The all-state teams for the 2012-13 season were released by the New York Sportswriters Association shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday. Irvington stars Lexi Martins and Brittni Lai shared state player of the year honors in Class B, while Ossining coach Dan Ricci took home coach of the year honors in Class AA. For Martins, it is her third consecutive player of the year selection.
In what I felt were the two biggest snubs this year, Ossining senior Saniya Chong was not named Class AA player of the year, although the section’s all-time leading scorer did make the first team for the second consecutive season. Bishop Ford’s Aaliyah Jones was named Class AA player of the year.
Before everyone just assumes I’m on the “Chong-bandwagon” for saying she was snubbed from the McDonald’s All-American game, and now this, let me just say why I felt she was snubbed from this particular honor: Chong won Miss New York Basketball, one of the most prestigious honors in the state. Chong (pictured above with Ricci) also broke and/or shattered countless state records this season and was the only New York representative for the WBCA All-American game. If she’s good enough to be All-American, how is she not good enough to be all-state, let alone in just her class? Doesn’t make sense to me.
The other massive snub goes to Clarsktown South junior forward-center Laura Castaldo, who was not named to any of the 12 all-state teams in Class AA. Given that there are 12 teams, more than any other class, with five players selected to each class, I don’t see how Castaldo (25, pictured right) could not be a part of the top 60 in the state after averaging 20-plus points and 12-plus rebounds per game as a 5-foot-8 center.
Yes, Clarkstown South did not the strongest of schedules, but it was far from awful. Plus, anyone, regardless of height or age, who can average 20-12 in this section, in Class AA, is at least worthy of some recognition on this list.
Not taking anything away from her, but if Lubirdia Gordon was named to the third team, and she was hurt during the season, and Mount Vernon was seeded lower than Clarkstown South in the Section 1 tournament, how can Castaldo not be at least third team?
Here are the local recipients, listed by class. The complete list of selections can be viewed here.
Coach of the Year: Dan Ricci, Ossining
First team — Saniya Chong, Ossining, Sr.
Third team — Lubirdia Gordon, Mount Vernon, Sr.
Fourth team — Jalay Knowles, Ossining, So.
Fourth team — Calli Balfour, John Jay-East Fishkill, Sr.
Eighth team — Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Ossining, 8th
Ninth team — Alyssa Lawrence, Ursuline, Sr.
First team — Maeve Parahus, Albertus Magnus, Sr.
Second team — Kristen McLaughlin, Tappan Zee, Sr. (pictured above with Castaldo)
Third team — Marissa “Missy” Scognamiglio, Pearl River, Sr.
Seventh team — Amanda DeCourcey, Pearl River, Sr.
Eighth team — Ryan Doherty, Albertus Magnus, Jr.
Eighth team — Lanay Rodney, Peekskill, Fr.
Players of the Year: Lexi Martins and Brittni Lai, Irvington, both Sr.
Second team — Toni Pilla, Ardsley, Sr.
Fourth team — Ally Silfen, Blind Brook, Sr.
Fifth team — Imani Tilford, Woodlands, Jr.
Seventh team — Shayna Gaskins, Kennedy, Sr.
Second team — Maia Hood, Hamilton, Sr.
Third team — Carolyn Binder, Rye Country Day, Sr.
Fifth team — Tiffany Corselli, Hamilton, Sr.
Eighth team — Jasmine Robinson, Hamilton, Sr.
Photo of Irvington players by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News
Photo of Ricci and Chong by John Meore/The Journal News