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OFA Girls earned respect


A championship season was not in the cards for OFA in the 2013-14 Girls Basketball season. But the Lady Blue Devils, who return three starters and their top reserve for next season, did achieve a great deal during the course of a 13-7 campaign.

Most importantly, Coach Lynn Blevins’ club recorded a perfect academic season where every member of the team was part of a New York State Scholar-Athlete Team Award contingent and player eligible for it qualified for a Northern Conference All-Academic Award.

The Devils were honored for that achievement at Sunday night’s team awards banquet at the Ogdensburg Elks Lodge.

Coach Blevins also took great pride in the way the squad earned the respect of everyone it came in contact with.

“As a group, this team has earned my respect. They practiced hard, played hard and never quit. I want to thank all my players for putting in the long hours it takes to be successful” said Blevins.

“They have earned the respect of opposing teams’ coaches, the officials and spectators from other communities. I have had many compliments about the players on our team. They make our girls basketball program better.”

Before presenting his special team awards Blevins thanked assistant coaches Mike Martin and Ryan Farrell, manager Jon Gordon and the players’ families for their support for a commitment to excellence which the players made.

“It is a privilege to coach at OFA, especially for this group of players. Our program officially starts in the second week of November but the reality is that Ogdensburg basketball is special because the season never ends,” said Blevins.

“From the Ogdensburg Girls and Boys Club Spring League, to the Summer League, to open gym in the fall these girls have put in the time and effort and it pays off year after year. This team has practiced and played almost 80 times from November to February.”

Coach Blevins presented five team awards.

Taylor Perry received the Outstanding Practice Player Award for always smiling and working hard on both sides of the court. The freshman guard was second on the team in free throw percentage and second in steals with 37.

Junior center Susie Morrow received the Most Improved Player Award for the way she developed a nice right handed shot to compliment her southpaw deliveries. She led the team in rebounding with 164, finished third in scoring with 188 points and was third in steals with 35.

The Hardest Worker Award went to Courtney Sherwin for her work ethic in practice, her leadership and character. The junior forward was second on the team in steals with 37, second in rebounding with 151 and third in assists with 42.

Junior guard Riley Luckie, a First Team All-NAC Central selection and Jan Reetz Award finalist, was honored as the Offensive MVP for the way she handled the ball against some very tough defenses, scored team high 288 points and also led the team in free throw percentage, assists with 96 and steals with 61.

Senior Meg Dodge, a two-year captain, Second Team All-NAC Central selection and true student of the game, received the Defensive MVP Award for successfully defending the best players in Sections 3, 7 and 10 while finishing second on the team with 285 points and assists with 104 and finishing third with 104 rebounds.

“Her drive and desire to excel is a great example for our younger players,” said Coach Blevins who also recognized the efforts of the other members of the squad: NAC Sportsmanship Award winner Paige Perry, senior starter Brooke Badlam, Erin Tooley, Madi Bresett, Danielle Guimond and Mollee Ahrens.

Coach Blevins also recognized the efforts of Modified Coach Courtney McDonald, Junior Varsity Coaches Jade Vernsey and Jaret Langstaff and JV players in Kiera Johnson, Megan Mills and Jill Lincoln who moved up to varsity at the end of the regular season.

Thanks also went out to Coach Blevins’ wife Betsy for her astute stastical compilations, scorekeeper Mike Tooley and game video recorder Jeff Smith.

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