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High school basketball: South Jefferson points toward Clark


ADAMS — One of the biggest factors in the dominance of the South Jefferson girls basketball program over the last 12 years has been point guard play.

Junior Marisa Clark is hoping to be next in the impressive lineage of point guards produced by coach Pat Bassett.

Clark was the Spartans’ third-leading scorer with nine points per game from the wing last year. But Brooke VanCoughnett’s graduation created a void at point guard, and Bassett asked Clark to switch positions this summer.

She and the Spartans begin their quest for a 13th straight Frontier League title by hosting Indian River tonight.

“I was excited because I’ve been in the program for so long and now it’s my time to actually be in a main role,” Clark said.

Bassett said he considered several options this summer, including senior Austin Stevens, the team’s leading scorer from last season and the only starter left from the 2011-12 state finalist team.

“(Clark) solidified her spot this summer,” Bassett said. “I think we’ll be a better team down the road, keeping Austin on the wing and in the post a little bit and let her do the things that she can do there.”

As a freshman, Clark played in the post and was the first player off the bench for that state finalist team that finished with a 24-1 record.

“She’s a savvy kid, a savvy player, so she’ll pick it up as she goes along,” Bassett said. “It is a tough transition to go from a post player as a freshman, then on the wing last year and now moving to the point. It’s not a position she has played during her career.”

Prior to VanCoughnett, Bassett’s point guards include Amanda Roberts, Rachael Bassett, Danielle Felice and Lauren Sischo.

The latter four players were each selected as the Times All-North Most Valuable Player. And together, Bassett’s last five points guards produced a 273-19 record, 12 straight league titles, eight Section 3 championships, five state final four appearances and two state titles.

“It brings a lot of responsibility because they were all just great players,” Clark said. “And now I feel like I have a lot to do to grow into the position and I have to learn a lot still.”

Bassett said that Clark has the physical tools to excel at the position.

He said she protects the ball, can score and shoot from the perimeter and with her strong 5-foot-8 frame, could be one of the best rebounding point guards the program has had.

Clark grabbed 13 boards in a recent preseason scrimmage against Corcoran of Class AA.

“The mental stuff she’s still working on,” Bassett said. “Being in tune with me, thinking the game right alongside me, that’s going to be a work in progress throughout the year. But she’s proven she can take care of the ball. She’s strong with it.”

Clark said playing alongside VanCoughnett last year and fellow point guard Amanda Roberts the season prior was a good learning experience.

“I always looked up to them.” Clark said. “They were great players and I always wanted to be like them, their control and how they handled the team.”

Clark and Stevens are South Jefferson’s only returning players with significant “big-game,” experience.

Bassett said the rest of the roster, which features just one other upperclassmen, will have to sort itself out.

“Normally my teams hit the ground running in November and we’re way ahead of people,” Bassett said. “That’s not going to be the case this year. I think we’re going to have to get better and better as the season goes on.”

Here is a look at the rest of the Frontier League teams:


Outlook: Carthage has four returning starters as it looks to win its sixth straight “A” Division championship. But the one missing starter is last year’s Times All-North Most Valuable Player, Zakiya Saunders, now at Division I Albany. Indian River, which tied the Comets for the regular season crown last season, brings back its leading scorer, Sarah Mattingly. She is the only starter back for the Warriors but this year’s squad is quick and athletic enough to challenge for the title. Watertown should field its best team in the last five years with senior forward Katie Aldrich leading the way, but was dealt a difficult blow in the preseason with a potential season-ending ankle injury to returning point guard Hannah Levine. Immaculate Heart will look to rebuild after a difficult season and the retirement of longtime coach, Jeff St.Croix.

Carthage Comets

Coach: Randi Smith (9th year)

2012-13 record: 13-7 overall (9-3 league)

Players to watch: Lexi Smith, Hannah Millich, Kendra Bates, Gabby O’Brien

Roster: Lexi Smith (So.); Meaghan Paige (Jr.); Paige Lusk (Jr.); Mari Ames (Sr.); Kassidy Keefer (So.); Hannah Millich (Sr.); Gabby O’Brien (Jr.); Paige Kuane (So.); Kendra Bates (Sr.); Zaria Colbert (So.); Tyesia Walker (Jr.); Peyton Romig (Fr.); Kieari Pearson-Martin (So)

Immaculate Heart Cavaliers

Coach: Dan Young (1st year)

2012-13 record: 2-15 (1-11)

Players to watch: Anna Garrabrant, Rebecca Lazore

Roster: Elena Alteri (Jr.); Jaid Baytos (Jr.); Kacie Converse (Jr.); Erin Dingman (Jr.); Anna Garrabrant (Jr.); Rayanne Kuhner (Jr.); Rebecca Lazore (Sr.); Rachel O’Brien (Sr.); Danielle Pound (Sr.); Anna Puccia (Sr.); Alyssa Roderick (Jr.)

