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Meet the athletes who excelled during the 2011-12 girls basketball season. The awards were selected by MSG Varsity's staff of reporters and editor.
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MSG Varsity: Westchester/Hudson Valley girls basketball awards
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Saniya Chong, Ossining
As a sophomore last year, Chong won this award running away. This year, it was never a race.
Considered the best player in Section 1 history, the junior guard had a season for the ages. She reached the 2,000-career point plateau, set a state record with 100 3-pointers in a season, and began a recruiting frenzy among the likes of UConn, St. John’s, Rutgers, UNC and many others.
“Saniyamania” became an attraction for every game. Chong has done it with scoring efforts of 56 points (vs. Molloy) and 55 (vs. Irvington) and averaged a Section 1-best 33.3 points, 9.7 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 steals and 1.4 blocks per game
Chong continued to grow into her role as a leader. She guided Ossining to its second straight Class AA title in Section 1 and an undefeated record before losing to eventual Federation champion Cicero-North Syracuse in the state semifinal.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Lorraine Moylan, Pearl River
In her 21st season with the Pirates, Moylan guided the program through Section 1’s most competitive conference and into the state final four for the first time.
Despite losing standout point guard Nicole Grossbard with a knee injury before the season started, Moylan kept this group on track. The Pirates went 16-2 in the regular season, falling to rival Tappan Zee and AA champion Ossining, before storming through the Section 1 tournament, knocking off TZ in the final.
Moylan’s best effort was in the regional final when standout Christa Scognamiglio went to the bench early with fouls and Pearl River fell into a big hole against Red Hook. The Pirates rallied in the second half and booked their trip to the state final four.
Pearl River was one of Section 1’s most fundamentally-sound and relentless defensive teams.
All-Westchester/Hudson Valley: First team
Marley Giddins, Irvington: The senior forward goes out a winner after earning MVP honors in the Class B Federation tournament. Giddins, the only player in Westchester girls basketball history to start on three state championship teams, averaged 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Giddins, who scored her 1,000th career point this season, averaged 18.2 points in six state tournament games. She will play at Division III power Amherst.
Brittni Lai, Irvington: The catalyst for the Class B Federation champs, Lai had a knack for elevating her game when the Bulldogs needed her most. The junior point guard had 45 combined points in two Slam Dunk tournament games, was all-tournament in Section 1 and Federation tournaments, and was the MVP at states. In the state final she had 25 points on 10 of 11 shooting and finished the season averaging 16.6 points and 3.6 assists per game.
Lexi Martins, Irvington: The junior forward was pretty much a lock for double-digit points and rebounds every time she stepped on the floor. In guiding the Bulldogs to their third straight Class B state title, Martins earned MVP honors in the Section 1 tournament, and averaged 17.8 points and 15.8 rebounds in six state tournament games. Martins, who scored her 1,000th career point and grabbed her 1,000th rebound this season, only scored under 10 points in three games, all blowout victories.
Christa Scognamiglio, Pearl River: The fourth-year player leaves quite a legacy on Pearl River basketball. The senior guard leaves as the school’s all-time leading scorer and guided the program to a Section 1 Class A championship and berth in the state final four. “Scogs” was the MVP of the Section 1 tournament and played incredibly in the state tournament, highlighted by a 19-point second half in a comeback win over Red Hook. Scognamiglio will continue her career at Fairfield.
Destini Walker, Ossining: Only a freshman, Walker emerged as a true star this winter. Despite so much of the Ossining offense revolving around Saniya Chong, the 5-foot-10 forward averaged 14.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game for the Section 1 Class AA champs.
Carolyn Binder (Rye Country Day, Jr., G)
Asia Jackson (Peekskill, Sr., G)
Maia Hood (Hamilton, Sr., F)
Beatriz Williams (Byram Hills, Sr., F)
Jalay Knowles (Ossining, Fr., C)
Alison Cook (Pearl River, Sr., G)
Kim Hanlon (White Plains, Sr., G)
Raegan Knox (John Jay-CR, Sr., G)
Allie Coppola (Hackley, Jr., F)
Sade King (Mount Vernon, Sr., G)
About the MSG Varsity All-Stars: The honorees were selected among public and private schools within the MSG Varsity coverage region, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and parts of Orange County.
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