It would be easy for Coach Rich Burger to cry “Wait till next year” after losing eight players to graduation from last season’s highly competitive club that split 18 ballgames.
But the fourth-year Suffern High School girls basketball mentor, who played the sport four years at Pearl River HS under Coach Jerry Houston Jr., is buoyed by the return of three steady starters and a bevy of underclassmen who fashioned a nifty 10-4 mark on the season under Coach Alexis Fibble of Suffern.
“We’re very young and small, but very fast. We’ll be playing a much different style than in the past, but it’s fun,” said an enthusiastic Burger, whose Mounties opened practice on Monday and who start the regular season on December 1 in the Tappan Zee Tipoff Tournament.
(Suffern will meet Pelham at 4:15 p.m., followed by the host going against Beacon. Suffern’s home opener is scheduled on December 7 at 6 p.m. against Horace Greeley.)
Last year’s .500 record is quite deceiving if you look beyond the results. Suffern lost at the buzzer to John Jay-East Fishkill in the opening round of the postseason tournament, and had beaten Pearl River, which eventually went to the Westchester County Center, during the regular season. Other games were closely fought, but a new day dawns with a host of new varsity performers to complement three key returnees, along with senior returnee Natalie Shedler, a forward-center.
Forward Caleigh Cahoon of Sloatsburg returns for her senior season as a forward after earning all-league honors and honorable mention all-section. A three-time all-section selection in soccer, Cahoon will continue her playing career at Nazareth College in Pittsford.
Abby Bosco, who will play lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League, also is returning along with junior Elizabeth Ellsworth.
Elevated from the junior varsity is a contingent of guards: Allie Goldstein, Kailey Brenner and Delaney Hall of Sloatsburg; freshman Grace Krebs and eighth-grader Sydney Goldstein, Allie’s sister.
The biggest deficit appears to be in the rebounding department, but here again Burger accepts it as a stoic just might.
“It will be tough; we’ll give it a try. As I said, we’ll be playing a different style, but it’s fun,” concluded Burger, who still remembers an upset over state-ranked Nanuet in his scholastic days.
Win or lose, let the fun begin.
BRIEFLY: The intrepid Pearl River HS girls soccer team, which upended Somers, 2-1, in the Section 1 Class A title game, lost to Spencerport in a state semifinal at Tompkins Cortland Community College. The Pirates had beaten Goshen in the regional final. … The Suffern HS boys volleyball team withstood a severe challenge from upset-minded Clarkstown North to win its eighth Section 1 title in nine years. The Mounties, who dropped two of the first three sets, responded in the final two sets in decisive 25-15, 25-16 fashion behind the play of senior Evan Margolin and junior Nick Cimillo. … Powered by freshmen Kaitlyn Tuohy and Haleigh Morales, who finished second and eighth, respectively, the North Rockland girls cross country team placed second in Class A at the state meet at Chenango State Park. Villanova-bound Alex Harris was 14th. Kamryn McIntosh of Suffern was 20th, while Mary Borkoski of Pearl River took 16th and Alexandra Thomas of Tappan Zee was 35th.
COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Albertus Magnus HS alum Luke Kern of Stony Point turned in another strong effort as The Catholic University of America football season ended with a 50-13 loss to Bridgewater in Washington, D.C. Kern, a junior, had 11 tackles to finish the season as the leader in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) among defensive backs and fifth overall. The Cardinals will leave the ODAC next season to join the New England Men’s and Women’s Conference. … Tappan Zee HS alumna Brigid Mckenna, a junior, is a sprint/butterfly specialist on the women’s swim team at Purchase College. The Panthers (3-3) visit Lehman College in the Bronx on Nov. 19 at noon. … Shannon Thomas of Rockland Community College was named the Most Valuable Player in women’s volleyball in the Mid-Hudson Conference while teammate Sarah Hayward was named to the all-Conference first team. … The Dominican College men’s basketball team hosts the 5th annual Daniel Sullivan Memorial Tournament, meeting LIU Post on Nov. 18 and Mercy College on Nov. 19, with both games at 8 p.m. Chris Pierson and E. J. Smith, both of Nyack, are sophomore guards for Coach Joe Clinton, who is into his 26th season in charge of the Chargers. The Lady Chargers will also be at home on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 with 1 p.m. contests against NYIT and Bridgeport, respectively, in the 4th annual Regina Rivera Memorial Tournament. North Rockland HS alumna Ciera Rivera of Pomona is a sophomore forward for Coach Bill Diener. … The men’s basketball team at St. Thomas Aquinas College, which defeated the University of New Haven, 82-66, at the Spartans Tip-off Classic at Aquinas Hall in Sparkill for its second victory of the season, hosts cross-town rival Dominican College at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22. Freshman guard Marc Dorsainvil of Spring Valley is awaiting his debut for Coach Tobin Anderson, whose team is the defending East Coast Conference champion and ranked 2nd nationally in the Sporting News preseason poll. The Lady Chargers, who also won their first two games under Coach Kim Lusk, were to meet Concordia today and then visit Nyack on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. Tappan Zee HS graduate Jillian Lynch of Palisades is a sophomore guard for STAC, while North Rockland HS graduate Alex Bertolino of Garnerville is a junior guard.
THIS & THAT: The legacy of the late North Rockland legend Ralph Cordisco continues with the inaugural presentation of the Ralph Cordisco Memorial Rockland County Lifetime Achievement Award to three-time sports Hall of Famer Jerry Bonomolo. An informal luncheon will be held Friday (Nov. 18) at Kennelly’s Grille House, 962 Route 9W South, Congers, from noon to 2 p.m. Cost is $25 per person payable in cash at the door. Reply to [email protected] or 551-427-2951 (cell). … Nick Roosa, a one-time member of the track & field team at Tappan Zee HS, turned in a sparkling 55th-place finish at the NYC Marathon. Roosa clocked 2:33 in a field of more than 50,000 runners. …Jimmy and Eleanor Kane, who have devoted close to seven decades to Rockland County sports, will receive the Rockland County YMCA Service to Youth Award on December 1 at The Nyack Seaport. Tickets are $100 each, with the cocktail hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. Contact Eileen Carson at 845-358-0632 or [email protected].