The 2021 All-Central New York girls basketball teams consist of 22 players — 11 each on the small school (Class B, C and D) and large school (Class AA and A) teams and two coaches of the year.
The the small school Player of the Year candidates are Sydney Lusher, Oneida; Suzie Nemec, Weedsport; Jackie Piddock, South Jefferson; and Katie MacLachlan, Marcellus.
The winner is scheduled to be announced virtually at our annual All-CNY High School Awards celebration on June 24.
Name: Avianna Baker
School: Onondaga Central
Position: Point guard
Season statistics: 16.4 points per game, 89 steals, 89 assists
What’s next: Attending and continuing my basketball career in college.
Best moment of the season: Hitting 1K with my best friend!
Who (or what) inspires you? My uncle who passed away is definitely who I do it for. Also my dad. Having me at such a young age, he definitely had to grow up a lot faster and work so much harder for everything and anything he has. He is such a hard and dedicated worker and always has been, and I definitely want to carry those traits on.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? With everything going on and so many challenges faced, it still turned out to be THE best season I’ve had. My team chemistry and the support from everyone was amazing, as was hitting 1K in the circumstances that I was given. Never was there a dull moment with my girls, and I will truly miss my amazing team and coaches.
Name: Morgan Brewer
Position: Shooting guard
Season Statistics: 173 points, 17.3 points per game, 111 rebounds, 11 assists, 13 blocks
What’s next: I will be attending the University of Scranton in the fall to continue my basketball career and major in kinesiology.
Best moment of the season: Scoring my 1,000th point or beating Oneida for the first time in five years. Beating your rival is always fun.
Who (or what) inspires you? Alexa Kiser. She had a huge impact on my basketball career.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season: Being so excited to just play basketball again. I remember when we were finally able to start passing the ball to each other and I never thought I’d be so happy to do something so simple. Also, the time and memories made with my team. We would have themed practices and our yearly midnight madness practice. We are a really close team and enjoy being with each other. We still get food and have team bondings even though the season is over. Defiantly going to remember the laughs and good times with all of them.
Name: Tessa Cole
Position: Point guard
Season Statistics: 7 games, 149 total points, 20 assists, 54 rebounds, 16 3-point shots, 39 steals, 12 blocked shots
What’s next: I plan to attend Hamilton College and continue my basketball career.
Best moment of the season? Breaking my school’s all-time female scoring record.
Who (or what) inspires you? My family, coaches, and teammates.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? The excitement of having a season when I thought it wasn’t possible. After playing only four games, our team had to quarantine. We felt instantly deflated and could have given up, but we held on to hope for at least one or two games before the end of an already condensed season. What I will forever remember are the memories created in our nightly team calls. Our team chemistry was one of the best that I have experienced in my basketball career. When I look back on my senior year, I won’t remember our record, but I will always remember our team unity, the laughs, and the genuine support we shared for each other.
Name: Maryellen Coleman
Season statistics: 149 points, 21.3 ppg, 92 rebounds, 6 assists, 9 steals, 20 blocks, 63-94 FG, 2-8 3PT, 17-36 FT
What’s next: United States Navy
Best moment of the season: Being able to play!
Who (or what) inspires you? My mom.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? I will always remember this pandemic season, not only because it was my last year but because of how laid back it was. Every player was out there to have fun and play the sport that they love. Not having the constant pressure to win or even get to sectionals really, in my opinion, made everyone connect with their teammates, the sport, and most importantly challenge themselves as a player. This final season of mine was by far the most memorable and I wish all of my fellow teammates and every other player the best of luck! Cherish every opportunity you get and never stop pushing.
Name: Raegan Dalrymple
Season statistics: 206 points, 127 rebounds, 26 assists, 19 blocks, 49 steals
What’s next: Finishing high school and then looking into JCC for college or somewhere else. It depends on what I decide within the next year.
Best moment of the season: All the moments because we didn’t know if we were going to have a season and we didn’t know if every game could be our last of the season.
Who (or what) inspires you? My sister, Riley Dalrymple. She is a female wrestler at Life University in Georgia. Her progress and dedication inspire me to work harder.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? I will always remember this shorter season we got because we got one last chance to play with our seniors. Going into this pandemic season we knew it was going to be different and shorter. We knew we wanted to have fun and make the most of it, and it was indeed.
Name: Grace Dow
Season statistics: 151 points, 113 rebounds, 16 assists, 26 blocks, 23 steals
What’s next: Graduate high school and continue my basketball career at Roberts Wesleyan College.
Best moment of the season: Just being able to play my senior year even though my season was shortened and we couldn’t have fans.
Who (or what) inspires you? The constant love and support from my family and the challenge to always improve my game.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? How thankful and blessed I am. This season put into perspective what is important in my life and that I’m not always going to be able to play basketball. I am now more motivated to put in everything I have because we never know when it can be taken away. Also, the lack of logic involved with some Covid rules.
Name: Hayleigh Gates
School: Mount Markham
Position: Guard/Point guard
Season Statistics: 356 points, 22.2 ppg, 95 rebounds, 30 assists, 77 steals, 31 blocks, 86-209 FG, 42/143 3PT, 58/88 FT
What’s next: I have been accepted into Paul Smith’s College where I will be majoring in wildlife and fisheries to become a forest ranger, and I will also be playing on the women’s soccer and basketball teams.
