Sports Editor’s Playbook, Jan. 25, 2013

Patrick Newell

Unadilla Valley’s wrestling team recently honored longtime pee wee coach and volunteer, Keith Wilcox. Wilcox suffered a stroke in 2010 while umpiring a Little League baseball league. UV varsity wrestling coach Jim DuVall said that Wilcox is mostly recovered from the stroke, but is still unable to coach wrestling. In honor of Wilcox’s volunteer service to Unadilla Valley’s youth, Unadilla renamed its club in Wilcox’s honor, and are now called Wilcox’s Wolverines. In addition to his volunteer duties with wrestling, Wilcox also ran the UV youth outdoor soccer and Little League programs. “He is truly an adult who was in it for the kids,” DuVall said Thursday. Following the renaming of the pee wee team, Wilcox was presented a t-shirt reflecting the new name.

We don’t talk about Otselic Valley girls basketball that often. It had been a number of years since the Lady Vikings qualified for the postseason – until last year’s club – and it’s been too long since the Vikes had a winning season. In the last 10 days, the Vikes have won three of their last four games – the club’s first three wins under first-year coach Carl Hills – and are playing repeat opponents much tougher the second time around. In its first game against Cincinnatus nearly three weeks ago, OV was blown out, 49-18. Two weeks later, that loss was avenged by a 41-35 count. That is a 37-point turnaround, perhaps the largest I have ever seen (particularly in such a short time frame) in nearly 18 years of covering high school basketball. It doesn’t appear OV has any path to a postseason berth this year, but the Vikings seem to be heading down the right road. “Being a first year coach, it has taken some time to for the team break some bad habits and accept some new concepts,” Hills wrote in an email earlier this week. ” We have improved on the defensive end, and that has helped us to be in position to win games.  We have much to work on as we still have our weaknesses.  The most important thing is the girls are believing in themselves.”

B-G girls basketball coach, Bob Conway, has not had a losing season in my 18 seasons covering local basketball. I thought that streak would finally come to an end after watching his club lose to Sherburne-Earlville by 41 points on Dec. 7. The Bobcats started the season with five losses in their opening six games, but have since run off eight straight victories. In those opening six games, B-G topped 35 points just once, and Conway often lamented his team’s offensive struggles. In compiling the win streak, points have come a little easier. I told Conway at Sherburne-Earlville six weeks ago that I expect his team will get better as the season progresses and become more competitive. Did I expect eight wins in a row? Heck no! B-G is now tied for third in the Midstate Athletic Conference, and with another win, will assure at least another .500 season. What else should I have expected from a guy who now has 452 career victories?

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat

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