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THE SPORTS REPORTS: WAVERY'S TOMASSO NAMED 2022-23 ALL-REGION 'BOYS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR;' TWO TIOGA COUNTY ATHLETES MAKE THE BAKER'S DOZEN (2023-07-12)

The Sports Reports
First-team all-state in two sports, and all-Region in the third, Waverly junior Joey Tomasso is now The Sports Reports' 2022-23 All-Region “Boys Athlete of the Year.”

Tomasso, who in the fall became the career leader in passing yardage and TDs at Waverly, also set a single-season record with 2,245 passing yards.

Tomasso completed 63.4 percent (156 of 246) of his passes, with 24 TD, and six interceptions for a QB rating of 115.3. He also led the Wolverines with 794 rushing yard and 14 TDs on 97 carries (8.2 yards per carry).

On the hardwoods, Tomasso had a season for the ages.

Tomasso averaged a school-record 30.9 points per game in a season that also saw him break the single-game scoring record with 49 points against Lansing in the IAC Large School championship game. He also set a school record with 649 points this season, and tied the school record with 17 made free throws in a game.

Tomasso shot 51.8 percent from the field, and knocked down 50 3-pointers this season. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game.

It seems odd that Tomasso, who was a first-team all-state selection in football and basketball this season, would be the “Breakout Player of the Year” in his fourth varsity season on the diamond, but everything came together for him this spring.

Tomasso, whose career batting average hovered around .200 heading into the season, hit .444 (28 hits in 63 at-bats), had a .519 on-base percentage, and a 1.202 OPS. He had eight doubles, two triples, one home run, 22 RBI, 26 runs scored, and was 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.

Defensively, Tomasso had two errors in 68 total chances for a .971 fielding percentage, and was involved in turning seven double plays

Three-sport athletes are given precedence in this yearly award. A two-sport athlete will occasionally works his way into the Baker’s Dozen, but a one-sport athlete will rarely make the grade.

(The Sports Reports covers 24 school districts in four counties, and Corning.)

The Sports Reports’ 2022-23 All-Regionals Boys “Athletes of the Year”
Joey Tomasso, junior, Waverly — football, basketball, baseball:
See above.

Karson Dominick, junior, North Penn-Mansfield — football, basketball, baseball: Dominick started the school year off by leading his Panthers into the District 4 Playoffs with 1,500 yards passing and 18 total touchdowns during the season. He also led the NP-M defense with three interceptions and was the Panthers’ punter as well.

On the hardwoods, Dominick had a season-full of highlights, while leading the Tigers to an NTL title, the District finals and into the State playoffs’ Sweet 16. The junior eclipsed 1,000 points this season and averaged 19.1 points  to go with 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.

He was named to the Class AAA all-state team, was the All-Tioga County Player of the Year,  and was named to all-Region team.

This spring, Dominick led the West with four pitching wins for the 8-12 Tigers, throwing 28 innings with 24 strikeouts.

Cameron Brought, senior, Wellsboro — football. basketball, baseball: A standout on the defensive line, Brough recorded 100 tackles on the season, had four sacks and two fumble recoveries for the 1-9 Hornets. He has committed to play football at Alfred University.

A first-time starter on the basketball hardwoods, he averaged 13.2 points and 12 rebounds per game for the 18-7 Hornets.

The Northern Tier West Sports Report “Offensive and Player of the Year,” Brought led the Hornets to a 10-11 record with a .485 batting average, .578 on-base percentage, 33 base hits and 31 RBI with seven doubles, three triples and three home runs, 14 walks and 22 runs scored. He went 2-1 with two saves while throwing 28 innings for the Hornets with a 4.69 ERA and 43 strikeouts.

Weston Bellows, senior, Canton — football, basketball, baseball: The Northern Tier Sports Report Football “Player of the Year, Bellows accounted for more than 1,500 yards in football, scoring touchdowns in every way imaginable — running, receiving, passing, interception return, punt return, and kick-off return. He also had interceptions on the year.

This spring, he hit .478 in baseball, with 10 doubles, 28 RBI, and 22 runs scored to lead Canton to a league title.

He averaged 14 point per game in basketball, but made his name defensively, and was the “Defensive Player of the Year.”

Hayden Ward, sophomore, Canton — football, wrestling, baseball: Hayden Ward was a league champ in all three sports.

The “Defensive Player of the Year” in football, he had 109 tackles, while getting 645 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns on offense.

Over the winter, Ward went 33-7 in wrestling, but injury at districts ended this season.

On the diamond, he hit .386 with 23 RBI, 23 runs scored, and six doubles.

Caden Bellis, junior, Tioga — football, wrestling, golf: Bellis led the Tigers — on both sides of the football — to their second straight Class D state title this fall, and was the All-Region “Football Player of the Year.”

