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IAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: NEWARK VALLEY HOPES TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE (2023-12-01)

Tioga County Sports Report
NEWARK VALLEY — The Newark Valley girls basketball team is similar to the Energizer bunny. They just keep going and going, and going …

The Cardinals are hoping that continues this season as they hope to return to the state playoffs for a third straight season.

They won Section IV Class C in 2022 and Class B last season after finishing as the Class B runner-up in 2020 (no tournament in 2021 due to COVID-19). And their last loss to an IAC opponent came against Waverly (now in STAC) on Feb. 18, 2021.

NV wasn’t expected to be a state-level contender last season, but surprised several girls hoops followers by going 22-1 overall and 12-0 in IAC Large School games. They’ve won 38 consecutive contests when facing an IAC foe.

Last season, the Cardinals raked in championship honors at the Drago Tip Off Tournament and Bath Haverling Coaches vs. Cancer Christmas Tournament, and repeated as IAC South Large School, IAC Large School champions and Section IV champions.

The program’s pool of talent has thinned out the past couple of seasons, but that doesn’t mean anyone can overlook the Cardinals.

“We will look to get better everyday and see where the season leads,” coach Greg Schweiger said.

This is the swan song for the last remaining member of NV’s 2022 Class C state runner-up squad, Cha Gardner. Opponents will not be looking forward to facing No. 4. The 6-foot-3 forward, who is heading to Division I Stephen F. Austin State University, has dominated the court the past two seasons.

Gardner, a two-time all-state second team pick, is closing in on 1,000 career points with the potential to reach 1,000 career rebounds as well (and she missed about half of a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

She averaged a double-double (15.7 points, 14.0 rebounds) last season and coach Greg Schweiger will rely heavily on her talents this season as NV graduated Hayley Beebe, Jasmine Graham, Kalyna Graham, Katie Berghorn, Faith Payne and Kylee Carrier.

Back to help Gardner out are 5-5 sophomore guard Aubrey Kwiatkowski, 5-4 junior guard Adrianna Finta, 6-foot junior forward Liv Short, and 5-9 sophomore Adriana Rich, who could see time at guard and forward.

Newcomers expected to make an impact are 5-3 sophomore guard Anika Smith, 5-6 junior guard/forward Rebecca Thompson, 5-8 junior forward Mackenzie Day, 5-8 sophomore guard/forward Kimberleigh Beebe, 6-foot freshman forward Kamryn Short and 5-8 sophomore guard/forward Anaya Ayleswoth.

Even though rival Waverly has moved over to STAC, Schweiger still expects to see some competition among IAC opponents

“I think the IAC South Large School division will be very competitive in addition to the added twist of playing all of the North schools twice,” he said.

NV opens defense of its Anthony Drago tournament title this evening against Vestal.

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IN PHOTO: NV’s Liv Short. ... TCSR STOCK PHOTO.

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