Marauders hoops team target Center State Conference league championships
It wasn't too long ago that Sherburne-Earlville found itself under the .500 mark as a rule rather than the exception. Over the past 10 years, the exception is now the rule.
"I expect us to back in the thick of things in the division," said S-E head coach Kevin Vibbard. "I feel like we have a legitimate chance to win it again."
Yes, the Marauders have raised the bar with their expectations. Instead of just finishing with more wins than losses, they now seek - no expect - to contend for division championships.
"They've really bought into that type of mentality," Vibbard said. "We might struggle a little early in the season as Gavin (Giroux) gets more healthy. By Christmas, I expect him to be at full speed."
Giroux was an all-league and all-county performer last year. He served notice of his potential with a 20-point, 20-rebound game, however; a hairline fracture suffered in the football season is still healing.
Giroux will be accompanied by returning point guard, Matt Hull. Dylan Seymour and Ian Fleming move from reserve roles to starting spots, and Unadilla Valley transfer, Sam Tuttle, adds size and varsity experience to the forward spot.
"We need Gavin healthy, and we'll need to take care of the ball," Vibbard said. "I see us as more of a halfcourt team, and I feel like our bigs will be our best advantage in most games."
Head coach: Kevin Vibbard, 12th year
Last year: 17-4, lost in Section III Class B semifinals
Starters: Gavin Giroux, sr., 6-5/F; Matt Hull, jr. 5-11/G; Dylan Seymour, sr., 5-11/G; Ian Fleming, sr., 5/11G; Sam Tuttle, jr., 6-2/F.
Key reserves: Tyler Bigford, so.; Ian Fredericks, sr.; Tyler Rodriguez, sr.
Outlook: The Marauders have finished with winning seasons nine of the last 10 seasons, so the mentality of contending for a Center State Conference division title is firmly fixed as a team goal. That goal, in fact, has been reached three of the past four seasons. With all-league returning players Giroux and Hull leading the way, Vibbard says his team expects to contend. Added to the mix is a bulked up schedule with non-conference dates against Cazenovia and the Syracuse Academy of Science. The Marauders will be battle-tested come playoff time.
-- Patrick Newell
Much like the boys' program, the Marauders girls have enjoyed sustained success the last decade. Winning seasons are now the norm, and that comes on the heels of nearly 25 years without a single winning season.
The last three years have been especially fruitful on the victory side behind senior leaders Lilly Berg and Savannah Irwin.
Berg became the school's all-time leading scorer late last year ,and with 945 career points, will become the first girls' player to eclipse 1,000 career points early in the season
Irwin, too, is on track for 1,000 career points. The school's all-time leading three-point shooter is just shy of 800 career points, and has averaged in double figures scoring all three of her varsity campaigns.
"They've both been here a long time and have a lot of experience," said S-E coach Karen Mulligan. "Other kids will have more opportunities this year Lilly and Savannah attract so much attention."
Berg is a 6-2 center who is a sure bet to play somewhere on the next level, while Irwin is a perfect complement as an outside marksmen.
What will help Berg and Irwin is established returning experience in Lexi Elderkin at guard, and forwards Emily Stanton and Miranda Wright - all juniors.
The bench is also a bit longer than previous years with the roster now up to 10 players. Seniors Morgan Simpson and Crystal Beckwith, along with freshman Kaitlyn Furner, were tabbed by Mulligan as the likely choices to see the most reserve minutes.
"Defensively we'll need to be better this year," Mulligan said. "We definitely feel we can compete for the division championship, and the girls have all worked hard in the offseason to get on the same page."
Head coach: Karen Mulligan, 8th year
Last season: 13-7, lost in quarterfinals of Section III Class B tournament
Starters: Lilly Berg, sr. 6-2/C, Savannah Irwin, sr., 5-5/G Lexi Elderkin, jr., 5-3/G; Emily Stanton, jr., 5-10/F-Miranda Wright, jr., 5-7/F
Key reserves: Morgan Simpson, sr., Crystal Beckwith, sr.; Kaitlyn Furner, fr.
Outlook: Mulligan is the first to admit that the offense will run through Berg and Irwin. If past years are any indication, 30-plus combined points per night is just about a given out of those two. Elderkin is a good outside shooter, and Mulligan feels that Wright and Stanton may surprise people this season on the offensive end. With more depth than past years, the Marauders can do a few more things on both ends of the floor. That may be the difference maker in a run for the Center State Conference division title.