News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


State Champs Welcomed By Adoring Crowd




Hawkeyes’ Team First To Win

NY Hoop Title For Cooperstown

CCS Hawkeye Ben Tafuro, Kyle Myer, Spencer Lewis and Ryan Burns (top photo) share cheers with enthusiastic fans – there may have been up to 1,000 – who gathered around the flagpole at Main and Pioneer a half-hour ago to welcome home the team that’s won the first-ever state basketball title for Cooperstown.  On the aerial ladder behind the Cooperstown Fire Department’s 1952 vintage Mack firetruck, (center photo) a gleeful Noah Lifgren is flanked by MVP Jack Lambert, left, and Kyle Santello, right, bearing trophies from their win.  Coach John Lambert (lower photo) gets off the school bus from Binghamton in the Blue Lot and and hugs Fire Chief Jim Tallman, right, and Village Police Officer Terrell Silvera.  (Jim Kevlin/




Hawkeyes captain Jack Lambert drives past Jaheim Virgil of the Middle Early College Kats during the Boys Basketball Class C Championship at the Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Binghamton this afternoon. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

John Kennedy of the Cooperstown Hawkeyes goes for a basket against Traemelle Stevens-Richardson, Anthony Smith and Jamond Jones of the Middle Early College Kats.

BINGHAMTON – Hot on the heels of yesterday’s triple-overtime win against Greenport, the Hawkeyes made their 71-61 championship game against the Middle Early College Kats look easy, seizing a 10-point lead early on and never letting up.

“A game like yesterday can drain you emotionally, but when I got on the bus this morning and saw them I knew they were ready,” said Coach John Lambert.

“The energy from winning yesterday really carried over to today,” said sophomore John Kennedy. The 6-foot-8 team newcomer, who  brought out plenty of cheers from the packed stands.





CCS Topples Greenport,

108-98, in Triple Overtime

Jack Lambert, right, hugs Ryan Lansing as the Hawkeyes celebrate their 108-98 win over the Greenport Porters this afternoon at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. The first Final Four game stretched into triple overtime, but the Hawkeyes held on, setting a new record for highest score during a championship game, with Lambert alone scoring 53 points. Later this afternoon, Middle Early College, a Buffalo magnet school, defeated defending champ, Lake George, 80-63, and will face the Hawkeyes at noon tomorrow in the Broome County arena for the state title. (Ian Austin/


Big Man

John Kennedy

Fuels Hawkeyes

Run To State Finals


6-foot-8 sophomore John Kennedy sinks a free throw for the Hawkeyes.

COOPERSTOWN – It took some time to get there, but there was no denying that basketball was in John Kennedy’s blood.
“My brother Owen, who graduated last year, played basketball for CCS,” said the sophomore center after the CCS Hawkeyes, beat the Unadilla Valley Storm 61-46 Sunday, March 10, to reach the state semi finals.
“My mom played in high school and college and my dad wrestled for Cooperstown,” said Cooperstown’s 6-foot-8 big man at center.
John had tried out for the JV basketball team when he was in eighth grade, but didn’t pass the state physical, and switched to wrestling instead.
“I loved wrestling so much,” he said. “I wanted to wrestle for all of high school. But this year, I found out I was too heavy to wrestle. So I went back to basketball.”
Kennedy, son of Owen and Mary (and nephew of county Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision), joined the summer league, and then the Hawkeyes that winter.




Fire-Truck Parade Greets Boys, Girls

Fire-Truck Parade

Greets Boys, Girls

Cooperstown firetrucks greeted the CCS Hawkeyes’ boys and girls’ Varsity Basketball Teams at the village line this evening as they arrived back from state semi-finals in Binghamton. The boys, beating Unadilla Valley, advance to state championship Final Four play next Saturday. The girls, while their high-powered season ended this afternoon, advanced farther than any team since the girls won a state championship in 2016. Inset right is Barbara Lambert, grandmother of Hawkeyes’ guard Jack Lambert and head coach John Lambert; she was among those waiting on Main Street, Cooperstown, for the fire trucks to come by. (Jim Kevlin/





The CCS boys flash the sign: We’re Number One! And team captain Jack Lambert holds the semi-finals plaque after winning a berth in the state Final Four in this afternoon’s game in Binghamton. (Ian Austin/

BINGHAMTON – Next, the Final Four – for the first time since 2012.

A few moments ago, the Cooperstown Hawkeyes Boys Varsity Basketball Team defeated Unadilla Valley, 61-46, at the state semi-finals this afternoon at the Broome County Veterans Memorial.

The boys will be playing Greensport at 10:45 a.m. in the semi-finals Saturday at the Broome County Memorial Arena.  If they will, CCS will play in the finals there on Sunday for the state title.

This afternoon, Cooperstown sank the first basket, and a for a while it was basket to basket.  But at no point was Unadilla Valley ahead.

Thrilling Season Comes To An End

Thrilling Season

Comes To An End

Lady Hawkeyes Bow, 60-49, In Semis

Cooperstown’s Lady Hawkeyes console each other after bowing to Watkins Glen, 60-49, in the state semifinals this afternoon at the Broome County Veterans Memorial in Binghamton. The girls had their best season since winning the state championship in 2015. At right, CCS’ Meagan Schuermann battles under the basket during this afternoon’s game. Check back: The Hawkeyes’ boys basketball team, are leading 23-12 at halftime, also in Binghamton. (Ian Austin/


Hall Of Fame Regrets Tom Seaver’s Decline

Hall Of Fame Regrets

Tom Seaver’s Decline

Mets’ Pitcher Has Dementia, Family Says

Tom Seaver on the Induction podium in Cooperstown.