Indian River Warriors

Coach: Jim Whitley (18th year)

2012-13 record: 12-7 (9-3)

Players to watch: Sarah Mattingly, Ashlynn Borce

Roster: Sarah Mattingly (Jr.); Paige Leonard (8th); Sidney Black (Jr.); Cassandra Kiechle (Jr.); Kelsi Nabywaniec (Jr.); Talesia Jackson (Jr.); Ashlynn Borce (Sr.); Kammikia Barnes (So.); Emma Bonk (Jr.)

Watertown Cyclones

Coach: Jerry Levine (25th year)

2012-13 record: 5-11 (3-9)

Players to watch: Katie Aldrich, Olivia Miles

Roster: Hannah Levine (Jr.); Darcy Dyer (So.); Christina Miller (Jr.); Erin Stevens (Jr.); Olivia Miles (So.); Kira Kolb (So.); Hannah Martini (Jr.); Courtney Netto (Sr.); Natalie Puccia (So.); Logan Bush (So.); Caroline Hefferon (So.); Katie Aldrich (Sr.); Jade Hall (So.)


Outlook: The Spartans are again favored to win this division with Stevens, the league’s only returning Times All-North first teamer. General Brown will be led by three-time league all-star, Katie Pitkin. The Lions will need to find some reliable scoring to complement the senior forward if they hope to contend with the Spartans. Lowville is back in this division with a new coach after a year as a “C” school and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown has left the league.

General Brown Lions

Coach: Mike Hulbert (6th year)

2012-13 record: 11-8 (11-6)

Players to watch: Katie Pitkin, Rhea Pitkin, Cayla O’Connor

Roster: Maddi Comins (Jr.); Katy Nortz (Fr.); Emily Amell (Jr.); Rhea Pitkin (So.); Cayla O’Connor (Jr.); Hannah Peebles (Jr.); Katie Pitkin (Sr.); Krista Kinne (Jr.); Sam Sampson (Sr.); Hannah Smithers (Fr.)

Lowville Red Raiders

Coach: Chris Bach (1st year)

2012-13 record: 2-16 (2-14)

Players to watch: Emma St.Croix, Ellory Roberts, Alexa Yousey

Roster: Alexis Bach (Fr.); Emily Finn (Jr.); Jessica Fuller (Sr.); Valarie Gonzales (Sr.); Ellory Roberts (Sr.); Kelsey Sammon (Jr.); Emma St.Croix (Sr.); Madison Terrillion (Sr.); Serena Vargulick (Jr.); Devan Wolf (Sr.); Alexa Yousey (Sr.)

South Jefferson Spartans

Coach: Pat Bassett (14th year)

2012-13 record: 19-1 (17-0)

Players to watch: Austin Stevens, Marisa Clark

Roster: Austin Stevens (Sr.); Johnna Perry (Fr.); Marisa Clark (Jr.); Jenny McLean (Sr.); Quincey Zimmerman (So.); Marissa Garland (Sr.); Hannah Bassett (Fr.); Olivia Simpson (Fr.); Tatyana Fish (So.)


Outlook: Thousand Islands lost four key players from a team that has won five straight division titles, including Kristin McGraw, one of the league’s top scorers during TI’s run. But the Vikings have four players back that have played consistent minutes the last three seasons and should still be at or near the top of the division at season’s end. South Lewis and Beaver River have both been re-building under third-year coaches. Give the edge to the Falcons as the most likely to present a challenge to TI with one of their top scorers returning, Olivia Fitzgerald.

Beaver River Beavers

Coach: Lansing Petzoldt (3rd year)

2012-13 record: 6-13 (6-10)

Players to watch: Kristen Campeau, Emma Puddington

Roster: Taylor Buell (Sr.); Kristen Campeau (Sr.); Hailie Lehman (Sr.); Beth Prashaw (Jr.); Meghan Puddington (Jr.); Sarah Steiner (Jr.); Yajahira Zuniga (Jr.); Leah Lapp (So.); Shawna Ritz (So.); Sierra Neddo (8th); Emma Puddington (8th)

Sandy Creek Comets

Coach: Michelle Shirley (1st year)

2012-13 record: 4-14 (3-13)

Players to watch: Sierra Steele, Alicia Paige.

Roster: Sierra Steele (Sr.); Alicia Paige (Jr.); Jamie Washburn (Jr.); Melissa LeBlanc (Jr.); Liberty Yalch (Jr.); Mikayla Belaus (Jr.); Tyesha Webb (Jr.); Adrian Ranieri (Jr.); Taylor Mullin (Jr.); Ashley Leighton (So.); Brigid McClusky (So.); Rosie Morgan (So.); Kasey Yerdon (So.)

