Stellar Saints

April 3-9, 2003
Stellar Saints
By Howie Mansfield
Seton Catholic Central boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have memorable seasons

BINGHAMTON — The Seton Catholic Central community has much to be proud of these days. One year removed from a state championship in girls’ soccer, both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams achieved great successes. Although both squads lost before taking home a state crown, it is the achievements by the teams that will be remembered. The boys’ basketball team won the first Southern Tier Athletic Conference (STAC) championship in Seton Catholic Central history and the Section IV Class C title. The girls’ basketball team won the Section IV Class championship and won a game in the state tournament, claiming a spot in the New York State Final Four. “For a school our size to win like this is wonderful. The kids and the coaches have been working hard and they all came together this year. They are just class acts,” said Kathleen Dwyer, principal of Seton Catholic Central High School. “Our kids fought to the end in their games. We are all so proud of them.” Senior Josh Rounds was a big part of the Saints’ success, teammates said. He was recently named the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Rounds and Kenneth Repetto were named to the All-Metro Basketball team while Coach Chris Sinicki was named Press and Sun-Bulletin Coach of the Year.

“We had a lot of fun this year,” said senior Josh Rounds. “Playing in our gym is wild. We have a pep band, and you see this sea of green for Seton in the bleachers.” After beating Trumansburg for the Section IV title, Seton Catholic Central’s boys’ team played Cooperstown in the first round of the New York State tournament. Cooperstown came in undefeated, but the Saints believed they could play with them, and they did. Although the boys lost the game in overtime, the experience was a memorable one.

“It was the craziest atmosphere I’ve ever played in,” said Monaco. “It was like a big time Division I college game. They had to turn over 200 people away because there were so many people there. But in the end, we came into the season as favorites in our league and we got it done. We lived up to the hype.” Dwyer said occasionally teams can be distracted away from school work, but not her boys. “These kids who played basketball never missed my class or any assignments,” she said. “They were disciplined on and off the court. Several of the boys are in my Advanced Placement English class and they are all doing well. They are not just athletes, but student athletes. The boys did a great job.” The girls’ team wasn’t supposed to achieve greatness this season, but teamwork propelled the Lady Saints to a late-season run ending in the state semifinals. After their improbable win in the sectional finals, Seton Catholic Central played Section III Waterville, which was a huge favorite. But the Lady Saints hung close until the end and a last-second shot moved them into to the Final Four at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.

Senior Molly McManus said the season didn’t start well, but concluded in great fashion. “During the regular season, we were off and on, but then in sectional play, we started playing really well together. We were able to do well in pressure situations,” McManus said. “It was a really big turnaround for us.”

McManus said the team prepared well for the Waterville game, leading to the big win. “We went up to watch them and we got to know their key players,” she said. “We knew what to expect from them and it helped us in the fourth quarter.” Seton Catholic Central’s girls team lost 69-49 to South Seneca High School in Troy on March 15, ending their season. South Seneca went on to win the state championship in Class C.

“We had a lot of fun this season, to go out the way we did was awesome,” said senior Erica Bayne. “We exceeded everyone’s expectations.” Senior Colleen Kozel said this season will be best remembered because of the closeness. “We were all like a family,” Kozel said. “We got along really well.” The cohesiveness of the boys’ and girls’ teams helped them all season long. Even after the boys’ season ended in the state regionals, all of the players traveled to see the girls play, McManus said. “We had a lot of support from them during our games. Every one of them was at the game in Troy and it was so great,” said McManus.

McManus hopes the experience in the state tournament will help the team in the future. “I’ve been to the state finals for soccer and it’s a really competitive atmosphere, just like with basketball,” she said. “If you’ve been there before, you don’t get as nervous and realize that you can compete with teams on that level.” Dwyer said Sinicki and girls coach Colleen Jayne helped keep the players focused during the season and gave Seton Catholic Central something to be proud of the rest of the school year. “The teams were so dedicated,” Dwyer said. “Something like this really carries you through the school year on a positive note.”

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