COOPERSTOWN – Hall of FameR Tom Seaver’s family announced today that, due to dementia, he is “retiring from public life.”

“Tom will continue to work in his beloved vineyard at his California home,” The Hall said in a statement, “but has chosen to completely retire from public life.

“The family is deeply appreciative of those who have supported Tom throughout his career, on and off the field, and who do so now by honoring his request for privacy.

“We join Tom in sending warmest regards to everyone.”


CCS Boys, Girls Going To States


CCS Boys,

Girls Going

To States

Cooperstown’s Jillian Lifgren, Colby Diamond, Josie Furnari and Lucy Hayes cheer in elation at the Hawkeyes’ Sunday, March 3, victory against Utica Academy of Science in the Carrier Dome
Ian Austin/The Freeman’s Journal – Hawkeyes rush into a group hug with their hard-fought Section III victory Sunday, March 3, at the Carrier Dome From left are Kyle Meyer, Calvin Sandler, Spencer Lewis, Jack Lambert, Ryan Lansing, Kyle Santello and John Kennedy.
Jack Lambert, Cooperstown Hawkeyes’ captain, embraces his father and Coach John Lambert.


COOPERSTOWN – With their victory over Utica Academy of Science Atoms on Sunday, March 3, Hawkeyes’ basketball team Captain Jack Lambert has his dad beat.
“My team won sectional championship in 1985 and ’86,” the elder Lambert said. “But now Jack has one more on me!”
The boys will play Section IV champions Unadilla Valley in the state Class C quarterfinals on Sunday, March 10, at the Broome County Memorial Arena. “We beat them in December 48-45,” he said. “It was a low-scoring, close game, so we think this will be another tough contest.”
In Sunday’s nail-biter, the Hawkeyes beat the Atoms 61-57, taking the lead in the fourth quarter after dogging at the Atoms’ heels.
“Those first two baskets threw us off,”  said Coach Lambert. “I gathered the team around and said, ‘This is going to be a grind.’”
At halftime, the Utica Academy of Science was up 34-27 in Utica’s favor. By the end of the third quarter, it was 46-40. With four minutes left, Jack Lambert tied the score.

Joe Harmer/The Freeman’s JournalPiper Seamon, Kate Donnelly and Meagan Schuermann let out a victory yell as the Lady Hawkeyes beat the Little Falls Lady Mounties Thursday, March 1.

Then it rose to 50 points. 52. 57 for Cooperstown with 30 seconds remaining. With eight seconds on the clock, Utica brought the score to 57.
Then Jesse Furnari sank the final two baskets to bring the Cooperstown boys to 61 points and win their 11th Section III championship, their third in four years.
“I’ve got goosebumps,” said Jack. “My voice is weak from screaming like crazy.”
The younger Lambert credited the long drills his dad made him run with their endurance out on the court. “We knew we had it,” he said. “We knew we could come back with that energy.”
“And when you had a kid like Ryan Lansing, his energy is limitless,” said John.
Following the game, Ryan was named to the all-tournament team, while Jack was named Most Valuable Player.
And dad John, in his first-year as head coach, was named Coach of the Year. “I didn’t know they would announce it there,” he said. “When I heard my name, I couldn’t believe it. I was so flattered.”
But they weren’t the only ones returning to Cooperstown with a championship.

Boggs Sends Lambert AttaboyAs Hawkeyes Enter NY Tourney

Boggs Sends Lambert Attaboy

As Hawkeyes Enter NY Tourney

Boggs entered the Hall of Fame in 2004.

COOPERSTOWN – Hall of Famer Wade Boggs knows about winning, and is hoping some of his good-luck dust will rub off on CCS Hawkeye Boys Varsity Basketball Coach John Lambert, his pal.

“Congrats to my golf partner in Cooperstown @JohnLambert2020 on the championship.  good luck Judge in States,” the Red Sox hitter and 2004 Inductee tweeted at 1:17 p.m. today.

Lambert’s Hawkeye team (as well as the CCS girls) is headed to the state quarter finals in Binghamton this Sunday.  The coach is also Otsego County judge.

Students, Baseball Hall Present Project On Jackie Robinson

Students, Baseball Hall

Present Project On Civil Rights

Third graders at Cooperstown Elementary School presented their research on civil rights pioneers who helped pave the way for Jackie Robinson to break baseball’s color barrier during a school-wide assembly Thursday. The research, conducted in partnership with the Baseball Hall of Fame, also utilized the school’s monthly theme, “kindness,” which Pee Wee Reese showed to Robinson. From back left, Bruce Markusen, Beckett Grady, Henry Ayers, Abby Congdon, Abby Cole, Carlotta Falso, Dehjlah Harrington, Kinnley Wightman. In front,Sylverline Amachi, Siri Shanker, Peter Loenguth, Frank Pasek, JJ Wirchansky, Parker McManus, Ms. Szwejbka.



The Cooperstown Lady Hawkeyes took down the Little Falls Mounties 54-45 to claim the Section III title this evening at Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The Lady Hawkeyes move onto the state championships, facing off the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Unatego and Watkins Glen, while their counterparts on the Cooperstown boys basketball team play for their own Section III title at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, March 3, also at the Carrier Dome. (Joe Harmer/
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