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From Brendan Schweigart

The 10-year anniversary of success for Hornell’s Jimmy Dagon as Red Raiders capture Section V title and face Waterloo tonight

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By JOHN ANDERSON, photos by STEVE HARRISON

Jimmy Dagon remembered March 3, 2013 very well.

A high school senior, he had turned in the offensive game of his life to defeat Wellsville, in Wellsville on Dec. 14, 2012. Wellsville was about to return the favor on Jan. 15, 2013 in Hornell taking a lead that seemed impossible to come back from. But Dagon and teammate Julian Reinhart led a strong second half for a victory.

Sure enough, like this season in boys’ basketball, the two teams met again. Dagon and Reinhart didn’t have to lead the team this time. using a total team effort, The Red Raiders won again, 56-47 to capture the title.

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Brendan Buisch took home the MVP honors, Christian Acor made the all-tournament team and Reinhart had another monster game. They held current Wellsville coach Tom Muska to nine points.

A 10-year and one-day difference between Hornell Section V titles.

Dagon woke up on March 4, 2013 still wearing his Section V champion t-shirt, the hat by his bed and a big smile on his face with the Section V championship patch as bright as the fresh snow.

He woke up on March 4, 2023 with nerves.

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“I know how special it is as a player to win a title,” Dagon said. “It was actually 10 years ago that I was a part of the last Hornell basketball team to win a sectional championship.”

This time, as the coach of the girls’ basketball team in Hornell, he won the second one with a 54-47 win over #1 Dansville. But the team effort brings him back to 2013.

“This group reminds me a lot of the team that I was on back in 2013,” Dagon said. “They’ve been playing together since they could walk, essentially. There’s a lot of talent, there’s a lot of great personalities, and their top priority is winning no matter what it takes. I’m so happy that they’ve made this memory for themselves, they worked hard and really deserve it. “

Maddie Moore and Coach Dagon.

Dagon and Muska might be two of the youngest coaches to ever win Section V titles. Muska is in his first year, Dagon took over the Hornell program during this season. Like Dagon, the team is young. But Hornell also has a lone senior in Madelyn Moore, who was just named the Hornell High School Class of 2023 Valedictorian. She also earned the Section V Most Valuable Player Award after the victory over Dansville.

“The young girls played well beyond their years, and they really have all tournament long,” Dagon said. “And so much of our success was due to Maddy Moore’s leadership. She keeps all the girls locked in and she leads by example. When things get chaotic we know that we can lean on her.”

If you click on the game story above, you will see the balanced scoring that earned the Red Raiders a title. Much like the 2013 team.

“Once again it was a team effort. Our scoring was spread out, and we defended and rebounded all game long,” Dagon said. “Our unselfishness has been something that myself and the other coaches are very proud of. We’ve had different leading scorers basically every game, and that’s because the girls just care about making the right play and winning games.”

BIG CHALLENGE TONIGHT

With the victory, Hornell moves on to play Waterloo tonight at 6 p.m. in Penn Yan. Waterloo won the Class B1 title, 65-47 over Pal-Mac (19-4) on Saturday before the Hornell win. Waterloo is 22-1, have spent most of the last four years at the top of the state rankings and have a solid team.

Morgan Caraballo scored 22 points to earn MVP honors on Saturday while Jazzmyn Lewis had 17, Natalie DiSanto 10 and Addison Bree scored nine.

“For our next game we get a rematch with Waterloo,” Dagon said.

Waterloo defeated Hornell, 60-40 on Feb. 1 3 in Hornell. Last year in the Section V finals, Waterloo downed Hornell, 59-38.

“We know that they’re a very good team and we will have to be on our A-game,” Dagon said. “The girls have been playing great basketball as of late so there’s no reason for us to not play with confidence. It should be a battle and we’re up for the challenge. “

Photos by STEVE HARRISON:

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