NORWOOD— There is a glow coming from outside Emily Cotey's house.
It was her father's project four years ago as Cotey, now a junior, neared high school with visions of a varsity basketball career at Norwood-Norfolk.
Back then, the space behind her house was used as a skating and hockey practice area for her brother Alex. Now, it doubles as a basketball court in the summer.
"I never thought he would actually do it," Emily said. "It's been a hockey rink since I was 5."
Norwood-Norfolk girls basketball coach Becky Byrns was amazed the first time she saw it.
"When kids say they have their own court, you think about a 20-by-20 slab," she said. "But when I finally did find out where she lives and came up on it — from the road you can clearly see it — and it is a full-size basketball court. Her dad even hooked up lights on both sides of the court."
Then, after it was built, they started coming.
"The kids get together and play pickup at her house," Byrns said. "A couple of the kids even invited me to come over and play."
Cotey's parents don't mind the extra guests and added attention. They feel personally invested in every kid on the team.
"I think it does mean a lot when her parents are there every contest," Byrns said. "They're not only cheering her, but also all of her teammates. It does lift their spirits."
Added Cotey, "I love it. They are always there to support me even in the away games. We just like to have a crowd."
Off the court, Cotey's mind doesn't drift far from basketball. She's either shooting hoops at her home court or finding where to sign up for the next basketball camp.
She's a regular at the SUNY Potsdam camps and spent last summer playing for the Ogdensburg girls travel team. It was an opportunity that she was hesitant to take.
"It was scary because I didn't really know many of the girls," Cotey said. "But they were really accepting."
Byrns said that she had no doubt Cotey would choose to play basketball no matter how challenging or intimidating the experience.
"I believe basketball has always been her first love," Byrns said. "She's one of those kids that rarely turns it down."
It's no wonder Cotey is a captain and helping to lead the Flyers out of last place in the Central Division. It's a role she embraces.
"Last year, I was definitely intimidated because I was younger," she said. "This year, I am one of the older girls."
Norwood-Norfolk finished 3-18 overall, 1-13 in the division last season. Cotey envisions a better finish this year.
"I think we can definitely get more wins," she said. "We have some strong forwards and have a lot of speed."
Here's a closer look at teams in the Northern Athletic Conference:
Outlook:Malone lost Haley Poupore and Alyson Johnson last year to graduation after winning the state Class A title, leaving the Central Division wide open for almost any team. But just because Malone lost two key players, it doesn't mean the Huskies are not contenders. Ashley Marshall, Erica Johnson and Abby Premo all saw playing time in the state tournament and can bring their experience to the new crop of underclassmen. Ogdensburg Free Academy returns plenty of talent, including last season's Times All-North first-team member, Megan Morrison. Her leadership will be crucial to bringing together a young Blue Devils team. Massena looks strong, as well, with the return of Taylor Bacon in the leadership role.
Canton Golden Bears
Coach:Michael Meyers (3rd year).
2007-08 record:8-13 overall, 5-9 division.
Roster:Heather Lottie (Sr., F); Brittany Coffey (Sr., F); Brittany Martin (Sr., G); Tori Thomas (Sr., F); Rachel Mayton (Jr., G); Kacie Wentworth (So., G); Tressa Goolden (So., F).
Gouverneur Wild Cats
2007-08 record:2-18, 1-13.
Roster:Jennifer Brown (Jr.); Jill Easton (Jr.); Brooke Fuller (Sr.); Nichole Fuller (Sr.); Meggan Geer (Sr.); Olivia Langevin (Sr.); Samantha McAdam (Jr.); Kristi McEathron (Sr.); Brandi Neuroth (Jr.); Elizabeth Perrigo (So.); Chelsie Prashaw (Jr.); Lesley Turner (Sr.).
2007-08 record:25-2, 14-0.
Roster:Ashley Marshall (Sr., G); Emily Sharlow (Sr., F); Erin Reynolds (Jr., G); Erica Johnson (Sr., G); Abby Premo (Sr., F); Monique LaFlesh (Sr., G); Kelsey Johnson (Jr., F); Alyssa Farmer (Jr., F); Maggie Agulia (Sr., G); Steph Skelly (Jr., G); Meaghan Lavoie (Jr., G); Sarah Lamica (So., F); Brittany Marshall (So., G).
Massena Red Raiders
Coach:Andrew Matejcik (1st year).
2007-08 record:11-10, 10-4.
Roster:Taylor Bacon (Sr., G); Paulina Behrens (Jr., G); Janelle Bradish (So., F); Chrissy Britt (Sr., G); Courtney French (Sr., F); Nicole Johnson (Sr., F/G); Kendra Kimball (Sr., F); Kristen McKeel (So., F/G); Caitlin Miller (Jr., F/G); Katerina Radora (Exchange Student, G); Anna Riley (Sr., G); Savannah Thompson (Jr., G); Erin Tyo (Sr., G).
OFA Blue Devils
Coach:Mark Henry (6th year).
2007-08 record:17-7, 12-2.
