Schaghticoke girls thrive as 'one unit, one team'
New Milford closes the book on perfect middle-school basketball season
Just a few short years ago, interscholastic sports were not even a reality at Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford.
All that happily is history now.
The Schaghticoke girls' basketball echoed that statement with an exclamation point this winter with a 10-0 season.
The New Milford middle-school boys' quintet struggled to put everything together for much of the campaign but rose to the occasion in its final home game to register a 63-39 victory over Sherman.
"Our season was a success thanks to the dedicated student athletes and their parents, all working together," she said.
"Back when we first had sports re-instituted at SMS, most sports were fighting with the town travel teams for student participation and this included basketball," coach Blood noted.
Several years ago, she recounted, some parents brought the SMS basketball team together with the travel basketball teams.
"I remember back about four years ago when one of the travel coaches approached me to scrimmage the SMS team," coach Blood explained. "Now that would not be able to happen because all the teams are one unit, one team."
The Schaghticoke girls were rarely tested this season as they raced to their 10 triumphs.
"We all work together now, and clearly it is starting to pay off," concluded coach Blood, "This is a win/win for girls involved in the basketball programs here in New Milford. Being undefeated, that is just icing on the cake."
The Schaghticoke girls' team was comprised of eighth-graders Brianna Benz, Taylor Duffany, Gigi Fusco, Kara Golembeski, Christine Habjan, Lindsey Heaton, Allie Noteware and Kristi Osborne, and seventh-graders Karli Golembeski, Jordan Greiner, Kyla Helsel, Shannon Keaveney and Deanna Maurice.
The Schaghticoke boys similarly have the opportunity to double up with participation in the YBO program but not as many of the school players opted to do that.
Nevertheless, the squad demonstrated with its convicning Feb. 4 win over Sherman that improvement had been made this winter.
"This season offered many opportunities for the boys to develop both their individual and team skills," reported coach David Mumma. "Despite all of the challenges the boys faced, they made tremendous progress and had many moments of pride."
That memorable performance vs. neighboring Sherman, which had beaten Schaghticoke earlier this season, proved the highlight.
"They demonstrated great consistency on the defensive end, forcing Sherman to turn the ball over, which led to better scoring opportunities," coach Mumma said.
"Throughout the season, they always kept their heads up and stayed motivated to improve."
Participating with the Schaghticoke boys' team were eighth-graders girls team was comprised of Colm Farrell, Mikey Giudice, Greg Kenny, Jake Nelson, Alex Petersen, Jake Vaughey and Cameron Weiss, and seventh-graders Cameron Cunningham, Paul Dobies, Cooper Knight, Jared Nelson, Jackson Olson and Mark Ostner.
The Sherman School boys' team, coached by Stephen Rianhard, played its way to a 4-2 record thanks to the efforts of Monica Baxter, Olivia Beauragard, Rachael Cammarano, Claire Cardillo, Kyra Danish, Saige Grazia, Melanie Horkan, Emma Hunniford, Shannon Miller, Samantha Moravsky, Kelly Quinn Kierstyn Raines and Olivia Seegers. The Sherman girls, coached by Jeanine Lynch, finished 1-5 behind the hardcourt work of Luke Alexander, Robert Cammarano, Stephen Conrad, Antonio DiMaggio, Garrett Grill, Robbie Holub, Branden Kappes, Adrian Lekaj, Spencer Ranno, Hunter Seegers, Daniel Taylor, and Justin Zank.