10 Section 9 Hoopers to Watch Out For This Season
By Sean Lynch
If you’ve looked at the forecast this week, you might’ve recognized one thing — snow. Snow in the forecast also means one thing; the high school basketball season is upon us.
Throughout the spring and summer, I’ve watched various ballers in AAU games, showcase games, and have even had the opportunity to play with some in pickup games.
Below, I have compiled a list of 10 players to watch out for this upcoming season.
Washingtonville senior forward Kareem Lubin
I would say I have a better view of the Washingtonville basketball team than most sports writers in the area. I graduated from there in 2017 and had the opportunity to be involved as the team manager there during my senior year. In my three years watching Kareem, he is the hardest worker I’ve seen on the hardwood. If I had to build my team around one Section 9 player, it would be Kareem. Lubin is a 6-foot-3 forward who runs the floor with ease, perfect for breaking full-court presses. Along with NFA senior Caleb Simmons, Lubin is the only other Section 9 returner to average a double-double last season. He quit the soccer team this summer to focus on basketball, and has shown improvements on his shot, shooting 3-of-3 from three-point range at the BCANY Mid-Hudson Showcase three weeks ago.
Cornwall senior forward Will Fredericks
After averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds last season, Fredericks looks to take on a bigger role for the Dragons with the graduation of forwards Zack Swaby & Jackson Geddes. I was most impressed with his leadership during the BCANY Mid-Hudson Showcase. Despite never playing with his teammates before, Fredericks was calling out picks and switches on defense. Don’t be surprised if Fredericks averages 20 points per game for the Dragons.
Kingston senior guard Brian Moore
Myself and legendary coach Dick O’Neill were talking about players he liked after the BCANY Mid-Hudson Showcase. In his words, “Man, that Brian Moore kid can really play.” — Oh yes, he can. Last season, Moore averaged 24.2 points per game, 55% from 3-point range (62-for-113) and 87% from the free-throw-line (87-for-100). According to his trainer, Rohan Johnson of Lion Heart Basketball, he said, “He’s the best scorer I’ve ever worked with and his work ethic is amazing. He’ll be in the gym before school starts and he’ll be back at 9 p.m. for a two hour workout.” I’m not sure how Moore can top his stats from last season, but if he does, Section 9 has a Steph Curry on their hands.
Goshen senior guard Zack Foley
Foley is the top returning scorer from last season, averaging 24.5 points per game. He’s at 766 career points with the Gladiators and has two goals for his final season — get to 1,000 and bring home a Section title. The school record for career points is 1,344 held by Izett Buchanan (1990). Foley wants to surpass that, but says it’s more important to win the Class A plaque for the first time in school history. “Obviously it would be really cool to be the all-time leading scorer in Goshen basketball, but it’s more important to win the Section title with my teammates.” Foley will need to average 28.9 points per game to surpass the scoring record that hasn’t been broken in 26 years.
Chester junior guard/forward Kevin Stein
One of the kids I played in pickup games with & against over the summer. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Stein has a very unique skillset for his size. Last season with the Hambletonians, Stein played all five positions. He has the ball-handling ability to bring the ball up the court and the strength to guard a center in the paint. It will be very interesting to see what else Stein can do this season for Chester —one of the early favorites for Class B.
Cornwall senior forward Maggie Malone
Malone was one of Section 9’s most consistent forwards last season. Last season, she averaged 18 points & 8 rebounds, while leading the Dragons in scoring in 20-out-of-21 games. A few weeks ago, she committed to SUNY Cortland to continue her basketball career. Coming into this season, Malone has 1,116 career points and is 477 points away from becoming Cornwall’s all-time leading scorer.
Highland senior guard Brianna Rozzi
Like Malone, Rozzi scored her 1000th point during her junior season. One of the best all-around guards in the area last season, Rozzi averaged 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Huskies. During the summer, she committed to play at Division I Loyola-Maryland. Rozzi currently has 1,318 career points and is 297 points away from becoming Highland’s all-time leading scorer.
Washingtonville senior guard Victoria Pecovic
Chances are, if you go to a Washingtonville girls basketball game and see someone shooting from way beyond the arc — it’s Victoria Pecovic. A 5-foot-3 guard, Pecovic has as unlimited of range as you will ever see in a high school girls game. Last season, she aided Washingtonville to its first Class AA final and led Section 9 with 65 3-pointers. Shooters shoot, and it will be interesting to see if Pecovic can make even more 3-pointers this season.
Goshen junior guard Erin Smith
One of the most reliable players for Goshen last season, Smith averaged 16.8 points per game, while being responsible for 40% of the Gladiators scoring. She led the team in points, assists, steals and three-pointers made and scored over 30 points twice.
S.S Seward junior guard/forward Alexa Roach
At 5-foot-9, Roach averaged 16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and made 44 3-pointers last season. With the graduation of 1,000 point scorer Erika Straub and forward Alexa Chiappone, look for Roach to try and lead the Spartans to its first Class C title since 2007-08.