Difficult act to follow

High school hoops will be fine without Stewart, Coleman

For the high school basketball season, just underway, to be as potent and exciting as it was a season ago, just a few things need to happen.

Three teams would have to win state championships. Four others would need to reach the state final four weekend festivities. A pair of megastars must garner McDonald’s All-American status, with one of them the consensus national player of the year.

Other than that, though, it’s pretty much the same, right?

It would be easy, and lazy, to point out what isn’t there in 2012-13 as to what is there. Breanna Stewart, no longer wearing Cicero-North Syracuse blue, is now tearing it up in Connecticut blue. Dajuan Coleman, his dominant days at Jamesville-DeWitt over, is easing into his prime role in the SU rotation, hoping to propel the Orange to a national title.

Taking the point further, the reigning state Class D champions from Sackets Harbor is without the starting quintet that got the perfect 25-0 Patriots to the summit. Also gone is Jordan-Elbridge’s Molly Hourigan, J-D’s Tyler Cavanaugh, most of Henninger’s starting five, Cortland’s Maggie Brown, Fabius-Pompey’s Stevie Ray, Weedsport’s Brittany LaForce and a litany of other stars.

So it’s a desert now, right? Oh wait, the appropriate term at this point in the calendar is a tundra. But either way, a desolate place without a reason to hope or get excited, correct?

You can pretty much guess by now that those questions are rhetorical, because, yes, there are heaps of reasons to get stoked, to get out in those potential winter nights and trudge to the gym to catch a hot night of hoops.

Start, perhaps, on Dec. 8, when as part of the Peppino’s Classic at Henninger the boys sides from Bishop Ludden and Fayetteville-Manlius gather. One is defending a state title. The other really thinks it can win one, too.

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