Clarkson/Leigh seniors girls set a new standard
When Clarkson/Leigh girls basketball lost 42-15 to Blue Hill in the C2-8 district final on Friday, it ended the career of arguably the most successful senior class in Patriot history.
Since the co-op agreement between Clarkson and Leigh began for the 2012-13 season, the Patriots have struggled to find success in the win column.
This was the seventh season the two schools combined, and by far the most memorable on the hardwood.
The Patriots won seven games in 2013, nine in 2014, eight in 2015, four in 2016, nine in 2017 and 14 in 2018.
This year’s team smashed those previous marks going 21-4.
Though their careers ended with a loss, the senior group of Beth Wiese, Hannah Kasik, Kaegan Held, Paige Moore and Halee Steffensmeier will go down as the leaders that raised the bar for Clarkson/Leigh girls basketball and set a new standard of expectations.
“It was tough in the locker room,” said head coach Matt Murren after the loss to Blue Hill. “Obviously, any time you have seniors, it’s very tough, especially a group that has played so much the last three or four years. They’re all unique kids. They’re all great kids, I enjoyed every one of them.”
From the time they were all freshmen, each of the five has played in at least 17 games every year. The only exception was Kasik, who missed last season due to injury.
Other than that. their fingerprints have been all over everything Clarkson/Leigh has built and accomplished since they came to their first varsity practice in the fall of 2015.
“I loved coaching Beth (Wiese),” Murren said. “She is one that you can just get her riled up and she works really hard.”
“Halee (Steffensmeier) has been one of my favorite kids I’ve probably ever coached because she’d run through a wall for me.
“Kaegan (Held) is just an extra hard worker, from when she was a freshman to where she is now, every accolade she’s gotten, she deserves.”
Steffensmeier, Wiese and Moore didn’t put up the point totals of some of their fellow classmates, but always found ways to contribute defensively or on the glass.
Held has averaged over 10 points per game each of the past two years while also putting up an assists-per-game number of more than two in three of her four seasons.
Kasik scored nearly 10 points per game this season and has two seasons of more than six rebounds per game.
“Hannah (Kasik) it’s been great to have her back because she’s just so athletic,” Murren said. “She just does so many great things.”
“Paige (Moore) she just does a tremendous job of doing her role,” Murren said. “Paige’s minutes were up and down, but at the end of the day Paige was always a fantasist player and teammate for us.”
Despite losing all that talent and experience, the Patriots have key players coming back for next season.
Junior Ashlynn Novotny led the team in minutes per game this season and scored just under eight points on average.
Fellow junior Kim Stodola and sophomores Cassidy Hoffman and Alissa Kasik all average over 10 minutes per game and will most likely see an increase in playing time next season.
They should also see an increase in confidence. Held, Kasik, Moore, Steffensmeier and Wiese each played a part in bringing Clarkson/Leigh girls basketball to new heights.
They helped make the Patriots believe that they belong.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net