Chester’s triumphs extend to the court

NEW PALTZ — Chester certainly added to its case for being the best all-around sports school in Section 9 on Friday night.

The boys’ basketball team, the No. 4 seed in a loaded Class C field, knocked off No. 2 Rhinebeck, 62-47, to win its first Section 9 boys basketball title since 2001.

Since 2003, Chester’s football team has won nine Section 9 titles, advancing to the state championship game three times.

Chester’s baseball and softball teams won Section 9 titles in 2014. It was the third title in four years for the softball team.

And the girls’ basketball team played in Friday’s championship game, losing to a stacked Pine Plains team, 45-38. It was the girls’ second finals appearance in the last three seasons.

“Chester athletics are doing amazing right now,” said senior forward Brandon Sadlier, who’s been a star two-way player on the football team in recent years. “This is my first section championship for basketball, so it feels amazing. Hopefully next year’s team can do the same.”

“This feels so good. We haven’t done this in a while for Chester,” said junior forward Justin Feldman. “We’re glad to bring it back for our fans, our team, everything Chester.”

Consider all the challenges thrown at the Chester boys this season.

1) John A. Coleman Catholic, after a long stretch of dominance in Class D, was moved up to C for the 2014-15 campaign. Chester beat the top-seeded Statesmen in the semifinals.

2) Add in some other good teams at the top in Class C – next-door neighbors S.S. Seward and a Rhinebeck team coming off a state title in soccer in the fall – and Chester’s road to the top wasn’t going to be easy.

3) Many of the Chester players were practicing with the football team for the state championship game two days before the start of the basketball season. So that’s a short timeframe in which these players had to shift gears to get ready for basketball.

So it’s been quite the run for the Hambletonians, who took last season’s second half collapse against Seward in the Class C championship game to heart.

“Last year, at our end-of-the-year sports banquet, we talked about the success of all the other teams,” said head coach Jon Marsilio. “Football, they beat their rival for the first time. Baseball, softball, soccer, everybody beat Seward last year but we didn’t. We didn’t beat our rival and we didn’t win the section. This year, that was our mission. We beat Seward earlier in the year, we beat Haldane, who was ranked No. 3 in the state and we get a rematch against them on Tuesday. Beating Coleman, the defending Class D eastern region champs, that was a big win for us. We’re the best four seed out there right now.”

Check out the boys’ game story here.

The Chester girls matched Pine Plains blow-by-blow in the first half, taking a 19-18 lead into the break. The Hambletonians also did a heck of a job defensively on Pine Plains star center Ashley Starzyk, holding her to 11 points and 11 rebounds, but they just couldn’t get the offense going after halftime.

Here’s the game story.

I’ll be covering the Class AA, B and A finals Saturday and Sunday, so look for updates on Twitter (@THR_Montgomery) and on the championship scoreboard on if you can’t make it to the games.

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