SOUTHERN TIER SPORTS REPORT: ABRAMS HEADLINES ALL-STSR GIRLS' BASKETBALL TEAM
(2023-03-18)By Brian FeesSouthern Tier Sports Report
There were some big performances this basketball season and that led to some tough choices for this year’s All-Southern Tier Sports Report Terrific 10 basketball team.
Elmira’s Jalea Abrams has had a dominant career and she is this year’s player of the year for the second straight year.
Abrams scored a school record 483 points this season and ended her career with 1,397 points, which is good for second all-time in Elmira history. Abrams averaged 26.8 points a game and 3.3 steals per game on the season.
Edison’s Payton Littlefield is this year’s offensive player of the year. She averted 21.4 points a game, along with 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals a game for the Spartans.
Corning’s Jenna DiNardo is the winner of the new Ultimate Competitor Award. There may be no player in the state who plays with the drive that DiNardo does. Whether it’s in lacrosse, volleyball or basketball she is always 100% at all times. A three-sport star, she helped lead her team to Section IV titles in volleyball, basketball and lacrosse in her career. She’s been to the state final four in basketball as a junior and volleyball this year. She’s a Division I signee to play lacrosse at Virginia. She averaged 12.4 points, six boards and four steals a game.
Molly Wolf of Horseheads is the defensive player of the year. She did a little bit of everything for the Blue Raiders and was a hard working, tough player who often defended players much bigger.
Talk about facing players much bigger, Elmira’s Payton Ross was about 5-feet, 3-inches tall and she led her team in rebounding at 6.4 a game, including four offensive rebounds a game. She’s the hustle player of the year.
The Blue Raiders’ Jordyn Gross led her team with 10.5 rebounds a game and scored seven points a game, including 20 in the sectional semifinal against Maine-Endwell. The six-foot sophomore improved each game and is the newcomer of the year.
Horseheads coach Andy Scott is the coach of the year. He helped guide the Blue Raiders to the division title and then a STAC Championship.
The Terrific 10 features Abrams, Littlefield, DiNardo and Gianna McGee of Edison.
Horseheads’ Sophia Bonnell and Megan Wolf, Corning’s Alyssa Dobson and Jayda Felker, Elmira’s Ellie Clearwater and Mallory Sheehan and Shannon Maloney are part of the Terrific 10.
The all-defensive team features Wolf and DiNardo, along with McGee and Maloney. The other member of the all-defensive team is Laila Burchard of Elmira, who turned strong defense into a starting spot late in the season for the Express.
Burchard, who took on a big role as the year went on for Elmira is one of the five to watch next year along with Harper Hoffmann of Edison, who emerged as one of the top post players in the area as the year went on.
Maddie Matkosky of Horseheads emerged as one of the best shooters in the area down the stretch and she’s on the five to watch, along with Edison’s Charlee Stroman and Hannah Nichols of Corning.
Nichols, as a junior, scored six points a game and hit 33% from three and Stroman scored nearly five points and added five boards a game. She added 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals a game and became a key offensive contributor in the second half of the year for the Spartans. PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Jalea Abrams, ElmiraOFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Payton Littlefield, EdisonDEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Molly Wolf, Horseheads ULTIMATE COMPETITOR AWARD:
Jenna DiNardo, CorningHUSTLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Payton Ross, ElmiraNEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
Jordyn Gross, HorseheadsCOACH OF THE YEAR:
Andy Scott, Horseheads PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
JALEA ABRAMS, ELMIRA, SR.
Player of the Year: Jalea Abrams 26.8 points per game, 3.3 steals per game. Jalea scored a school record 483 points per game this season and ended here career with 1397 which is good for second all-time behind Zaria Demember-Shazer. Jalea was constantly double and tripled and despite that was the area's best scorer. Her scoring kept up in games, and brought us back in games. She was the undisputed leader of our team. Was the BCANY Class AA Section IV player of the year.
TERRIFIC 10OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
PAYTON LITTLEFIELD, EDISON, JR.
Averaged 21.4 points a game, along with six rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals a game. Did that while being every opponents main focus on the defensive end. She faced box and one defense well over 50% of the games the Spartans played in. Was a first-team all-BCANY Section IV first-team player. ULTIMATE COMPETITOR AWARD:
JENNA DINARDO, CORNING, SR.:
There may be no player in the state who plays with the drive that DiNardo does. Whether it’s in lacrosse, volleyball or basketball she is always 100% at all times. A three-sport star, she helped lead her team to Section IV titles in volleyball, basketball and lacrosse in her career. She’s been to the state final four in basketball as a junior and volleyball this year. She’s a Division I signee to play lacrosse at Virginia. She helps will her teams to levels that didn’t seem possible. She was one of the best players in the entire postseason anywhere in the state last year when Corning’s basketball team made the state final four, and this volleyball season she was again one of the best players in the state throughout the playoffs. She averaged 12.4 points a game, along with six rebounds a contest. Was a force on defense, averaging four steals a game for the Hawks. A first-team BCANY all-star. GIANNA MCGEE, EDISON, SR.
Averaged 11.9 points a game, along with seven boards, 2.7 assists and three steals a game.
