By ADAM SHINDER
Brace yourself, folks, because it’s the final In Our Five player rankings of the 2016-17 high school basketball season.
That’s right, with the Section II playoff seeds set to be determined Wednesday, we’ll take our annual break from the rankings until after the postseason to leave the Player of the Year and All-Area Team races shrouded in a bit of mystery until we unveil them next month.
For now, it’s one last set of rankings, which means one last chance for yet another new No. 1 in the ever-changing boys top five list as Broadalbin-Perth’s Preston Taylor takes sole possession of the top spot:
1) Preston Taylor, Broadalbin-Perth (Last week: T1) — Tied for the top spot a week ago, Taylor moves into this spot by his own after a big week. He led B-P to a near-upset of Amsterdam with a big second half, then scored 23 points Friday in a close win over Johnstown. The senior point guard reached and surpassed 1,000 points for his career Monday night with 19 points in a win over Hudson Falls.
2) Danny Reidell, Northville (LW: T1) — Reidell put up 26 points Wednesday against Duanesburg, but it wasn’t enough for the Falcons in a 102-62 loss against the hot-shooting Eagles. Followed that up with 18 points Saturday in a 49-44 crossover win over Fonda-Fultonville.
3) AJ Hayes, OESJ (LW: No. 3) — After scoring 21 points in a win over Fort Plain and 26 in a loss to Mayfield, Hayes has scored 20 or more points in nine consecutive games, the longest streak in the area.
4) Anthony Aponte, Amsterdam (LW: No. 4) — Amsterdam’s lightning-quick senior guard may have had his best week of the season in leading the Rams to clinch the Foothills South Division title. Scored 23 in a road win over B-P, then came back with 25 — including 19 in the second half — as the Rams came back to beat Schuylerville.
5) Mike Hartlieb, Canajoharie (LW: Not ranked) — Hartlieb isn’t the most explosive scorer on this list, averaging 12.4 points per game, but he’s a game-changer on the interior for Canajoharie, averaging 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
Honorable mention: Dan Parslow, Fonda-Fultonville; Thor White, Galway; Robbie Spagnola, Amsterdam; Jaxson Yacowenia, Fort Plain; Luke Van Slyke, Canajoharie; Devyn Jones, OESJ; Trevon Gifford, Mayfield.
1) Nina Fedullo, Amsterdam (LW: No. 1) — It’s a broken record at this point, but Fedullo is so consistently good it’s almost comical. Averaged 18 points per game last week as the Lady Rams cruised to blowouts over B-P and Schuylerville.
2) Julianna Taylor, Fonda-Fultonville (LW: No. 2) — The Lady Braves have won three in a row, and Taylor — the area’s leading scorer — is averaging 22 points per game during that stretch, including 27 points Wednesday against Canajoharie.
3) Giuliana Pritchard, Amsterdam (LW: No. 3) — Only scored twice from the field in a 16-point effort Friday at Schuylerville, but made up for it by knocking down 12 of her 13 free throw attempts. She’s made 38 of her last 41 from the charity stripe.
4) Sydney Sheldon, Mayfield (LW: No. 4) — Sheldon was held to single digits in the scoring column for the first time all season Wednesday against OESJ, but she was still instrumental in the Lady Panthers’ 43-41 win.
5) Merari Freeman, OESJ (LW: Honorable mention) — Freeman’s found her scoring touch again in the past few weeks and has reached double figures in nine straight games, averaging 15.9 points per game during that stretch.
Honorable mention: Maria Lomanto, Amsterdam; Brady Santiago, Amsterdam; Abby Lombardoni, Fonda-Fultonville; Fontana LaCoppola, OESJ; Camryn Meca, Mayfield; Hannah Coupas, Northville.
Contact ADAM SHINDER at [email protected]