A dangerous dual-threat QB, Bellis has directed Tioga to 26 straight wins, and two state titles. This season, he completed 65.3 percent (81 of 123) of his passes for a school-record 1,512 yards and a school-record 24 TDs, with just three interceptions and a QB rating of 134.3.  He also ran the ball 95 times for 780 yards (8.2 yards per carry), and 10 TDs. He also ran for four two-point conversions, and threw for three more.

Defensively, Bellis led the Tigers with 166 tackles (9.7 per game) on the season, including 18 (six solo stops) in the state championship game. He also had 18 tackles, including nine solo stops, in the state semi-final win over Randolph. He had five tackles-for-loss on the season, along with one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries.

On the mats, Bellis battled through injuries to win his first state gold.  He suffered a broken bone in his hand during his only loss of the season, a 14-5 setback against nationally-ranked Eligh Rivera in the semifinals of the Southern Tier Memorial on Jan. 13.

After sitting out for 15 days, Bellis went 4-0, including three falls and a major decision at the State Duals, then went 10-0 in the individual postseason, with seven pins and a major decision. He finished the season at 33-1.

In the spring, Bellis played golf. He cracked the starting six twice, and had a low round of 53.

Ty Beeman, senior, Waverly — football, wrestling, baseball: Beeman was a first-team all-state selection on the gridiron, and earned All-Region honors on the wrestling mats and the baseball diamond.

Beeman, who was the “Lineman of the Year” as a junior, shifted to linebacker this season, and made an even bigger impact for the Wolverine defense. He led the area with 159 tackles, including 37 solo stops, in 10 games. He also had one sack, and one interception. Offensively, he anchored an offensive line that paved the way for 353.5 yards, and 35.1 points per game.

On the diamond, Beeman shined in all three facets of the game, but on defense this season he was nearly flawless. He did not commit an error in 100 defensive chances, and threw out six of 15 would-be base stealers.

Beeman was a valuable two-way performer for the Wolverines. He hit .349 (22 hits in 63 ABs) with eight doubles, 23 RBI, 18 runs scored, and four stolen bases. On the mound, he was 5-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He struck out 33 and walked 16, while allowing 14 hits in 26 innings.

Beeman was on a roll late in the wrestling season with first-place finishes at the IACs, and the Section IV, Qualifier B, which he won by beating state-ranked Garrett Bidwell of Windsor in the finals. He became ill the night before for the Section IV Championships, won his first match, but lost in the semifinals, and defaulted out of the rest of the tournament to finish sixth — missing out on a return trip to States. He finished 38-7 on the season.

Lucas Horton, senior, Athens — football, basketball, baseball:
Horton was an All-Valley performer on the gridiron in the fall, and was the All-Region Baseball “Player of the Year” in the spring.

Horton capped a brilliant baseball career with a stellar senior season that saw him win seven games on the mound, and propel the Wildcat offense from the lead-off spot. Horton hit .456 (31 hits in 68 ABs) with five doubles, one triple, two home runs, 13 RBI, 31 runs scored, and was 21-for-21 in stolen base attempts. He also walked 15 times for a .554 on-base percentage, had a .647 slugging percentage, and a 1.201 OPS.

 While his offensive numbers are impressive, Horton made his bones on the pitching mound. He posted a 7-1 record, with one save, and a 2.37 ERA. He fanned 63 and walked 15, while allowing 28 hits in 44 1/3 innings. Opponents hit .174 against him

A dangerous deep threat on the gridiron, at 6-3 with good speed and good hands, Horton had 48 catches for 665 yards, and nine TDs on the season. He also completed 2 of 3 passes for 56 yards, and one TD.

On the hardwoods, Horton averaged 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal per game

Mason Lister, senior, Athens — football, basketball, baseball: Lister wrapped up a stellar four-year career with 11 varsity letters (Covid wiped out the baseball season his freshman year), and earned All-Valley honors in all three sports this season.

Lister completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 1,872 yards, and 18 TDs, with nine interceptions. He also ran for two TDs, and caught a 19-yard TD pass.

On the hardwoods, Lister was nearly unstoppable taking the ball to the bucket, and had the best year of his four-year varsity career. He averaged 18.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3.1 steals per game. He shot 51 percent from the field, including a 58-percent clip inside the 3-point arc, and made 83 free throws.

On the diamond, Lister had two bad innings all season on the mound, allowing nine of the 13 earned runs he gave up. He was 4-0 with a 3.17 ERA, with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks in 28 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .212 against him. He hit .219, but led the Wildcats with 19 RBI. He also scored 17 runs, had four doubles, and one home run.

Jay Pipher, junior, Waverly — football, basketball, baseball:
A first-team all-state selection at wide receiver in the fall, Pipher was an All-Valley selection in basketball and baseball as well.

