CANTON — Led by best friends Sarah Sieminski and Katie Chisholm, the Canton girls basketball team is challenging itself this year as it hopes to make a repeat trip to the state Class B final four.
The Golden Bears won the Section 10 overall championship a year ago and made it all the way to Troy for the Class B semifinals before their season came to an end with a 64-44 loss to Section 5’s Midlakes.
Sieminski and Chisholm are two of the top players on the team and in Section 10 and they’ve played together as long as either can remember.
“We’ve played together since we could dribble a basketball,” Sieminski said. “We are really close off the court as well, so that helps. We’ve learned what we tend to do on the court and we’ve learned to really work well together. We are competitive, but it betters both of us, so it’s good for both of us.”
Said Chisholm, “We’ve been best friends our whole life. We play all sports together every season. We always get along. We work well together because we’ve been doing it for so long. We always know where each other is on the court and it’s easy to find one another, because we know how each other plays. I say we get competitive with each other, but we are always happy with one another, whatever we do.”
The duo, who are both guards and swap playing the point or shooting position, have also worked with Canton coach Jim DiSalvo since they were in elementary school.
“They are both the same style and build,” DiSalvo said. “Katie has tremendous speed, for a guard, and Sarah is just one of the best passers and she’s a high rebounder.”
DiSalvo said each player averages about 11 or 12 points per game.
“(Sieminski) is an excellent leader on the floor,” DiSalvo said. “She can see the floor really well. Our girls know spots to fill and she’ll throw the ball to them if they are in the spots. (Chisholm) is one of the fastest girls in the county. She’ll beat most people up the court on the dribble. They just feed off each other. They know where each other is going to be and if someone gets in trouble they can bail them out.”
Canton must get through the Section 10 playoffs if it wants to make another visit to the state final four, but the Golden Bears are preparing for that possibility by playing some challenging nonleague games this season.
Canton (4-0 overall, 3-0 in league) will play Westhill and then either Owego or South Jefferson in a tournament at Onondaga Community College on Dec. 26 and 27. The Golden Bears also will face Bishop Grimes on Jan. 19.
“It’s very challenging, but I think it will be good for us,” Sieminski said. “It’s always better to play a really hard team than a team you are going to blow out by 50 points. I think it can give us an opportunity to look at some teams we could possibly be facing in a final four game, if we make it that far. I think it’s important we are actually going places and playing tough teams.”
Both players also have begun to plan for the future. Sieminski is hoping to be accepted at Bucknell University, which is an NCAA Division I school and she said she won’t be playing basketball there.
Chisholm is planning to play for St. Lawrence University next year.
“I did an overnight there with the basketball team and I really liked all of them,” Chisholm said. “I like how it’s close to home. I like the school itself, the academics and everything. I always went to their basketball camps when I was younger and I always kind of wanted to go there.”
Sieminski comes from a well-known Canton family. Her mother, Mary Beth (Carvel) and her uncle, Greg Carvel, who coaches the Massachusetts men’s hockey team, are both in Canton’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Her father, Randy, is the SUNY Canton athletic director.
“I always thought it would be nice if my name could be up there, too,” Sieminski said of the Hall of Fame. “Last year was awesome to see (Greg’s) hockey team going so far and my basketball team went just as far. That was so nice for the while family. Everyone in the family was happy for both of us.”