New York Mills stops Charlotte Valley's title hopes
By John Bernhardt
Basketball fans all over Delaware County are hoping Saturday’s New York State Boys’ basketball regionals in Syracuse won’t be the last time they see Davenport Coach Lee Fisher on the sidelines. The affable Fischer and his Wildcats faced a basketball mountain in New York Mills that even the crafty Fischer couldn’t climb as the Section IV champions fell 55-38 in the state quarterfinals.
In basketball terms, this was a mismatch. With a front line that stood 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, and 6-foot-5, New York Mills was simply too tall, too long, too fast, and got too many easy baskets for a much smaller Wildcat squad to compete.
In some respects this winter’s Davenport run of excellence was over early on Saturday when the Mills ran off 17 uncontested points to close the opening period with a 23-4 lead. That lead stretched to 34-9 by halftime, and the Marauder’s coasted the rest of the way.
Davenport’s rise to Section IV basketball supremacy was a remarkable local sports story this winter. When Fischer’s young Wildcat squad failed to qualify to play in the post season in 2013, few expected Davenport’s meteoric rise just one year later. Using a stingy defense, long- range shooting and excellent guard play, Fischer knitted together a Wildcat squad that went 16-1 during the regular season, giving their coach his 10th Delaware League championship.
The Wildcats carried their blistering play through the Section IV, Class D tournament toppling South Kortright in the semifinals and beating Southern Cayuga to give Fisher his ninth Section IV basketball crown.
But, with Lee Fisher, it’s not about the basketball wins, it’s about the man. The long-time Davenport coach is a memorable local sports figure who leaves a positive impression on everyone he meets. That was not lost on New York Mills coach Mike Adey who heaped praise on this coaching colleague to Daily Star reporter Brian Horey after the game.
Not taken lightly
“We saw the great game they played last week against Southern Cayuga and knew what we had to do,” Adey told Horey. “It’s just such an honor to play a Lee Fischer team. He’s a great coach but an even better person.”
For his part, coach Fisher kept any future basketball plans close to his vest Saturday after the game. You can count on the fact that the 73-year-old Wildcat coach will glean wise counsel on that decision from his wife Joanne.
Davenport center Kyle Wamsley summed up why so many people admire Lee Fisher when I asked him in an interview near the end of the regular basketball season what it was like to play for Coach Fisher.
“It’s an honor to play for a man like him. My father played for him and it’s kind of like a pride thing now, and it’s just great. When you play for Coach Fisher, expectations are probably higher than they should be, but you just come in with a pride that you have to do the job.”
Two of Kyle’s teammates Matt Finne and Kyle Moorby sat nearby shaking their heads in quiet agreement with everything that Wamsley had to say about their coach.