Peyton Smith – Hudson Falls
The 6’8” Junior is powerful for Hudson Falls, who just won their first Foothills Conference Championship in 22 years. Smith, an above 20 ppg scorer is one of the most sought-after talents in the capital region, already holding an offer from UAlbany.
Generally, a player of his size would adopt role-playing under the basket, but Smith does it all. He is a prototypical wing who will flourish at the collegiate level. He is athletic, strong, quick, has a good-looking jumper, and does everything in between. For now, he produces at all levels inside and out and is leading Class A’s 2nd seed on a quest for a section title. Quite simply, Smith is a force to be reckoned with, and any team looking to take down the Tigers will have to be clicking on all cylinders while keeping Smith below his averages. The thing is, Hudson Falls is more than just Smith, they’re deep and talented, only amplifying the big man’s production.
Rahji Covington – Troy
Rahji Covington is one of the most electrifying young guards in the section. He has had a handful of big-time performances this season and is a gifted scorer, averaging 19 on a young Troy squad. Covington and his teammates are capable of catching fire, having really made some huge strides at the end of the season which includes a win over Niskayuna.
Covington is lightning quick, with the ability to make tough shots at the rim and set up his teammates. That win over Niskayuna may have been what propelled Troy into the Class’s top spot. At 12-7, Covington and co. will look to keep their momentum in a tough Class A bracket that features Hudson Falls, Mekeel Christian, Amsterdam, Scotia, and more.
Zahki Fallen – Mekeel C.A.
Zahki Fallen is one of the more fun players to watch in the section. The undersized guard packs a big punch, averaging 23 points to go alongside a handful of steals and assists each game. Like Covington, he’s faster than most but possesses an unreal feel for the game. He keeps the ball close, even when moving downhill at full speed.
He elevates like a wing which helps him get his shot off in tough situations. The Lions will go as Fallen goes, and their floor general will have to come up big if Mekeel wants to add yet another sectional title to their trophy cabinet.
JaShean Vann – Amsterdam
Vann is one of my favorite players in the section. He’s a utility knife, with a handful of double-doubles on the season. Consistently good for 10-15 points, 8-10 rebounds, some assists, some steals, the Amsterdam do-it-all will be entering the Class A tournament with a chip on his shoulder as the 13-5 Rams are seeded 4th.
Vann is quick, energetic, and a pest on defense. His work rate makes him so effective. When he is clicking alongside teammates Cesar Thompson and Joseph Pleasant, the Rams can wreak havoc.
5th seeded Scotia actually finished above Amsterdam in their conference standings, but find themselves one seed lower in sectionals. The 14-5 Tartans are led by a pair of 15 ppg scorers in senior wing Aaron Corker and Sophomore Guard Ben Kline. Scotia and Amsterdam split their season series, so a potential 2nd round matchup with a shot at taking on top-seeded Troy would be a lot of fun.