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Glance At The Past

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This week’s feature is in honor of the Ben Cordwell Memorial Girls Basketball Tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Ogdensburg Free Academy. The OFA girls will square off against Canton Friday.

The player in the photo is OFA Class of 1994 graduate Liz MacDougall, who helped propel the team to victory against Massena that year in the Section X Basketball Championships and who made the first team Girls All NAC B-C team that year. That was also the year that Coach Cordwell was awarded coach of the year honors.

Liz remains one of the most talented lady athletes in OFA’s history. She won a full scholarship to play women’s basketball for the Division I Marist College, Poughkeepsie. In her senior year, she racked up 511 attempts, 160 two-point shots, 46 three-point shots, 65 foul shots, 131 steals, and 154 assists, and averaged 19.6 points per game.

That year was also the last year the team was coached by Mr. Cordwell, who had served as girls varsity basketball coach since 1979. The tournament in his memory was established in 2000.

“He gave us the freedom to express our natural talents and athletic abilities,” Ms. MacDougall said in an email message Friday. “He cared about us as individuals, always treated us with respect and most of all had a passion for women’s basketball and the Blue Devils. He was ahead of the game for sure in regards to women’s basketball, especially in the north country.”

She said he kept detailed statistics on each player.

“He truly studied and loved the game,” Ms. MacDougall said. “He loved each and every one of his players. He got me a medal for my one thousandth-point game and didn’t need to. I still have it.”

Special thanks to Mr. Cordwell’s daughter, Marguerite (Peg) Cordwell Brown, for providing the photo and information for this week’s feature. She said her father kept everything over the years he coached, including photos and statistics.

The OFA girls junior varsity team, coached by Jade Vernsey, faces off against Canton’s Lady Golden Bears at 5 p.m. Friday. The OFA varsity girls, coached by Lynn Blevins, will face Canton’s varsity squad at 8 p.m. Both games are in the school’s main gym.

If you have a photo or feature for Glance At The Past, contact Advance-News Editor Elizabeth Lyons at 393-1003, extension 123 or egraham@wdt.net. Photos and accompanying information will be published in the order in which they are submitted, and must be submitted by Monday to be considered for publication the following Sunday. Contributors may pick up their submissions at The Journal and Advance-News office in Ogdensburg after they are published.

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