Sunday Sports: State Final 4 Basketball sees 2 NAC teams with sights on titles

Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 9:33 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The State Final 4 in both boys’ and girls’ basketball is now set and 2 Northern Athletic Conference teams have their sights set on state titles this coming weekend.

On the boys’ side, the Canton Golden Bears punched their ticket to the State Class C Final 4 on Saturday as they defeated Chatham 64-59 at SUNY Potsdam.

Eyil Odetoyinbo led Canton in the win with 19 points.

With the win, the Golden Bears improved to 17-6 on the season and will now meet Haldane of Section 1 on Friday morning at 9:30 AM at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls with a trip to the state championship game on Saturday on the line.

On the girls’ side, one lone team is left standing.

The number one team in the state in Class D, the Hammond Lady Red Devils, beat Poland 63-33 on Friday night at SUNY Potsdam to punch their ticket to the State Final 4.

Landree Kenyon led the way for Hammond in the win with 28 points and 15 rebounds.

The 20-1 Lady Red Devils will now square off against Panama of Section 6 on Saturday at 9 AM at Hudson Valley Community College with a trip to the championship on the line.

In women’s college lacrosse, 15th ranked St. Lawrence hosted Stevens.

Neve Ley gets SLU on the board: Stevens up 3-1.

Then it was Dana Fernandez finding the mark: St. Lawrence down 1.

Ley scores her 2nd goal of the day, tying the game at 3.

Charlotte Powell gives St. Lawrence it’s first lead of the day, but Stevens upsets 15th ranked St. Lawrence 18-8.

Despite Sunday’s loss, the Lady Saints feel they can repeat the success they had last season and make a run at a Liberty League title and an NCAA tournament bid this season.

The Lady Saints are coming off a 2022 season that saw the team post a 16-3 overall record, 9-1 in Liberty League play, and make it to the NCAA tournament under 1st year Head Coach Chelsea Martin.

”I was really fortunate last spring that we had a lot of success. You know, really just started with one game, got some momentum going and were really able to build some confidence. We had some great leadership in the upperclassmen and the seniors,” said Martin.

The Lady Saints are looking to build off that success this season with a roster dotted with youth and experience led by senior captains Kate Wilson and Rachel Burke.

Wilson says despite losing a number of key players from last years team, expectations are high this season.

”I would say that we have really strong leadership across the field, and not just from the captains or in the senior class. It’s exciting to see juniors stepping up, sophomores and even freshman that are gonna see some time this year which is always very exciting,” said Wilson.

The players and coaches both feel the team is balanced on both the offensive and defensive side and Burke says that benefits the team not only in games, but during practice as well.

”I think it’s obviously a great asset to have in the middle of a game, but I think it’s huge in practice. Having the opportunity to have a really strong attack go against a really strong defense every single day will only prepare us for the rest of the season,” said Burke.

The players say one thing they admire about Martin is her passion for the game, and they say that reflects in their style of play. It’s something Martin says she learned from one of her former colleagues.

”I think if anyone’s ever seen me coach on the sideline, that I’m extremely animated. One of the coaches that I use to coach with gave me a piece of advice and it was “Show them you care about them and show them your passion.” So that’s what I try to do as a coach. Very passionate sometimes on the sideline. I would have to apologize to the officials that that passion might shine through a little bit more than others sometimes,” said Martin.

Look for the Lady Saints to be at the top of the Liberty League standings once again this season.

A former Carthage All-American received the highest honor an athlete could Saturday at the JMA Wireless Dome.

Mike Powell, a 4 time All-American, 2 time Tewaararton Award winner, and the program’s all-time leading scorer, had his number 22 jersey raised to the rafters.

Powell joins another Orange great, men’s coach Gary Gait, as the only Syracuse lacrosse players having their numbers retired.

Powell talked about what made him so successful in his 4 years with Syracuse, which included 2 national championships.

“As a player, playing for Syracuse is a different thing, totally different animal. Coming from Carthage, a small town, into a big campus. What happened was the Simmons family and the Desko’s and kind of the culture that’s baked into Syracuse lacrosse, it gets into your system. I fed right into it,” said Powell.

A new era in Syracuse Men’s Basketball began on Friday, when former Orange player, and current assistant coach, Adrian Autry was named the head basketball coach, replacing Jim Boeheim, who stepped down after 47 seasons leading the program.

Autry, who joined the Syracuse staff in 2011, says some things will change with him at the helm.

”The Orange standard is the history of winning, the history of playing hard and competing for championships. The history of resilience, determination and grit. As I take over this program as the head coach, it is these standards that will guide us into the future. I am a new voice, a new face with new ideas, but the standards that have helped build this program will not change,” said Autry.