BINGHAMTON – After being in this same spot one year ago, the Unadilla Valley Storm are back with vengeance. Falling to Tully last year at SRC Arena, the Storm made it their goal to get back to this exact game this season with an eye to move into the New York State Championship final four a week from now.
“We are a year more mature and we know what it is all about this year,” said UV head coach Matt Osborne. “We used the expression in the sectional championship game that we had been there before and it showed. Our experience in a game like that was important, we were down four early on and never panicked.”
Osborne contributes that to the senior leadership he has this year with Andrew Jackson, Wyatt Grey and Levi Rifanburg. On top of the seniors that are the forefront of the team, the Storm have many guys on the squad that have played a lot of basketball and Osborne stated it helps “...when the going gets tough.”
“These guys are a cohesive group,” said the Storm’s head coach. “They trust each other, they care about each other and we have one main goal and that is to go out and compete at the highest level each game.”
On Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Floyd L. Maines Arena, located in Binghamton, the Unadilla Valley Storm will take a one a familiar opponent in the Cooperstown Hawkeyes.
The Storm and the Hawkeyes battled on the court back in the December, the early part of the season. Cooperstown came out as the victors by a slim margin of three points.
“We played good defense against [Cooperstown] back in December,” said Osborne. “We held [Jack] Lambert to six points, and we kept [John] Kennedy off the boards.
“We, however, struggled with our offense that night as we did not pass the ball well and we did not get the ball inside. Those are things we are looking to improve on.”
The Cooperstown Hawkeyes
Osborne said if the Storm can contain Jack Lambert, the Hawkeyes leading scorer this season who average 22.8 points per game, and if they do a good defensive job covering Noah Lifgren, his team should have a good chance to advance.
Lifgren, a fundamentally sound player that can do the little things inside to score, can rebound the ball as well. He has an average of 11.1 points per game and pulls down almost eight rebounds in each outing.
“Lambert is a very good player,” said the UV head coach. “He can shoot, get to the basket, and get his teammates involved.
“We need to stay out on him so he does not get hot from the 3-point line and when he drives we need to have help in position to stop him.”
Kennedy, who Osborne mentioned from their first meeting this season, is a 6-foot-8 sophomore who averages 7.8 rebounds per game as he can clean up the glass on both ends of the floor.. He also registers almost seven points in the scoring column every game as well.
Lansing is a shooter for the Hawkeyes and has scored 7 points per game. Calvin Sandler is also one who can put up numbers on a consistent basis for Cooperstown, scoring 6.7 points per game...