POTSDAM - Ogdensburg Free Academy senior Breton LaRose probably knows as much about the history of the Joe Jukoski Memorial Award as any Northern Athletic Conference boys basketball player.
And not because the permanent home of the award is at one of the entrances of the OFA Gym. The award is presented each year by the Northern New York Officials Board to the Oustanding Boys Basketball in Section 10 and LaRose, along with his brothers Cavan, Kinnon and Brogan, has been attending the Joe Jukoski Memorial Award ceremony with his parents, Steve and Monica LaRose, ever since he was old enough to walk up the runway to the Maxcy Hall at SUNY Potsdam.
As a Biddy Basketball player Breton received instruction from two of OFAs Jukoski Award recipients in Mike McDonough (2005) and Mike Baker (2007).
On Thursday evening, after his 20-1 Class B champion Blue Devils downed Class C Champion St. Lawrence Central to reach the Section 10 Overall Championship game, LaRose took his place among OFAs best ever in receiving the 2013 Joe Jukoski Award. The officials board took great pride that Joe Jukoskis widow Helen was on hand to present this years award.
It is amazing to win this award when you look at the other people who have received it, said LaRose. It is just an honor to join them.
He joins other Devil recipients in Tom DuPre (1977), Mike Harrison (co-recipient 1992), Tom Wears (2000), Travis LaRock (2004), Mike McDonough (co-recipient 2005) and Mike Baker (2007).
LaRose, who averages 19 points and nine rebounds a game, has dramatically developed all phases of his game as a three-year varsity starter.
Breton is a natural scorer, says OFA Coach Mark Henry. He has come a long way from his sophomore season when he was strictly a jump shooter. He has worked extremely hard to improve all aspects of his game to the point where he is now a fantastic rebounder, passer and defender. Breton leads by example and is great role model.
LaRose, who plans to continue his athletic career at Sacred Heart University, carries a 95 average in the classroom. He has earned All-Academic Awards in every basketball and baseball season and he serves as a coach in the Biddy Basketball program.
His selection came from an outstanding group of finalists which included Konnor Bigwarfe of Potsdam, Mitchell Gallagher of Franklin Academy and Caleb Green of St. Regis Falls.
The award has been presented each year to honor the memory of longtime official Joe Jukoski of Massena.
Joe Jukoski was a wonderful person and a wonderful official. His demeanor on the court made the game more enjoyable for everyone, says Sandy Cook, the voice of the Section 10 Basketball Tournaments. He was taken from us much too soon. We are so glad to have Helen Jukoski here tonight. She is true Section 10 royalty.