When Jack Lambert graduated from Cooperstown Central School, he was second on the boys’ basketball program’s career scoring list and as a senior had led his team to the school’s first-ever Class C state championship in boys basketball, while earning Most Outstanding Player honors after setting several state tournament scoring records. He was also named the NYSPHAA Class C Player of the Year in 2019.
However, when he arrived to play for the men’s basketball team at the University of Scranton, he was just another freshman player trying to earn some playing time for a perennial Division III powerhouse.
“It’s definitely a transition. I mean, I am proud of all the things I accomplished in high school, and that was awesome,” Lambert said. “But when you get to college, especially at a very competitive Division III level, it’s a whole new ballgame.”
When Cooperstown Central School’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, Tyler Bertram, decided to transfer from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he said he was looking for a better fit, a bigger role and an opportunity to play closer to home.
He found all three with Binghamton University men’s basketball team during the 2020-2021 season.
After finishing his high school career at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, Bertram spent two years in Charlotte; the first a redshirt season during which he said he added 20 pounds to bulk up his slender 6-foot 3-inch frame. In the second, as a redshirt freshman, he appeared in 12 games for the 49ers averaging 9.3 minutes per game.
“Coming back close to home was important, but finding the right fit was very important,” Bertram said. “The previous situation just didn’t really feel like it was the right spot and then knowing that Binghamton played really fast and like to shoot a lot of threes, I knew that I could kind of be myself here.”
“I made the mistake of not fully understanding what kind of style it was going to be (in Charlotte),” Bertram said. “I thought the change went really well. It was a fun year. The team was great. I just had a lot of fun playing fast and playing with some confidence again.”
COOPERSTOWN – CCS junior John Kennedy landed on the Class C 2nd team NYSSWA all-state boys basketball team. Kennedy averaged 17.3 points a game and led the Hawkeyes to the Section 3 Class C championship game this season.
Edmeston’s Josh Martin was also a 2nd team selection for Class D. Martin, a junior. averaged 22 points a game and helped the Panthers win their second consecutive Tri-Valley League title this season.
Oneonta’s Graham Wooden was selected third team in Class B. Wooden, a senior, was the ‘Jackets team leader averaging 21.2 points a game. He will play basketball next season for D2 Mansfield University.
ST. PATRICKS DINNER – 4 – 7 p.m. Enjoy Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner, performance by Irish Step Dancers hosted by The Knights of Columbus. Take-out encouraged. Free, Donations accepted. St. Mary’s Parish Center, 31 Elm St., Cooperstown. 607-437-4626 or e-mail email@example.com
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/