Roster:Kirsten Morley (Sr.); Brittany Smith (Sr.); Genny Carroll (Jr.); Holli Cota (Jr.); Nichole Damms (Jr.); Megan Morrison (Jr.); Allison Paige (Jr.); Elissa St. Germain (Jr.); Lindsay Drummond (So.); Chelsea Martin (So.); Mackenzie Cole (Fr.).
Coach:Larry Hazen (1st year).
2007-08 record:13-9, 9-6.
Roster:Natalie Carranza (Jr., G); Francesca Centofanti (Sr., PG); Kathryn Chambers (Sr., G); Tess Curry (Jr., PG); Liz Hafer (Sr., G); Tess Hazen (So., F); Rachel Johnson (So., F); Kaila Maguire (Sr., PG); Kanika Misra (Jr., G); Ashlee Rose (Jr., F); Veronica Sapp (So., F).
Tupper Lake Lumberjacks
Coach:Jennifer Vroman (4th year).
2007-08 record:9-13, 5-10.
Roster:Hunter Aldridge (So., F); Carly Aldridge (Fr., G); Sayla Harris (Sr., F); Allysa Houle (Sr., G); Emily Labarge (Sr., G); Amber Lawyer (Jr., F); Beth Lizotte (Jr., G/F); Beth Keniston (Sr., G); Tayler Keniston (Jr., F); Emily Sanford (Jr., F); Sam Sanford (Fr., G).
Coach:Becky Byrns (1st year).
2007-08 record:3-18, 1-13.
Roster:Felicia Boyer (Sr.); Emily Cotey (Jr.); Kara Holmes (Jr.); Marisa Langtry (Jr.); Lindsay Manchester (Jr.); Lisa Pitts (Jr.); Allie Willer (Jr.); Ceci Roy (So.); Chelsey Doran (So.); Brynn Tebo (So.); Justise Delfosse (So.); Alycia Short (Fr.).
Outlook:Chateaugay is coming off an undefeated East Division season and returns a number of players who remember it. Katie Hamelin, Candace Fowler, Maggie Trombly and Danielle Swanston all played significant minutes last year and return to defend Section 10 and East Division crowns. The closest competition in the East: Madrid-Waddington. The Yellowjackets lost Times All-North first-team member Jennifer Curley, but return Abbey Shoen. It's Shoen's turn to lead a team whose only loss was Curley. Stephanie Lancto, Crystal Mouthorp, April Streeter and Sara King are all expected to make an impact this season. It will come down to health and how big a hole was really left by Curley in determining the Yellowjackets' fate. Salmon River came back from extinction under new head coach Karen Cook-Francis. The Shamrocks will be interesting to watch with youth and each player missing one varsity year.
2007-08 record:10-9, 7-5.
Roster:Candy Dufrane (Sr.); Courtney Taylor (Sr.); Julicia Godbout (Sr.); Elizabeth Hyde (Sr.); Taylor Keck (Jr.); Chenice Russell (Jr.); Bentley Keck (Sr.); Shayna Russell (So.).
Coach:Doug Nemier (17th year).
2007-08 record:20-2, 14-0.
Roster:Katie Hamelin (Sr.); Candace Fowler (Sr.); Maggie Trombly (Sr.); Danielle Swanston (Sr.); Cindy Harrigan (Jr.); Kateri Stemmer (Sr.); Marissa Cook (Jr.); Lynn Leach (Jr.); Michelle Swanston (Jr.).
2007-08 record:0-17, 0-12.
Roster:Brooke Baker (So., G); Brianna Beaulieau (Fr., F); Taylor Bonno (So., F); Morgan Dunn (So., F); Tara Hennessy (Fr., F); Hannah Knight (Sr., G); Andi Remington (So., F); Kelly Sampier (So., F); Alex Sochia (So., F); Emily Watson (Sr., G).
Coach:Gary Tischler (27th).
2007-08 record:20-6, 12-2.
Roster:Chelsea Ashley (Jr.); Megan Barney (Jr.); Kelsey Dashnaw (Jr.); Alex Guasby (Jr.); Emily Hargrave (Jr.); Kristin King (So.); Sara King (Sr.); Stephanie Lancto (Sr.); Shaina MacIntosh (Sr.); Alex Martin (Jr.); Crystal Mouthorp (Sr.); Emily Pike (Jr.); Abbey Shoen (Sr.); April Streeter (Sr.).
2007-08 record:2-16, 2-13.
Salmon River Shamrocks
Coach:Karen Cook-Francis (1st year).
Roster:Amber Debyah (Jr., G); Jennifer Wood (Jr., G); Kaeli Lafrance (So., G); Ashley Martin (Jr., G); Lauren Cook (Jr., F); Amanda Reyome (Fr., F); Aubrey Phillips (Jr., F); Kirsty David (Jr., F); Brittany Jacobs (Sr., G); Shyanne Brant (Sr., C); Tina Square (Jr., G); Erica Francis (So., F); Haylee Jacco (Sr., F).
St. Lawrence Larries
2007-08 record:12-8, 8-6.