Dynamic with the ball in his hands, Pipher tied the Waverly school record with 55 receptions for a school-record 1,039 yards, and 11 TDs. He also rushed the ball for 299 yards and five TDs on just 24 carries (12.5 yards per carry).

A speedy guard and top-notch defender, Pipher, who was the VSR “Defensive Player of the Year,” had a strong season on the offensive end of the floor as well. Pipher averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game. He also shot 74.3 percent from the free-throw line.

On the diamonds, Pipher, a slick-fielding second baseman, hit .476 (30 hits in 63 ABs). He drew 16 base on balls for a .573 on-base percentage, and had a .746 slugging percentage for a 1.319 OPS.  Pipher, who was the VSR “Offensive Player of the Year,” had two doubles, six triples, one home run, 26 RBI, 33 run scored, and 11 stolen bases.

Evan Sickler, junior, Tioga — football, basketball, golf: An All-Valley performer in three sports, Sickler was a first-team all-state selection at defensive back on the gridiron, and was the BCANY Section IV, Class C “Player of the Year.”

On the gridiron, Sickler was a threat to score, whether he was on offense, special teams, or defense. Offensively, Sickler had 22 receptions for 343 yards, and five TDs, and five carries for 109 yards, and two TDs. On special teams, he had a season-best 87-yard kick return, and several punt returns of more than 30 yards.

Defensively, Sickler was a beast in run support from the defensive backfield. He had 50 tackles, including 23 solo stops, to go along with seven interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

On the hardwoods, Sickler averaged 22.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game, which most years would have been good enough for “Player of the Year,” He shot 48.2 percent from the field, including a 38.4 percent clip from behind the 3-point arc. He knocked down 58 3-pointers on the season, and made 83 free throws.

This spring, Sickler earned All-Valley honors on the links. He posted a scoring average of 41.5 over nine holes, and shot season-low rounds of 38 at the Tioga Country Club in the opening match of the season, and at Mark Twain in the penultimate match of 2023.

Sickler finished seventh at the IAC Championships with an 86, and was fifth at the Class D Championships with a round of 82. He shot a 92 at Day 1 of the Section IV State Qualifier, missing the cut for Day 2 by four strokes.

Jacob Banks, senior, Candor, SVEC — soccer, basketball, golf:
The senior was the All-Tioga County Player of the Year on the soccer pitch and the golf course.

The midfielder and school record-holder for career goals (74) put 34 balls in the back of the net and dished out 20 assists in his senior campaign. He led the Eagles (17-3) to the IAC South Large School, IAC Large School and Section IV Class C championships. Banks was also named the IAC South Large School co-MVP and was selected to the Class C all-state fourth team.

The IAC medalist and two-time state qualifier, he averaged 37.36 strokes per round, shooting in the 40s just one time and had a low round of 34. He led Candor to a 13-0 record, extending the program’s winning streak to 32 matches (including 19 wins while merged with S-VE). The team also won the IAC Small School and overall titles and a Section IV Class D championship.

Banks was also a member of the Indians’ basketball team, which went 15-7.

Tevin McLaren, senior, Corning — track & field, cross country: Overall this year, the Hawks senior was part of a team state championship, and he won a pair of other state medals, capturing state medals in every one of the three sports seasons. He also was part of a regional championship that earned a 10th-place finish nationally.

In cross country, McLaren helped lead Corning to a second straight state  title.He was a 32nd-place finisher at the state meet to help the  Hawks win the team title. He was a sectional runner-up and a ninth-place finisher at the STAC Championships.

McLaren then helped the Hawks win Nike Regionals to make it to Nike Nationals in Oregon. He was 34th at regionals in 16:52.1. The Hawks paced 10th at nationals, and McLaren earned a 105th-place finish against the top runners in the nation.

He was a state medalist indoors in the 3,200-meter relay as the Hawks finished fifth in public schools in 8:03.87. He was also a state qualifier individually indoors and took 13th in the federation in the 1,000 meters in 2:35.63.

This spring, McLaren was the All-Region 'Track Athlete of the Year.' He anchored the Hawks medal winning 4x800 relay, which had a  time of 7:54.01. He ran a 1:54.32 leg of the 800 meters in the race, which was the fastest time among any runner among regional schools in the event.

Steven Bidwell, senior, Owego — football, lacrosse: Despite running behind an inexperienced and somewhat small offensive line, the senior running back finished second in school history with 1,250 yards rushing. His 17 touchdowns were second most in school history as well and he set the single-game rushing record with a 295-yard performance. At linebacker, Bidwell was the team’s leading tackler. He was also the Indians’ punter.

He was also the leading scorer for a young lacrosse team and his 7-goal effort against Whitney Point in a 9-6 win helped Owego clinch a sectional playoff spot.
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