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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
A Sectional and regional champion. A STAC Champion, and a team picking up their first playoff win in two decades.

You couldn’t ask for much more from area girls’ basketball teams this year, and now it’s time to recognize the area’s best with the All-Southern Tier Sports Report all-star team.

Elmira won the STAC title this year, and reached the sectional final, where they dropped a close game to Corning.

Jalea Abrams led all area scorers this season in scoring and she is the All-STSR Player of the year.

Abrams scored 21.2 points a game this year and added 2.9 steals a contest. She hit seven threes in a game and had an area high of 40 points in a win over Norwich. She led the region in scoring. “A gifted scorer, Yea led by example and had one of the best seasons in program history,” Elmira coach A’Don Allen said.

Corning had a dominant effort on the defensive end this year, and Jenna DiNardo led that effort and she is the defensive player of the year.

DiNardo was a force on defense, averaging five steals and seven rebounds a game. The junior added a team-best 14 points a game and five assists a game as she did everything for the Hawks. DiNardo’s athleticism was hard to match and the Division I commit in lacrosse was a driving force behind the Hawks’ success.

Edison’s Payton Littlefield was a force on offense all year, helping lead the Spartans to their first sectional win in two decades and she is the offensive player of the year.

Littlefield scored 18.5 points a game this year for the Spartans, second best among area players. She added 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game, while adding 2.3 steals. She made more than three threes a game this season.

Horseheads’ Megan Wolf had a big freshman year and she is the newcomer of the year, while Elmira’s Amarionah Dixon was always a spark off the bench and she is the sixth player of the year.

Allen calls Dixon the best sixth-player in the state. She averaged almost 10 rebounds a game off the bench and brought energy and the team’s swagger every game.

Wolf scored 104 points this year and had the assignment of guarding the other teams best players. She defended girls going to Penn State and Fordham and many players who will be all conference. selections. Coach Andy Scott describes her as a fierce competitor with a big will to win and a great young lady to coach.

Corning coach Jamie Nichols helped guide the Hawks to sectional and regional titles and into the state final four and he is the coach of the year.

The Terrific Ten All-STSR team includes Abrams, DiNardo and Littlefield.

The rest of the Terrific Ten includes Horseheads’ Sophia Bonnell and Carly Scott; Corning’s Alyssa Dobson and Kellie Zoerb; Ellmira’s Megan Fedor and Lauren Miller and Notre Dame’s Shannon Maloney.

Dobson scored 13 points with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals a game for Corning this year and Zoerb scored 10 points a game with seven rebounds. She added four assists and three steals a game for the regional champions.

Fedor scored 13.3 points a game and added 13 rebounds a game and led the team in every statistical category, other than scoring, this season. She had a school-record 23 rebounds against St. Mary’s.

Miller scored 9.2 points and added 4.4 rebounds a game and Allen said her leadership would be missed more than anything. She was the most consistent Express player down the stretch.

Maloney averaged 15.6 points a game this year and grabbed 174 rebounds, 53 on the offensive end. She had 60 assists 49 steals and 25 blocked shots as she did a little bit of everything for Notre Dame this year.

Scott led the Blue Raiders in scoring at 12.5 points a game. She led the team with 62 threes and broke the old school record of 52 threes twice (83 in 2020 and the 62 this year). She is the all-time three-point leader in school history with 191.

Bonnell averaged 10 points a game as a sophomore and hit 38 threes, including eight against Waverly and seven against Ithaca. She was the floor general for the Blue Raiders and she led the team in assists and was second in rebounds.

DiNardo headlines the all-defensive team, along with Edison’s Maren Lutz and Lexi Moore; Horseheads’ Alexis Guzylak and Lexi Lapierre of Corning.

Guzylak was one of the toughest and most reliable players that Horseheads coach Andy Scott has ever coached. She played strong inside all year and guarded the best forward on the other team. She was a team captain, along with Scott, and Andy Scott described her as a very positive, energetic, and fun to coach.

Lapierre grabbed four boards a game and added a steal a game for the Hawks and always put pressure on opposing offenses. She added eight points and two assists per game.

