B y Bill Toscano
Neither team finished with a winning record, but the Whitehall boys and girls basketball teams got some good news at the end of the season.
Both teams qualified at “Scholar Athlete” teams, meeting the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s standard of an average of 90 for a seven-person roster.
The girls finished with an average of 91.836 for their unweighted grades and had a total of eight athletes with averages of 90 or higher. Seniors Loren Martel, Katie Paddock and Lily Landon all had a quarter average of 96 or higher.
The boys were not too far behind, averaging 90.933. Junior Brett Christian and sophomore Josh Hoagland both topped 93 averages.
A quick look back
The boys team finished 4-14 overall and 3-13 in Adirondack League play. There were at least five or six other games when the Railroaders had a solid shot to win, and even in the losses, they always played hard until the end.
Success came when the Railroaders were able to get offensive rebounds. That is crucial with an outside shooting team. In one early season game, they had no offensive rebounds.
One of the real workhorses on the boards was Hoagland, a small but tough football and hockey player who used his body to out-rebound bigger players. The Railroaders had very few tall players.
Improvement was a key
“When we knew that we had a chance to win a game, the kids played well,” Redmond said. “The one thing we started to learn at the end of the year was how to finish a game and win a close one. We had a few games get away from us in the closing seconds. I hope that finishing on a positive note will carry over to next year and we will win all of the close games.”
Despite the long season, Redmond remained upbeat at the end.
“I was extremely pleased with how hard we played each night and the will to keep fighting until the end!! We have about 95 percent of our scoring back next year and with the help of our developing underclassman, we hope to be a more competitive team against all league teams next season.”
The team returns Richard Tisi, who led the league in three-pointers with 53, and his brother James, also a long-range shooter. In fact, most of the rest of the team is returning.
Strong second half
The girls went winless until just before the midpoint of the season and played much better the rest of the way, finishing 6-12 overall and 6-10 in the league. A year ago, the Railroaders played for the Adirondack League title, but outstanding senior Brittany St. Clair graduated, and the coaching staff moved on.
Paddock, one of the league’s top scorers, was a key for the Railroaders, who also lose sharpshooter Martel, Paige Mason and Landon, a first-year senior who made a number of valuable contributions.
The Railroaders were at their best when they got balanced scoring rather than depending solely on Paddock.
Putorti, a sophomore, showed a great deal of potential, and Brianna McDonald should be a team leader as a senior next year.