Roster:Cortney Arquiett (Sr., F); Corrine Casey (Jr., F); Brittany Crump (Sr., C); Jenna Evans (So., G); Autumn Irwin (Jr, F); Molly McCuin (Jr., C); Katelyn Newtown (Jr., F); Brittany Rotach (Sr., G); Danielle Smith (Jr., G); Ashley Thayer (Jr., G); Stephanie White (Sr., F).
St. Regis Falls Saints
2007-08 record:9-10, 6-9.
Roster:Misty White (Sr.); Brittany Fountain (Sr.); Danielle Fountain (Sr.): Khalisha White (Jr.); Hayley Fye (Jr.); Krista Lucas (Jr.); Aleesha LaBounty (So.); Liz Parker (So.); Kelsea Longley (Sr.).
Outlook:Hammond is defending back-to-back Section 10 and Class D state titles, but lost the Times NAC MVP Brittany Kenyon. The Red Devils will still compete in the West and likely defend their regular-season division title, but the rest of the field is catching up. Harrisville has good, young talent, and Heuvelton brings a balance of youth and experience that could cause problems for Hammond. Clifton-Fine brought back its program after not playing last season, but is unlikely to make an immediate impact in the division. Hammond is vulnerable; it's just a matter of which school will be the first to break its West Division dominance. The Red Devils haven't lost a game in the West since the 2002-03 season.
Roster:Nicole Aldrich (So.); Caitlyn Brown (Jr.); Nichole Brown (Fr.); Katherine Donovan (Jr.); Katelyn McCormick (Sr.); Beth Meek (Jr.); Becka Provost (Fr.); Jordyn Sullivan (Sr.); Mara Tyler (Sr.); Ashley White (So.).
2007-08 record:11-10, 8-6.
Roster:Vanessa Bullock (Sr., G); Abbey Campbell (So., G); Emily Chambers (Sr., G); Amanda Clark (Sr., G); Brittany Colton (Jr., G); Lindsey Crosbie (Jr., F); Ashley Davison (So. G); Krystina Devito (Sr., F); Kaylee Hartley (So., G/F); Raven Reese (Jr., G); Leah White (Sr., F); Megan White (Jr., F).
Hammond Red Devils
2007-08 record:24-4, 12-0.
Roster:Whitney Atkins (Sr., G); Tricia Boland (So., G); Cassie Cunningham (Sr., C); Jessie Disotell (Sr., G); Aubrie Dunn (Sr., C); Taylor Fargo (Jr., G); Brooke Hollister (Sr., G); Katlyn Hunt (Sr., G); Malynda Jenne (Jr., F); Jackie Knight (Sr., F); Samantha Martin (Jr., F); Chelsea Milsap (So., F); Courtney Whalen (So., C).
2007-08 record:13-4, 9-3.
Roster:Kathryn French (So.); Megan Berwald (Jr.); Patty Coloney (Jr.); Desiree Hall (Jr.); Katlyn Hart (Jr.); Allyson Wallace (Jr.); Taylor Wood (Jr.); Nichole French (Sr.); Leah Malbeuf (Sr.).
2007-08 record:3-18, 2-12.
Roster:Kaitlin Corscadden (Sr.); Nicole Fountain (Sr.); Amy Gardner (Sr.); Meghan Hance (Jr.); Katie Harmer (Sr.); Darrcy Matthews (Jr.); Tasha Roy (Jr.); Brianna Sayer (Fr.); Natasha Sayer (Sr.); Amanda Southwell (Sr.); Michele Watkins (Sr.); Rochelle Whitton (So.); Beth Zeller (Sr.).
2007-08 record:14-8, 10-5.
Roster:Casey Donnelly (Sr.); Heather Johnson (Sr.); Katie Lasua (Sr.); Amanda Pinkerton (Sr.); Megan Johnson (Jr.); Kara Leonard (Jr.); Cheyenne Martin (Jr.); Alyssa Rupert (Jr.); Sam Weaver (Jr.): Kate Nicholson (So.); Kari Terwilliger (So.).
Lisbon Golden Knights
Coach:Dicky Marcellus (1st year).
2007-08 record:4-16, 2-11.
Roster:Tayler Armstrong (So.); Christina Bush (Sr.); Caitlin Hammond (Jr.); Chelsea James (Sr.); Shawna LaTulip (Sr.); Jaclyn Moore (So.); Sheena Seguin (Sr.); McKenzie Walker (Jr.).
Morristown Green Rockets
Coach:Elisha DeJesus (3rd year).
2007-08 record:5-17, 4-11.
Top returners:Lizzy Whalen (7 ppg.); Chloe Whalen; Macy VanArnam.
Roster:Amanda Bertrand (So.); Desirea Dulmage (So.); Sarah LaBarge (Sr.); Claire Plummer (Jr.); Katie Porter (Jr.); Kirsten Skelly (Sr.); Macy VanArnam (Sr.); Chloe Whalen (Sr.); Lizzy Whalen (Jr.); Leah White (Jr.).