Lake Placid’s hoops all-stars
LAKE PLACID — Although they didn’t take home postseason titles, Lake Placid boys and girls basketball teams came through with successful winter campaigns, and six players from those squads were honored for their efforts by the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference.
Three Blue Bombers boys received MVAC South Division postseason honors and the same held true for Lake Placid’s girls
Lake Placid’s boys experienced one of their best runs in years, finishing second in the MVAC South at 10-2 and 14-6 overall.
“I know we have a few players on the league all-star team but without another one or two players this team is not where it is at without the collective unit,” coach Brian Van Nostrand said. “As for the all-stars, I am proud of them to have received this recognition. It goes to show how hard they have worked all year and how much the other coaches in the league have recognized their accomplishments throughout the season.”
Junior exchange student Jeeravat “Pao” Tantitanomwong was a huge factor in the Blue Bombers’ success. The forward from Thailand was named to the MVAC South first team. Pao led the Blue Bombers in scoring with a 21.2 points per game average, which was tied for third in all of Section VII. Pao’s 55 three-pointers in 16 games played was also the second highest in the section.
“Pao has been a huge addition to our team this year,” Van Nostrand said. “He was a strong presence on both sides of the ball for us. Pao was someone that we relied on offensively and he helped us win a lot of games this year. Pao’s scoring ability will be missed next season.”
Senior Jesse Izzo was a second-team MVAC South selection for Lake Placid. He averaged 7.9 points per game and knocked down 38 three-pointers.
“Jesse Izzo stepped up big for us,” Van Nostrand said. “When we needed a boost, Jesse was there to provide it with either big plays on the defensive end of the floor or hitting a big corner three to spark the team. Jesse is a high energy player and someone who the team feeds off of throughout the game. His energy will be missed next season.”
The one all-conference player expected to return to the team next season is Matt Brandes, who was an honorable mention selection.
“Matt Brandes, as a sophomore, has grown so much throughout the season,” Van Nostrand said. “As the season progressed, Matt became more confident in himself and really started to show it on the floor. Matt had some huge games with a big number of assists. His ability to hit the open player has really shown throughout the year. Matt will continue to grow and be a huge part of our program moving forward.”
The future looks bright for the Lake Placid girls basketball team, as three sophomores were named all MVAC South all-stars. The Blue Bombers girls finished with a 3-6 mark in the league and were 5-12 overall.
Deidra Kellerman led the way as a first-team selection at forward. Head coach Jeff Potter described Kellerman as “a streaky player who gave our team 110 percent every night. Kellerman paced the Blue Bombers in scoring with a 10.6 points per game average.
“She hustled and gave our team a solid 30-32 minutes every game,” Potter added. “Defensively, she was aggressive and scrappy, playing with intensity every minute she was on the court.”
Point guard and team co-captain Natalie Tavares was named to the MVAC second team for Lake Placid.
“She handled the ball for us and ran our offense,” Potter said. Her quickness and ball handling skills beat any press thrown at us this season. She led our team in assists and steals. In my opinion she was one of the top point guards in the league. Without her leadership we would have been a different team.”
Grace Crawford was the Blue Bombers third player to receive postseason recognition as an MVAC South honorable metion selection. Crawford was second on the team in scoring, averaging 8.1 points per game.
“Grace was our most consistent player throughout the year,” Potter said. “Her quick release on her shot made her an outside threat.”