By Chris Metcalf, special to the Hornell Sun
DANSVILLE – Dave Moodie and the Dansville Mustangs enjoyed a tremendous 2021-22 campaign on the hardwood last winter, finishing 17-5 while earning their first Livingston Conference title in 30 years and the top seed in the sectional tournament.
Not even a 60-52 loss to Wellsville in the Section V Class B2 semifinals could dampen their spirits.
And with three starters back this season, Moodie, who enters his 12th season, has high expectations.
The graduation loss of All-LCAA performer Drew Morrow (21 ppg, 13 rpg) will definitely hurt as Morrow is now playing for SUNY Geneseo this season after eclipsing 1,000 points for the Mustangs. Morrow was named to last year’s Ronald McDonald All-Star Game.
Another near-double-double performer, Jakob Smith (10 ppg, 8 rpg) also graduated.
Dansville not only won their first CAA title in 30 years last year but also won both the Dansville Rotary Christmas Tournament and Keshequa Tournament championships.
The three returning starters are seniors Collin Gray (G/F), Dawson Wadsworth (G), and Tyler Harris (G), who all played significant minutes and roles last year.
The 6-foot-2 Gray returns after averaging 11 points, six rebounds and two assists per game while also earning All-LCAA honors.
The 5-foot-11 Wadsworth averaged seven points with six assists and two boards per game while the 5-foot-11 Harris contributed five points with two assists and two rebounds per game.
Other key players this season include senior Aazan Sohail (F, 6-0, 2 ppg, 2 rpg), and juniors Reid Martin (G, 6-1, 3 ppg, 3 rpg, Ethan Canfield (F, 6-3), Nate Gardner (G, 5-10), Reese Dixon (G/F, 6=0), Anthony Morrow (F, 5-10) and Zaiden Vandurme-Blackmon (G. 5-10).
“Last year we had an outstanding season, winning a league title and being the number one seed in sectionals,” coach Moodie said. “We lost two senior starters and a few other seniors who provided quality leadership and a work ethic that made us successful. With that being said, we return three starters and every guy on this year’s team was a big part of our success last year. These guys got a great taste for winning and winning at a high level. Losing last year in the semifinals left a bad taste in their mouth and they are eager for this season. If this team can get consistent double-digit scoring from a few returners and quality minutes from others, the depth of this team and athleticism will make them very competitive.”
Dansville opens its season at the Wayland Showcase Basketball Tournament Saturday, Dec. 3 when they take on a Marcus Whitman squad that finished 7-15 a year ago. The Mustangs will then host both Pavilion (Dec. 6) and rival Way-Co (Dec. 9).
Hornell Sun Prediction: Dansville will need to replace the production of Drew Morrow and Jakob Smith who combined for over 30 points and 20 rebounds last season. That will not be an easy chore. Morrow dominated the post last year and was Dansville’s top defensive, post presence as well. Look for this team to play with great chemistry this year as thy will need to share the ball and find the open man to be successful. Can this team repeat their divisional title? Absolutely, but they will need to stay healthy and have some bounces go their way to do so. A stiff test comes Dec. 22 when they host a very talented Geneseo team in LCAA crossover action. Dansville beat Geneseo by nine points a year ago and the Blue Devils have not forgotten that one. Dansville will also look to sweep Livonia as they visit the Bulldogs on Jan. 13 and host them on Feb. 7. Dansville won both matchups last year.