Top Ten 2017-18 high school sports storylines

Our high school sports year in review is here! Here is our top 10 high school sports storylines from the 2017-18 school year.


10: Tucker Gifford pulls double duty

Broadalbin-Perth’s Tucker Gifford was a busy man last winter, coaching both the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams at the school, a very rare feat. On multiple occasions, he would coach a practice for one team and then a game with the other on the same day. He does expect to do it again next year, he told the Daily Gazette.

9: Ballston Spa’s strong spring

Despite being one of the smallest schools in Class AA, the Scotties had a heck of a spring. The varsity softball team reached the state title game, the boys’ lacrosse team won a sectional title, and the varsity baseball team played for a sectional title. In addition, the girls’ volleyball team played for a sectional championship during the winter.

8: Mohonasen’s Cinderella run

The Warriors varsity basketball team had already won a somewhat unexpected sectional title, but they didn’t stop there. They won a regional game and got all the way to the state semifinals. It was the furthest run in program history, and finished the season at 15-10 after a tough Suburban Council regular season. The school is moving to the Colonial Council for the 2018-19 school year.

7: Kelsey Chimel wins international race

Saratoga Springs junior Kelsey Chimel was already known at the state level, but made herself known by everyone this school year, and solidified it by winning the women’s junior division race at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry Challenge in Scotland. She ran a 14:10.00 in a four kilometer race, and was one of the six Americans in the race. She was the first runner in school history to compete abroad.

6: Calista Phippen’s unbelievable season 

Ichabod Crane softball pitcher Calista Phippen had a historically good season, striking out an incredible 357 batters in 148 innings, walking just 17 and giving up only 23 hits. She threw seven no-hitters and two perfect games, including a 20-strikeout no-hitter in the state semifinals against Olean. Later that day, she threw another shutout to lead the Riders to a Class B state title.

5: Holy Trinity’s emotional run

Less than a year after the team lost all of their equipment in a fieldhouse fire, the Holy Trinity Pride not only won its first sectional game in program history, they won the sectional title. At the state level, they came up three points short of a state title, falling 28-25 against Skaneateles. However, it was a run to be proud of for the Pride.

4: Jay Marra, Queensbury finally win state title

Queensbury varsity baseball coach Jay Marra had won 11 Section II titles, five appearances in the state final and nearly 700 total wins but he finally got that state title in June, as Queensbury won their first state championship in program history. The team went 20-4 in Marra’s 40th year at the helm.

3: Lake George, Mekeel win state basketball titles

Section II took home two boys’ basketball state titles in March, when Lake George finished off an undefeated 28-0 season with a Class C state title, their third since 2013. In addition, Mekeel won a NYSPHSAA Class B title, going 25-4 and reaching the federation championship game, a loss to Fannie Lou Hamer. It was the best season in program history.

2: Cambridge, Troy go back-to-back

Thanksgiving weekend was one to remember for Section II football fans. On Friday, Cambridge won their second straight Class D state title with a 26-14 win over Maple Grove. Two days later on Sunday, Troy won a Class AA state title against Lancaster. It was the first and second time a Section II team had won back-to-back state football titles since the current format began in 1993. 

1: Joe Girard III shatters the record books

Joe Girard III was unreal for Glens Falls basketball this season, averaging 50 points per game and led the Indians to a 20-3 season, reaching the Class B sectional semifinals. He broke Kobe Lufkin’s Section II scoring record of 2,682 points on January 11, then broke Lance Stephenson’s state record of 2,946 points in Amsterdam on January 30. He sits at 3,306 points for his career with one season left of eligibility. He had nearly 30 Division I offers, but cut his list to six last Saturday.


Aidan Joly

Aidan Joly joined Upstate Courier Sports in February 2016 and became managing editor of the sports department in August 2017. He covers Section II athletics, the Siena men's basketball team and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Aidan attends Saratoga Springs High School and will be attending Canisius College in the fall of 2018. Aidan can be contacted through social media (Twitter is @ByAidanJoly) or by email,

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