Best moment of the season: I knew that there was a possibility that I’d score my 1,000th point this year, but I kept my focus away from my stats throughout the season. I didn’t know how close I was until the night before a home game against Poland when I was told that I was only 10 points away. That night and into the next morning, I was anxious and excited for my upcoming game; that was until our team group chat began to blow up with unbelievable news. That morning, nearly 200 students from my school were sent home to be quarantined and left our team with only three players. In a heartbeat, I went from thinking that I’d be playing the most spectacular game of my life to not knowing if there’d be a game at all. Fortunately, the girls that were left on the JV team stepped up to play alongside me and my two other teammates that night so we could play the game, and for me to have the chance to reach my 1,000th career point. I reached that moment on a foul shot and couldn’t believe what was in front of me. With all that’s happening in the world right now, this season has been a rollercoaster. A few months ago it wasn’t even looking like we’d have a season, and then all of a sudden we were scheduled for 16 games in about four weeks. With having only a week to prepare for a season, having a smaller-than-usual team, then my dad, who is also my coach, being quarantined for our first game, playing games every other day or back-to-back with hardly any downtime, and then having practically my whole team quarantined on the day that I was planned to reach my 1,000th point, I’m just beyond grateful that this season took place at all. So not only was this an unforgettable, and nearly impossible, season but to reach my 1,000th point through it all will forever be one of my greatest accomplishments.
Who inspires you?: I’ve always looked up to my older sister. Growing up, she’d always beat me whenever we played one-on-one, and I remember being so upset that I was always losing to her. However, all that losing inspired me to work harder so that one day I could finally beat my sister. As a competitive and remarkable athlete herself, I was absolutely devastated for her when she tore both ACLs in a two-year span and was forced to miss numerous athletic seasons. She pushed herself harder than anyone I’d ever seen in her recovery so that she could get back out on the field, court and track. Seeing my sister persevere through her injuries has always motivated me to give it my absolute best no matter what it is that’s in front of me. For my sister, Korrin, I will always be grateful.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season?: A saying that I often hear is, “Play every game like it’s your last,” and playing through this pandemic season for my senior year gave me a new perspective of this quote. I will forever remember the constant uncertainty of this season. Knowing the potential that Covid-19 could end my final high school basketball season at any given point, I truly played every game like it was my last.
Name: Sydney Lusher
Position: Point guard
Season statistics: 22.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 5.1 apg, 3.7 bpg, 5.2 spg
What’s next: I will be playing at Le Moyne College next year.
Best moment of the season: Stepping onto the court for the first game of the season because I didn’t think we were going to have a season at all.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? I will never forget how much effort people put into making the season happen.
Name: Katie MacLachlan
Season Statistics: 21.4 ppg
What’s next: Playing AAU basketball with I-90 Elite
Best moment of the season: Overall, grateful for the opportunity to have a season with this crazy year. Beating Westhill for the first time in many years.
Who (or what) inspires you? My family, teammates and coaches because they inspire me to work hard and are always by my side in everything I do.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? Definitely not having all of our friends and families at the games. These are the girls that I grew up playing with and this was the year that we have always been waiting for.
Name: Suzie Nemec
Position: Shooting guard
Season statistics: 278 points, 48 rebounds, 19 assists, 9 blocks, 32 steals
What’s next: Will be attending Baldwin Wallace University to major in criminal justice and I will continue my basketball career there.
Best moment of the season: On our way home from our last away game we were escorted by our local police and the parents were all honking their horns as we pulled into the school.
Who (or what) inspires you? My family, coaches and teammates inspire me the most because they have always been supportive of me since day one with my basketball career and what I want to do in the future.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? I will remember stepping on the Weedsport court for the first time in a year with some of my favorite players and being able to have an undefeated season with them. This team was something special and there’s no doubt in my mind that this team would have gone far.
Name: Jackie Piddock
School: South Jefferson
Position: Point guard
Season statistics: 23 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 5.8 spg
What’s next: My final AAU season and looking forward to my senior year.
Best moment of the season: Scoring my 2,000th point
Who (or what) inspires you? My friend Morgan from my AAU team because she has a tremendous work ethic.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? From this season I will remember to not take anything for granted and to always be flexible.
Name: Jenna Sloan
School: Bishop Grimes
Position: Point guard
Season statistics: 15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.6 spg
What’s next: AAU with I-90 Elite
Best moment of the season: Stepping on the court for practice with my team for the first time in almost a year.
Who (or what) inspires you? My family and friends.
What will you most remember for this pandemic season? I’ll remember having to play in masks in an empty gym for a shortened season but just being grateful that we were able to play at all.
Coach of the Year
Name: Lauren Collister
Years coaching (including this year): 6
2021 record: 11-0
Career record: 76-61
What person (or event) inspired you to become a coach? Basketball has always been a part of my life. I played as a young kid, in high school and at the collegiate level. Having had the opportunity to be exposed to many coaches, I found all the different coaching styles very interesting. I always wanted to take the experiences I had and create my own coaching style.
What is it you like most about coaching: I love watching the student-athletes grow not only as athletes but as young adults. The life lessons that are taught and learned through sport are so crucial in forming and displaying one’s true character, and I am honored to be a part of that process as a coach.
What was it like coaching in a pandemic year? Coaching this year tested our patience, challenged our thinking and altered our approach to everything. It provided us with an opportunity to teach and coach our student-athletes about perseverance and that life is not always fair. We looked at the season as a gift and understood that we still had a responsibility to show up every day ready to put in the work and focused energies to play our best basketball and be the best teammates we could to each other. Regardless of the outcomes, we owed it to ourselves and each other to never give up, play to the last whistle and represent our program, school and community in our favorite way, as competitors.