Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Patrick Newell

During my sophomore year of college, I took a required business course, statistics. As I remember it, I think I was about the only one in the class who actually enjoyed finagling formulas to complete statistical analyses. Little did I know 20-plus years ago that statistics would be part of my job description. And I still love the computations. Thanks to my friend Greg Bonczkowski (Norwich teacher and Unatego basketball coach), who already inputted the proper formulas, I use a formatted spreadsheet to tally scoring averages, free throw percentage, and anything else numerical that I think is necessary. The process is fun for me as I enter the numbers for each player, and then look to the far right as the average constantly changes. Another one of my friends called me a “sports geek.” Yes, the shoe indeed fits in this case. The number of games is slowing down as the playoffs near, and I was able to not only update scoring averages Wednesday, but also peruse free throw shooting numbers and three-pointers made. Through Tuesday, Feb. 7 games, Unadilla Valley’s Justin Hofer (19.6/game) and Ryan Porter (B-G, 18.2/game) lead the boys’ scoring. On the girls’ side, B-G senior Shania Vandermark is averaging a county-best 15.4 points, while UV junior Jordan Anderson is a close second at 14.9 points per game. For three-pointers, Norwich junior Kyle Edwards has 44 makes, eight more than runner-up Jeff Carlin of Greene. On the ladies’ side, Greene’s Kaitlin Gorton has 32 three balls in 15 games, while Sabrina Brooks of G-MU has 25 treys with one game left to play. In the free throw shooting department, Sherburne-Earlville senior Cassie Beaver is draining a nifty 83.3 percent of her attempts. Norwich senior Dennis Oralls leads the boys at 80.8 percent.

The Section III and Section IV Division II wrestling tournaments begin Friday afternoon. I will have the top-four seeds in each weight class listed in our Friday sports section, and if the number one seeds hold, we could have as many as eight Chenango County wrestlers heading to Albany for the state tournament. Top-seeded Section IV wrestlers from the area are Joe Nelson, Oxford (99); Tristan Rifanburg, Norwich (126); Dan Dickman, Greene (152); Mike Beckwith, Greene (160); Keegan Cerwinski, Greene (182); and Kyle Stanton, Greene (220). From Section III, Sherburne-Earlville’s Spencer Franklin (120) and Cody Santiago (220) are the top seeds in Division II.

Getting back to free throw shooting, I was surprised at the slow start of UV junior Amanda Off. She was a good free throw shooter last year (around 70 percent), so when she was barely above 50 percent through the first five games of the season, I took notice. Off is a returning second team Chenango County all-star who put up 15.3 points per game as a sophomore. I expected better, and over the last 10 games, Off has seldom been “off.” Over the last 10 games, she is hitting free throws at an 82 percent clip to pull her seasonal average to 71 percent, the best on her team and among the best in Chenango County…Oralls, as we noted above, tops the area boys in free throws, and he made 21 straight charity tosses over the previous four games before missing on his fifth attempt last Friday against Owego.

Bainbridge-Guilford’s girls basketball team has enjoyed a great deal of success under longtime coach Bob Conway. The boys? Not so much, until this year. In a season of firsts, B-G clinched its first MAC playoff berth since the 2005-2006 season, and not coincidentally, that was the last time the Bobcats sported a winning record. In the last month, B-G ended two winless droughts. The first was the team’s first victory over Oxford in six years. A week and a half ago, the Bobcats ended an even longer drought defeating local rival Sidney for the first time in 21 years. “People around town have said we have had talent,” said B-G first-year coach Greg Warren. “The biggest thing was getting them to believe in themselves. In the early part of the season when we lost some close games, we spent a lot of time breaking it down and looking at the positives in everything we were doing, and building on those. Now they believe. It’s not arrogance, but (the players) now believe they can compete in any game they are in.” Since a 1-3 start, B-G has won 11 of 13 games, and meets Unatego Tuesday in the MAC Tournament semifinals.

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