Led the spartans in rebounding from her guard position and was instrumental to the team’s defense. The team’s season turned around on the defensive end of the floor when she moved to the top of the zone. She got her hands on so many balls that led to steals for her, or her teammates, or disturbed the flow of their offense. SOPHIA BONNELL, HORSEHEADS, JR.
Averaged 14 points per game. 4 assists per game and 5 rebounds. Nailed 57 three pointers which was third best in school history for a season, behind Carly Scott (2020 + 2022)...Had a fantastic assist to turnover ratio. Took care of the ball and was our catalyst on offense. Hit huge shots to seal wins vs Corning for a Division Championship; Chenango Valley for a win in the STAC Semi in 3 OT
and some big moments vs Johnson City in the STAC Championship. Consistent and valued the ball and defensively played awesome all year. The complete package who led us to a remarkable season. Your best players find ways to win championships, and that's exactly what she did. Work ethic in the off-season was second to none. Great role model for younger players. A first-team all BCANY Section IV selection. MEGAN WOLF, HORSEHEADS, SO.
You won't meet a more fierce competitor than Megan. One of the best defensive players in Section 4 and has great length, lateral movement and anticipates better than anyone we've had in a long time here at Horseheads. Night in and night out she was assigned the opponents best offensive player and she always did a great job holding her well under the average. Plays with passion and fire every second. Offensively, averaged 13.5 PPG. Ripped down 5 rebounds and led the team in steals and deflections. Shot 70% from the line including a 16-18 performance at Chenango Valley to help us win in 3 OT. Also knocked down 23 Three pointers. Versatile because she could hit from outside or blow by you off the bounce. Great all around player. Made huge strides this year. BCANY 2nd Team selection. Great having her on our team!!
ALYSSA DOBSON, CORNING, SR.:
Averaged 15.9 points a contest and six rebounds a game. Went over 1,000 career points in her final career game. A first team BCANY all-Section IV selection. JAYDA FELKER, CORNING, SR.:
Averaged 11 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Was an inside presence for the Hawks, who could also step out and hit a jumper from the perimeter. SHANNON MALONEY, ND, SR.:
Averaged a double-double this year, putting up 18.4 points a game and 14.3 rebounds a game for the Crusaders. Put up 3.1 steals a game, while getting 4.1 deflections a game on the season.MALLORY SHEEHAN, ND, JR.:
Averaged 11.2 points a game this season, along with 2.4 deflections and 1.75 steals a game. One of the most improved players in the area as she doubled her scoring average from the year before. ELLIE CLEARWATER, ELMIRA, JR.:
11.8 ppg, 4.5 rebs 3.5 asts, 2.3 steals. Ellie did so much for us this season. She was the team’s 2nd leading scorer, but led us in assists, blocks and was 2nd in steals and 4th in rebounds from her guard position. She is known as a scorer/shooter, but her entire floor game showed this year. CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
MOLLY WOLF, HORSEHEADS, SR.
In my opinion, the glue that held our team together, said Horseheads coach Andy Scott. Didn't have to be the leading scorer, but was always the player who gave the best effort night in and night out. Defended the best forward or guard on the other team and always came out on top. She was able to outwork bigger players and was just as fast as any guard in the league. Defended some of the best players in section 4 and held them well below average. Grabbed 9 rebounds a game and was one of the best players I've had as far as boxing out and playing fundamentally. Second on the team in steals and deflections. Offensively, she shot 42% from the field and had big double figure scoring games in a win at Elmira, on Senior Night vs Vestal and in the sectional semi-final @ Maine-Endwell. She is the toughest and hardest working kid I've coached on the defensive end since 2019 and was definitely our most valuable player to show that it's not always about scoring. Kids like Molly are the difference makers in successful seasons. Kids that buy in to the defensive philosophy and are reliable deserve to be recognized. Nobody worked harder!!HUSTLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
PAYTON ROSS, ELMIRA, SR.
At about 5'3 Payton was pound for pound the toughest girl on our team. She was this year's best rebounder averaging almost 4 offensive rebounds per game. Averaged 4.2 points, 6.4 rebounds per game. NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
JORDYN GROSS, HORSEHEADS, SO.
The 6-foot, first-year varsity player who became one of the most impactful players in the league as the season progressed. At first she was a little tentative and was still trying to catch up to the speed. Once January 1st hit, she was a difference maker for us. Led the team in rebounds with 10.5 per game. Averaged 7 points per game, including 20 points in a Sectional semi final vs Maine-Endwell to finish the season. She led our team in rebounds and blocks and shot 46% from the field. By far one of the difference makers with her size. Worked really hard every day in practice, and then would do extra workouts afterwards. Has a huge upside with this season under her belt. What she accomplished in her first year of varsity was very impressive. She started out timid and turned into one of the best players in the league.
FIVE TO WATCH
Hannah Nichols, Corning, Jr.:
Charlee Stroman, Edison, Jr.
Harper Hoffmann, Edison, Jr.
Laila Burchard, Elmira, Jr.
Maddie Matkosky, Horseheads, Jr. DEFENSIVE TEAM
Molly Wolf, Horseheads
Jenna DiNardo, Corning
Gianna McGee, Edison
Shannon Maloney, ND
Laila Burchard, Elmira
PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES
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