Both Lutz and Moore are seniors for the Spartans. Moore guarded the best opposing scorer anytime the team played man and averaged nearly three steals a game without the team pressing. Lutz always guarded the other team’s best post player in man and anchored the middle in zone. She led the team in rebounding at 7.6 board a game, while finishing second on the team at 10.4 points a game.

The rookie team is headed by Wolf and teammate Emma Kamas. The rest of the rookie team is Elmira’s Payton Ross, Edison’s Mariana Jones and Corning’s Kathryn Ouyang.

Rosse rejoined the Express after not having played since playing JV as a seventh grader. At 5-foot, 3-inches she made an impact scoring 4.5 points and adding 4.6 rebounds a game. Allen calls her pound for pound one of the toughest players in the area.

Jones was a key player off the bench for the Spartans this year. Ouyang hit some big shots down the stretch for Corning, including a pair of big threes in the sectional title win over Elmira.

Kamas was a big spark off the bench for the Blue Raiders this year and had some strong games down the stretch.

The all-unsung team of players who maybe don’t get all the spotlight, but played big roles in their teams success is Horseheads’ Emma Romanski, Corning’s Jayda Felker, Edison’s Gianna McGee, Notre Dame’s Lawson Bigelow and Edison’s Gabby Milazzo.

Felker hit one of the biggest shots all season for the Hawks, with a baseline jumper up two in the regional final to push the Corning lead to four as they went on for a two-point victory. She scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds a game, with three assists and one steal per contest.

Bigelow was a force in the paint for the Crusaders and really turned it on down the stretch. She had a pair of 20-plus point games for Notre Dame.

Romanski averaged eight points a game and had big games at Elmira and home against Johnson City to help lead the team to some big wins. She was a key in the second half of the season especially as teams focused on Scott and Bonnell. She is a versatile player that was able to play inside and out.

McGee scored 6.4 points a game and added 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game. After missing the seasons first couple games the Spartans defense really picked it up with her return.

Milazzo was a three-point threat for the Spartans who scored 2.4 points and grabbed 2.2 rebounds a game.

It’s not just the rookies who will be back next year, we also have a five to watch, one from each area team, of athletes to keep an eye on next year.

The five to watch are Elmira’s Ellie Clearwater, Corning’s Hannah Nichols, Horseheads’ Madisyn Matkosky, Notre Dame’s Allie O’Brien and Edison’s Harper Hoffman.

Hoffman was one of the best players for the Spartans down the stretch. The sophomore was fourth on the team at 7.7 points a game and added 5.1 rebounds a contest.

Matkosky could be the next standout guard for the Blue Raiders. She played a key role off the bench this year.

Nichols was a player who saw time off the bench for the Hawks as they won the sectional and regional titles and she could take on a bigger role next year.

O’Brien is an athletic guard who could really be a force for the Crusaders next year.

After missing the start of the season, Clearwater came back and played in 13 games this year and scored 2.5 points a contest. A deadeye outside shooter, she could be a breakout star to watch next year.

Player of the year: Jalea Abrams, Elmira
Defensive POY: Jenna DiNardo, Corning
Offensive POY: Payton Littlefield, Edison
Newcomer of the year: Megan Wolf, Horseheads
Sixth Player of the year: Amarionah Dixon, Elmira
Coach of the year: Jamie Nichols, Corning

Megan Fedor, Elmira
Shannon Maloney, ND
Sophia Bonnell, Horseheads
Carly Scott, Horseheads
Alyssa Dobson, Corning
Kellie Zoerb, Corning
Lauren Miller, Elmira

Jenna DiNardo, Corning
Maren Lutz, Edison
Lexi Moore, Edison
Alexis Guzylak, Horseheads
Lexi Lapierre, Corning

Payton Ross, Elmira
Megan Wolf, Horseheads
Mariana Jones, Edison
Emma Kamas, Horseheads
Kathryn Ouyang, Corning

Emma Romanski, Horseheads
Jayda Felker, Corning
Gianna McGee, Edison
Lawson Bigelow, ND
Gabby Milazzo, Edison

Ellie Clearwater, Elmira
Hannah Nichols, Corning
Madisyn Matkosky, Horseheads
Allie O’Brien, ND
Harper Hoffman, Edison
IN TOP PHOTO: Elmira’s Jalea Abrams. .. . PHOTO BY BRIAN FEES

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