got into the gym as much as they could in the off season and really put the work in. And then when the season did start, you know, it was very rare that anybody missed any practices. People fought through everything. We made sure we were there every day, we were there for each other, and you know, that sounds cliche, but we always believed in each other. We knew together we could accomplish a lot,” said Heuvelton Girls Basketball Coach Rob Powers.
The run to 3 straight titles was led by Paige McCormick, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the State Class D tournament as a sophomore, junior and senior and went on to play college basketball at Division 1 UMass.
“I had people say ‘Coach, did you know she was Division 1?’ And I said it before, I’m like, ‘I didn’t know she was D-1 cause I’d never seen one up close before.’ But she has obviously gone on to do fantastic things at UMass, and that team was pretty special. We ended up having as of right now, we have 5 kids off that last year’s team playing college basketball or about to with Rayna Cameron signing at J.C.C. So yeah, Paige is pretty special, and you still watch the games and she’s always the first one up off the bench, she’s an incredible supporter when she’s not in the game and she really doesn’t get outworked,” said Powers.
“It was so much fun and it was a great thing to be a part of, and I think my playing on those teams is bringing me, I guess, the mindset of what I want to find, too. Those teams were great and I was completely happy and I loved every single one of my teammates. And yeah, it was just an amazing run. So I think it was the base of my career,” said McCormick.
One thing Powers says helped fuel those title runs was the 6th man in the stands. Support from not only the school and the Heuvelton community, but Section 10 as well.
“A lot of it I think is we just didn’t let the community down. We got so much support from the community from just Heuvelton and all of Section 10 really that we really felt obligated. Not only to ourselves, obviously. We wanted to win it for ourselves, but we were really playing for everybody,” said Powers.
In the last 12 years, 5 of the State Class D Girls Basketball Champions have come from Section 10, with Hammond winning back to back titles in 2007 and 2008 and Heuvelton’s titles in 2015, ’16 and ’17. Something Powers says is a credit to the talent in Section 10.
“Yeah, maybe it’s cause we’re so far north there’s not a lot to do in the summertime so everybody’s in the gym playing ball still, I don’t know. Yeah, there’s a pretty good shot if you come out of Section 10 in Class D you got a shot at making some noise downstate,” said Powers.
The 2015, ’16 and ’17 Huevelton Lady Bulldogs basketball teams- One of the best, if not the best, high school squads to come out of the north country.
Some welcome news from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefing Sunday. The governor announced low-risk youth sports can resume under Phase 3 of reopening, starting July 6th.
Those sports include baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, cross country, and crew with 2 individuals per child allowed as spectators.
Rumors were laid to rest about the name of the newly renovated building the S.U. football, basketball and lacrosse teams play in.
In a press release earlier in the week, talking about the S.U. Men’s Basketball team adding UMBC to their schedule on November 10th, the word ‘dome’ or ‘Carrier Dome’ was not used. It was replaced by ‘the stadium’.
This raised speculation about whether the university had dropped the name. But S.U. Athletic Director John Wildhack put an end to those rumors in a zoom interview a few days ago.
“Obviously, we’re excited about the opening in the fall. We’ve talked about it for 2 years a new stadium experience, but the name of the facility is the Carrier Dome, and the name remains the Carrier Dome, it’s on the Carrier Dome so that’s the answer to that question,” said Wildhack.