By ADAM SHINDER
Recorder Sports Staff
At 6-foot-7, Fonda-Fultonville junior Will Turner -- rather unsurprisingly -- stands out in a crowd. This basketball season, he did so in more ways than one.
During a season that featured a litany of stellar individual performances, a rash of dramatic overtime games and the return of an area team to the Glens Falls Civic Center -- the Canajoharie Cougars -- for Section II semifinal action after no team got past the quarterfinals a year ago, Turner's season stole many of the headlines and earned him honors as the Recorder's 2012-13 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Turner becomes the third Fonda-Fultonville player to win the award in the past four years, joining Brandon Mercado in 2010 and Luke Nethaway in 2011. In his third year as a varsity player for the Braves, Turner became the area's top scorer, averaging 20.1 points per game while shooting 55 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3-point range en route to becoming the first F-F player to be named to the All-Colonial Council first team.
"He's come so far -- not only from as a freshman, but from last year as a sophomore," said Fonda-Fultonville head coach Eric Wilson. "Physically, he's matured -- he's gotten much stronger since last year -- but I think his biggest attribute this year was his confidence. He's finally realizing that he's a pretty good player. I took some convoking, but I think he realizes not only how good of a player he is now, but his potential to improve."
Firmly anchored in the post for much of his first two seasons, Turner developed an outside game this season and knocked down 22 3-pointers -- including six in his breakout game Dec. 11 against Voorheesville, when he posted an area season-high 37 points.
Though he drew massive attention from opposing defenses from that point on, Turner still managed to put up three games of 30 points or more and, in total, accounted for 40.6 percent of the 941 points Fonda-Fultonville scored this season.
"Obviously, he's going to be on everybody's scouting report," Wilson said. "I think he was on there early in the year, but I don't know how serious they took him. They knew he had size, they knew he was a pretty good player, and once he kind of got his feet under him this year after a few games, he was tough."
ALL-AREA BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM
Luis Laboy, Amsterdam, senior
Laboy, a speedy swingman served as the Running Rams' most dangerous offensive weapon this season, averaging a team-best 12.5 points per game. Twice during the season, Laboy erupted for 30 or more points -- compiling 30 points and seven steals in a Jan. 8 game against Schenectady, while posting one of the area's top performances of the entire season Dec. 28 against Mekeel Christian Academy when he posted 31 points on 13-of-16 shooting.
Rob Sherlock, Amsterdam, senior
Standing 6-foot-3, Sherlock anchored the Amsterdam frontcourt all season and was extremely productive despite regularly clashing in the paint against players three to six inches taller than him. The senior averaged 9.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Running Rams, including a season-best 18-point, nine-rebound performance in a December road win over Bishop Maginn.
Andre Taylor, Broadalbin-Perth, junior
Taking charge in the B-P backcourt alongside his younger brother Preston, Taylor led the Patriots in scoring at 10.6 points per game, reaching double figures in the scoring column 14 times. The junior's two best performances came in B-P's two biggest victories of the season -- a season-best 21 points in an early-season non-league win over eventual Wasaren League champion Schuylerville and an 18-point effort in a 62-40 win over South Glens Falls in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Josh Gonzalez, Canajoharie, sophomore
While the 6-foot-5 Gonzalez didn't score in bulk during the regular season -- he reached double figures in just four of the Cougars' first 16 games -- when the WAC Cup hit in February, Gonzalez's game reached a new level. Starting with a 27-point, 20-rebound in the WAC Cup semifinals against Schoharie, Gonzalez had a three-game stretch averaging 23 points and 14 rebounds per game to aid the Cougars' run to the Section II Class C semifinals.
Dillan Veeder, Canajoharie, junior
The area's top point guard, Veeder tied Gonzalez for the team scoring lead at 10.9 points per game. His biggest effort came in the Cougars' final victory of the season when he scored 22 points in a 56-44 win over Stillwater in the Section II Class C quarterfinals.
Coach of the Year: Phil Schoff, Canajoharie
In his first season as a varsity head coach, Schoff led the area's most successful team, as the Cougars posted a 17-4 record, won the Western Athletic Conference North Division and returned to the Glens Falls Civic Center to play in the Section II Class C semifinals for the first time since 2009.
Schoff's approach -- on and off the court -- earned him praise from his predecessor at Canajoharie, Rick Palumbo.
"He's the type of guy you'd want your kids around," Palumbo said. "He has high standards as far as how to behave and how to act -- and he models that. He acts the way he wants to people act. That's a big plus on his side."