Share this article

print logo

High School Extra: Mel Swanson wins 600th as girls basketball coach

Melford "Mel" Swanson of Sherman, who has the third-most girls basketball coaching wins in New York Public High Schools Athletic Association history, notched No. 600 Tuesday night in the Wildcats' 43-34 victory over Maple Grove.

The milestone comes in Swanson's final season as a coach.

"I am stepping down after 40 yards of coaching, time to watch my grandkids play," Swanson said in an email exchange with The Buffalo News. "I have one starting this year with his seventh-grade season. Gonna be great to watch him play."

The only coaches ahead of Swanson on the NYSPHSAA girls basketball win list are Ray Preston, still at Charlotte Valley with 631 and John Kuhn who retired from Red Hook with 619 wins. After Swanson comes Warren Fuller of Wyandanch, who began the season with 553 wins.

Abby Cole had 13 points and Hannah Murdock 10 in Swanson's 600th win while Carrie Sands had 10 rebounds.  Sherman which is 4-4 for the season and 1-1 in CCAA West 2 play.

Swanson, who is also the director of athletics at the Chautauqua County school, began coaching girls basketball at Sherman in the 1978-79 season after graduating from Fredonia State in 1977. His record for the first three seasons was only 10-32 but he got on the winning side (12-9) the next season, and his teams followed with 20-win seasons in 1982-83 and 1983-84. His most successful season was in 2008-09 when the Wildcats lost on a basket with 12 seconds left to Coleman Catholic in the NYSPHSAA Class D championship game in Troy. Five seniors, who had played together since they were freshman, started for Sherman that season including two -- Rachel Ottaway who was a first-time All-State selection and Beth Gribble,   a third-team selection.
That team finished with a 22-3 record.

Swanson's teams have won nine Section VI Class D championships.

Besides girls basketball, Swanson also coached the boys  team as well and junior varsity and junior high boys and girls teams at Sherman. Altogether he has well over 1,000 career basketball victories.

A Panama Central graduate, Swanson and his wife, Mary, are the parents of three sons and a daughter. One son, Nolan, is co-owner of Pinehurst Golf Club in Westfield. Another, Patrick is Chautauqua County district attorney. A third son, Ryan, is golf coach at St. Bonaventure University.

CCA wins first in new league

Christian Central Academy scored 33 points in the third quarter, many off its pressure defense, and scored an historic 68-50 victory over Niagara Catholic. Sophomore Zach Miller had 18 points for CCA, which recorded its first victory in its first season in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association League 2. Sophomore Thomas Owens had 21 points for the losers.

Burgard tops McKinley

Sophomore Dajuan Williams scored 17 points and Burgard limited its turnovers against McKinley's pressing defense and defeated the Macks, 46-42, in Yale Cup League 1 on Wednesday. It was Burgard's first win over McKinley in seven years according to Burgard coach Willie "Hutch" Jones.

A check of the archives showed that Burgard's last victory over McKinley was Jan. 6, 2010, when the Bulldogs won, 51-49, with Jones coaching. Prior to that Burgard's last win over the Macks was in 2005. Burgard had lost five straight games in the rivalry since 2010. Last season, the Macks humbled Burgard by 61 points, 105-44, on the way to an undefeated season in Yale Cup.

Sacred Heart tops Mercy

Sacred Heart won its third without a loss in Monsignor Martin Association girls basketball, but it wasn't easy. The Sharks trailed Mount Mercy, 32-29 entering the fourth quarter and had to rally for a 46-39 victory over the Magic.

"We changed defenses and opened up our offense," said Sharkes coach Coppola. "We went from zone to man. We didn't press. It was just tough halfcourt defense and we blocked out."

Micaela Ryan had 16 points and Siobhan Ryan 12 to lead the scoring for Sacred Heart. Also important was the rebounding of Jennifer Grimm. She had 17 of her team's 29 boards.

"Give Mercy credit," Coppola said. "They are well coached and played hard. We were going out best. We're a young team and we have a lot of tough games ahead.
Malloy Ashe of Mercy was high scorer in the game with 19 points.


There are no comments - be the first to comment