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.
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.
PANCAKE BREAKFAST – 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sugaring Off Sundays include pancake breakfast with fresh maple syrup, demonstrations and tours of the Farmers Museum. The Farmers Museum, 5775 Route 80, Cooperstown. Info, www.farmersmuseum.org.
Growing up, John Lambert always had a ball in his hand.
“My dad, Paul Lambert, coached Cooperstown basketball, 1958-64,” he said. “And I want to do the same thing for my son.”
The CCS Redskins are now the Hawkeyes, but some things stay the same.
Like his father, John Lambert is coaching the CCS team.
SYRACUSE – Hot on the heels of the Hawkyes’ victory this afternoon, the CCS girls basketball team also defeated the Weedsport Warriors, 63-60 at Onondaga Community College, assuring that they too will advance to the Section III championships.
MUSIC FESTIVAL – 4 p.m. Honest Brook Music Festival winter season continues with Pianist Tomer Gewirtzman. Cost, $30/person at-door. Stamford United Methodist Church, 88 Main St., Stamford. 607-746-3770 or visit hbmf.org
FUNDRAISER – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause features gourmet sandwiches prepared by favorite local chefs with local ingredients, live music. Support Otsego 2000’s historic preservation program in Otsego county. Tickets, $30/adult. Farmers Market, Cooperstown. 607-547-8881 or visit www.otsego2000.org/2019/01/08/grilled-cheese-good-cause-february-11th/
MARKETPLACE – 1 – 3 p.m. Support our youngest entrepreneurs as they demonstrate their skills, sell their products at Trep$ Marketplace. Richfield Springs Central School, 93 W. Main St., Richfield Springs. 315-858-0610.
MLK BIRTHDAY – 2 – 4 p.m. Celebrate birth of Martin Luther King Jr. with cake, music, songs, refreshments. Theme “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…Whatever affects one directly affects all of us indirectly,” from civil rights leader’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham’s Jail. Free, open to all. Temple Beth El, 83 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-5522 or visit www.templebetheloneonta.org/2019/01/martin-luther-king-jr-celebration/
SUNDAY PROGRAM – 3 – 4 p.m. David Strogatz, Ph.D. presents “Bassett Research in Our Community: The Longitudinal on Aging Drivers.” Village Ballroom, Village Library of Cooperstown. 607-547-8344 or visit www.villagelibraryofcooperstown.org
BASKETBALL – 6 p.m. Cheer on Oneonta Octane basketball team at home game. SUNY Oneonta. 607-432-0001 or visit www.facebook.com/FamilyRN/
ONEONTA – Two OHS athletic directors – the current one, Joe Hughes, and a legendary one, Tony Drago – presented the annual Tony Drago Tournament trophy Saturday, Dec. 1, to the Lady Yellowjackets.They realized they were marking two milestones. One, it will be Joe Hughes’ last: He is retiring in June. Two, Tony Drago was marking his namesake tournament’s 60th anniversary.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Hughes. “There was no better way to go out than with the OHS girls’ win. Presenting the trophy with Tony to them was an honor.
“I’ve been blessed to have had such a good job and worked with such good people,” he said. “Coaches, students, directors, and of course, Tony.”
Hughes and Drago, who retired as OHS athletic director in 1984, share more than just that title.
Their families have been close since at least the late 1930s, when Drago and Hughes’ dad, Bill, attended OHS together. Tony was best man at Bill’s wedding, and a second father to Joe. “Joe is my son,” Drago declared. “He’s a good kid.”
As for Joe Hughes, “I followed in Drago’s footsteps.”