South Lewis Falcons

Coach: Mike Niles (3rd year)

2012-13 record: 9-9 (9-8)

Players to watch: Olivia Fitzgerald

Roster: Miranda Rys (Sr.); Mia Poste (Sr.); Sage Galarneau (Sr.); Alexis Olmstead (Jr.); Olivia Fitzgerald (Jr.); Mary Faduski (Jr.); Abby Mellnitz (Jr.); Ashley York (So.); Brooke Durgan (So.); Jenna Rogers (So.)

Thousand Islands Vikings

Coach: Pete Pettit (16th year)

2012-13 record: 16-3 (14-2)

Players to watch: Karly Sherman, Ashley Howard, Ashley Anchor, Kerstin Phelps

Roster: Ashley Howard (Sr.); Karly Sherman (Sr.); Kerstin Phelps (Sr.); Bri Sposato (Sr.); Ashley Anchor (Jr.); Mariah Watson (Jr.); Kali Eyles (Jr.); Olivia Fulmer (Jr.); Alleigh Robbins (Fr.); Anna Hoover (8th); Courtney Evans (8th)


Outlook: Copenhagen lost a few starters but brings plenty of experienced players back from a deep team that dominated this division a year ago, winning its last nine games against “D” schools until its season ended in the Section 3 finals. Seniors Brooke Spaulding, Miranda Allen and Alicia Evans will lead Copenhagen. Senior Lorraine Beard is back to lead Alexandria. She has been the team’s leading scorer in each of the last three seasons and is the program’s all-time leader in made 3-point field goals. Sackets Harbor lost its top two scorers from a season ago but has enough talent to be right in the mix as it usually is. Lyme took a big step forward under third-year coach Mark Wilson a season ago and brings back two of its top three scorers, sisters Yanna and EnesaOsoskalo.

Alexandria Purple Ghosts

Coach: Dave Hollis (15th year)

2012-13 record: 10-10 (6-7)

Players to watch: Lorraine Beard, Hannah Lynch

Roster: Lorraine Beard (Sr.); Rebecca Hitchcock (Sr.); Hannah Lynch (Jr.); Kadeda Cappuccetti (Jr.); Christine Baleno (Jr.); Morgan Weaver (So.); Sydney Lalonde (Jr.); Emma Kearns (So.); Caitlyn Burrows (So.); Cassidy Daily (So.)

Copenhagen Golden Knights

Coach: Natalie Scott (10th year)

2012-13 record: 15-4 (11-2)

Players to watch: Miranda Allen, Brianna Muncy, Alicia Evans, Brooke Spaulding, Maci Spaulding

Roster: Alicia Evans (Sr.); Miranda Allen (Sr.); Brianna Muncy (Sr.); Brooke Spaulding (Jr.); Nicole Gardner (Jr.); Mackenzie St. Louis (Jr.); Justine Malbouf (Jr.); Laura Graves (So.); Mackenzie Wheeler (So.); Emma Roberts (So.); Maci Spaulding (Fr.)

LaFargeville Red Knights

Coach: Colin Mingle (8th year)

2012-13 record: 4-11 (3-10)

Players to watch: Jenna Sharp, Amber Klock, Allison Hoover.

Roster: Jenna Sharp (Sr.); Amber Klock (Sr.); Allison Hoover (Jr.); Logan Labiendo (So.); Destiny James (Jr.); Julia Desormeau (So.); Jordan Nuffer (So.).

Lyme Indians

Coach: Mark Wilson (3rd year)

2012-13 record: 5-10 (4-9)

Players to watch: Yanna Ososkalo, Enesa Ososkalo, Taylor Brown

Roster: Yanna Ososkalo (Sr.); Enesa Ososkalo (Sr.); Paige Kappus-Kron (Sr.); Emily Ennis (Jr.); Taylor Brown (So.); Allison Tarwater (So.); Morgan Warren (Fr.)

Sackets Harbor Patriots

Coach: Gregg Townsend (4th year)

2012-13 record: 11-7 (9-4)

Players to watch: Jenna Fields, Samantha Menapace

Roster: Alexandra Townsend (Sr.); Kelsey Gonseth (8th); Samantha Menapace (Jr.); Maddie Johnson (So.); Courtney Brooks (Jr.); Taylor Queior (Sr.); Cady Weller (Fr.); Jenna Fields (Jr.); Morgan Stevens (Sr.); Diana Dotson (Jr.); Becca Cobb (Jr.); Lauren Harrienger (Jr.)

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