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The Local Angle
By Dave Shea
Sports Editor
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The Local Angle

Lassial Sees Great Future In Canton Boys Basketball

First published: December 02, 2014 at 1:45 am
Last modified: December 02, 2014 at 2:30 am
TROY LASSIAL

Troy Lassial sees a promising future for the Canton Central Boys Basketball program.

And the first year Bears’ head coach plans to incorporate his experiences as an OFA and St. Lawrence University athlete and as a collegiate assistant coach into the equation for developing that potential.

Lassial has resided in Canton since graduating from SLU and serves as the Associate Director of Residence Life at SUNY Canton.

“We have a lot of good young players in Canton and the people at the Canton Hoopsters program are working very hard getting the young kids involved in tournaments” says Lassial who played for Coach Bill Merna on an OFA team which reached the New York State Class B Final Four in 2004 and went on to play football at St. Lawrence University.

“This year we will pretty young and both the players and I will be learning. I will be implementing my system which is a mix of things I have learned and things I have picked up from talking to SUNY Canton Coach Jim Bechtel and St. Lawrence University Coach Chris Downs. They have both been very helpful to me.”

Lassial will make his first appearance at OFA’s Bill Merna Court as the Canton Coach on Monday and feels that the elements he learned as a Blue Devils player will be on display.

“We definitely want to play with the intensity and sense of sacrifice for the team which Coach Sargent (retired JV coach and current JV assistant Mike Sargent) taught me,” says Lassial.

“And I definitely hope I can use Coach Merna’s (retired OFA Coach Bill Merna) abilities in the Xs and Os. He is outstanding at watching films and then taking what he saw and making players better.”

Lassial also hopes to emulate his OFA coaches in terms of having a long and successful career at Canton.

“When Bill Porter (Canton Athletic Director and JV Basketball Coach) and I first talked he said they were looking for a young person to get involved in the program. Things just went from there and I took the varsity position after I completed all my certification,” says Lassial who is married to Canton native Erin (Coakley) Lassial who is the Coordinator of International Student Initiativeses at SUNY Canton.

“My wife is very involved at the high school and I wanted to contribute to the school and community. So I thought, what better way to do that than through athletics.”

Lassial will coach his first game tonight in a home game with Hermon-DeKalb of the NAC West.

His first team features three returnees from last season and a host of first year juniors.

Returning from last year’s Canton team are two seniors in forward Mike Couglar and guard Bailey White-Taylor and sophomore guard Louden Porter who Lassial feels will set a tone of toughness for the squad. First year players are 6’ 3” forward Sebastian Newman who is the talented player on the team at 6’ 3”, exchange student Pablo Fernandez from Spain (G), Brian Bradford (G), David Norman (G), Mike Leponto (F), Shemule Prudhomme (F), Dane Ames (F) who has been the team’s top scorer in scrimmages and Zachary Kavanagh (G).

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Local Angle: Boyer still blazing basketball trails

First published: March 25, 2014 at 12:30 am
Last modified: March 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

When Title IX became part of the law of the land as a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 the door to unlimited opportunities opened for women.

One of the doors that opened was equal access to the gym for girls and women’s basketball players.

In Ogdensburg, Lisa Boyer was part of the first group of OFA female athletes who seized upon the opportunity to play interscholastic sports. Female athletes of that era were called “pioneers” who blazed wide trails for others to follow.

Lisa Boyer not only achieved her dream of becoming a championship basketball player at OFA for Coach Penny (Raftis) Sharrow, she also became a collegiate basketball standout at Ithaca College and then joined the NCAA coaching ranks in a 1981 as an assistant at Davidson College.

Thirty-three years later she is still blazing trails while serving as an Associate Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina. A trail that could very well lead to the NCAA Final Four next month.

Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA standout and 2013 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Coach Boyer came from Temple to begin a remake of the USC program on May of 2008. This season they headed a staff which led the Gamecocks to their second straight 25-win season and the first number one NCAA Tournament seeding in their program’s history.

Eighth ranked South Carolina is seeded first in the Stanford Regional in Seattle Wash. and advanced to the second round with a victory over the University of California at Northridge on Sunday. The Gamecocks will play Middle Tennessee or Oregon State on Tuesday.

Lisa Boyer and Dawn Staley teamed up to elevate the South Carolina program to national prominence after leading Temple to five NCAA Tournaments and three Atlantic 10 Tournament titles in six years including an historic 16-0 conference mark and 25-game winning streak in 2005.

Staley, the SEC Coach of the Year and finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, credits Boyer as a major key in her smooth transition from greatness on the court to immense success in coaching ranks.

“Having Lisa on our my staff says a lot of because she could be a head coach in her own right. I strive for perfection. If you don’t have the knowledge to accomplish perfection, then you get somebody who has that knowledge to pass on to you,” states Staley in her profile on the USC Women’s Basketball website.”

“When I started in coaching, Lisa was that person for me. I wore her down because I knew I needed her. I trust her with my life, and I knew I could trust her with my career, not just as a coach, but as an administrator, a manager and overall as a person.”

An NCAA Final Four appearance would further embellish Lisa Boyer’s already Hall of Fame caliber career. She served as the Head Coach Bradley University from 1986-1996 and also enjoyed success at the professional level.

For two seasons she guided the Richmond/Philadelphia Range in 1996-1997 where she coached Staley, served as an assistant coach for in the WNBA Cleveland Rockers and made history as the first female assistant coach in the NBA when she served on John Lucas’ staff with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As she has done throughout three decades of coaching Lisa Boyer credits her players for her success.

“It is a tribute to the players who have bought into the process and entrusted with us with their careers. We continue to strive toward a championship, growing as people and family along the way,” she said in her profile on the USC Women’s Basketball website.

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Dave Shea’s Local Angle

First published: March 04, 2014 at 12:30 am
Last modified: March 04, 2014 at 8:17 am

Today The Journal embarks on a new era in its evolution as the hometown newspaper of Ogdensburg and it surrounding communities.

For the first time since the founding of the Daily Journal in 1865 The Journal will not be a daily paper.

Instead The Journal will be published on Tuesday and Thursdays in conjunction with the Advance News on Sunday.

While the new format may be a major change for readers, there will be no change in the The Journal staff’s dedication to bringing extensive local news coverage to the communities its serves.

In the sports section of The Journal has long been known for its concentration on high school and community sports while providing coverage to area colleges and the national scene as space permits.

That concentration will continue in a much larger sports section which will offer the opportunity for larger pictures, more features and a more artistic presentation.

Toward that end, the sports staff is asking the readers to aid in the goal of keeping the paper as a viable resource in the community.

Do you have an event you want publicize or have an idea you will feel would be a good story.?

Let us know about it by calling 393-1003 or dropping us an email at sports@ogd.com.

Quality picture submissions of all kinds are always encouraged and the arrival of the digital age makes it very easy.

Just drop off a print at the office or email digital images in the largest file possible to sports@ogd.com and attach the information.

Remember one picture says a thousand words and words and pictures are our business.

Pictures of all kinds: action or team shots of any sport youth and or adult, images of a great fishing day on the water or a memorable hunting day in the field and in the woods, a hole in one in golf course our a perfect game or huge series in bowling.

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