As the regular season winds down, several valley varsity sports teams are preparing for what they hope are long runs into the sectional and state tournaments.
In basketball, five of the 10 local teams are ranked in the New York State Sportswriters Association polls that came out Jan. 28. Leading the way is the Elizabethtown-Lewis Lady Lions varsity basketball team, which is ranked seventh in girls Class D with a perfect 14-0 record. They are joined in that poll by Keene, who sits in 19th with a record of 11-3. The 10-2 AuSable Valley Lady Patriots are also ranked, positioned at number 11 in the Class C poll.
The Lady Lions have had a dominating season to this point, scoring 781 points throughout the 2012-13 campaign (55.8 per game) while allowing only 294 (21.0), owning the largest point differential of any valley school with a +487 (an average win of 34.8 points per game). The Lady Patriots have scored 613 points (51.1) while giving up 408 (34.0), a difference of +205 (17.1). Keene, meanwhile, has scored 582 points (41.6) while giving up 424 points (30.3) for a difference of +158 (11.3).
Willsboro, who scored their second win of the season against rival Westport to move their record to 7-9 with two games remaining, is barely in the red for scoring differential, having scored 534 points (33.4) while giving up 554 points (34.6), a difference of -20 (1.2). Westport, whose record dropped to 7-8, has kept games close to every opponent except Elizabethtown-Lewis, has scored 540 points (36.0) while giving up 668 points (40.6), for a -128 margin (8.5).
The Eagles do boast the leading girls scorer in the valley, as Brendee Russell has scored 210 points (14.0 PPG). Russell has connected on 77 field goals and leads the valley with 55 converted free throws. Russell also has the lone three-point field goal of the Eagles season.