MORRISTOWN - The basketball season at Morristown Central was one of dramatic forward strides made by young varsity teams.
The Green Rocket boys jelled in the stretch run and recorded a series of quality wins before energized home crowds.
The Lady Rockets erased the memories of a winless previous season by going 5-12 in a challenging schedule where nine losses came to state-ranked teams.
At Wednesdays Morristown Winter Sports Awards Night, hosted by the Morristown Boosters at the Morristown Fire Hall, the MCS coaches at the varsity, JV and modified level all spoke of the future and what it will take to maintain the upsurge in Green Rocket fortunes.
Cheerleading Coach Megan Bell spoke about the pride that she and her squad felt when the school district restored their team in a time when schools across the nation are being forced to drop athletic programs.
Varsity Girls Coach Rich Rupert expressed the encouraging situation in Rocket Nation.
We had a very good season and we know where we want to be. And we known what we have to do to get there, he said.
We play in a very tough division in the NAC West. We have to get bigger, faster and stronger to be successful. And we have to play all year long. The only way to learn the game is to play. We will start play in a spring league in Potsdam starting Sunday and then we have to get ramped up this summer.
Coaches of all the winter sports made presentations and handed out team awards at the banquet.
BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL
Coach Beaulieu praised his 12-4 team for its late season run to a second place finish in the NAC West and a number three Class D seed in the Section 10 Tournament.
A drive which culminated in a win over West Division Champion Lisbon and two wins over a contending Edwards-Knox team.
We had a great year and our win over Lisbon on Cancer Awareness Night was just great for the guys. They worked very hard and it was tough when we just couldnt pull it out against Madrid-Waddington (eventual Class D Champion) in the D-Arama, said Beaulieu.
I was very proud to coach these guys and I hope to be able to coach them next year.
Ryan Vollmer, a First Team All-NAC West selection, was honored as the teams Most Valuable Player. Second Team All-Star Jake VanArnam and Luke King received Coaches Awards and Jacob Fox was cited as the Outstanding Defensive Player.
Zack Kanaly earned Second Team All-NAC West honors, Cory Todd received his teams NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award and Vollmer and Betty Ahlfeld Memorial Award recipient Tristan Gilmour earned NAC All-Academic Awards.
Also making contributions to the Rockets success were: Austin Brooks, Tyler Delosh and Devin Dulmage.
GIRLS VARSITY BASKETBALL
Coach Rich Rupert was proud to preside over restoration season as the Lady Rockets went 5-12 after on the heels of a winless season.
We started 3-1, then went 0-10 and the finished 2-1. But we did very well, we play in a very tough NAC West Division and nine of our 12 losses came to state-ranked teams said Coach Rupert who honored Second Team All-NAC West selection Jessica Geddes and Taylor Piercey with Coaches Awards and recognized Liz Troiano as the Most Improved Player.
Rupert also cited Sam Green for receiving the teams NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award, Geddes, Piercey and Mackenzie Barse for earning NAC All-Academic Awards and that Jordyn Tulley was selected to play in the NAC Exceptional Senior Game.
Macalla Roberts rounded out the collective step-up effort by the Rockets.
Coach Megan Bell thanked the school district for restoring the cheering program and expressed her pride in coaching a unit which featured three NAC All-Academic Award qualifiers in All-American Cheerleader Award recipient Angelina Aslanyan, Adriania Fanelli and Kristen Paquette.
Paquette also received Coach Bells Leadership Award and Abby Stout earned the Best Toe Touch Award. Rounding out team were: Bailey Gilmour, Taylor Lipinsky, Madison Meyer, Razia Phillips and Brittany Snyder.
GIRLS MODFIED BASKETBALL
Coach Andy Rupert was happy the way his 14-player squad progressed over the course of the season. He honored Nicole Ferrians as the Outstanding Offensive Player, presented the Outstanding Defensive Player Award to Loren Woodcock and recognized Morgan Macaulay with the Heart and Hustle Award. Rounding out the team which all received certificates were: Savana Barse, Mackenzie Butterfield, Rianna Chapin, Hope Glover, Allison Hockey, Payton Horton, Sidney Johnson, Harlee Mashaw, Harley Thomson and Morgan Wright.
BOYS MODIFIED BASKETBALL
Coach Jeff Johnson directed team which competed well with low numbers and cited Alex Roberts as the Outstanding Offensive Player, Ethan Baldwin as the Outstanding Defender and Nick Tascano as the Most Improved Player. Rounding out the squad were: Nate Mitchell, Garrett Piercey and Russell Young.
JV GIRLS BASKETBALL
Coach Scott Rupert saw plenty of promise in his team and a group players rotated up the varsity at different times during the season to gain experience.
Megan Vollmer was cited as the Outstanding Offensive Player, Logan Green was cited as the Most Valuable Player and Miranda LaFave and Leah Ward received Most Improved Player awards. Rounding out the squad were: Elissa Baldwin, Ryan Brooks, Shaylyn Kasper, Victoria Mitchell and Haley Whitmarsh.
BOYS JV BASKETBALL
Coach Larry Kanaly saw definite strides from his entire team of Most Valuable Player Lincoln Hall, Coaches Award recipient Owen Kuca, Colton Colby, Gage Fox, Christian Johnson, Jaxen Lapiene, Joseph Walker and Morris Zeininger.
I really want to thank the players and their families. We had a lot of changes to deal with and the players just kept playing even after some tough losses, said Coach Kanaly.