One of the best days of the year is the one that I get to post an aerial view of the Hudson Valley Community College gym on all social platforms (which in 2023 means “X” instead of Twitter and even Threads too!).
That day this year was November 13, the official first day of the season for virtually all teams I cover in New York. It’s been 15 years since opening day of my final high school season, and the Day 1 excitement (and nerves) is a feeling I won’t soon forget. Even as a year-long hooper, the onset of scholastic season hits a little different… everyone’s IG posts & stories probably speak to that.
The upcoming 2023-24 season is set to come with a little shift in what has been the norm. We in New York have matched our Pennsylvanian neighbors with a sixth class following the introduction of Class AAA. In just over four months, 24 teams from those six classes will invade HVCC to compete for NYSPHSAA supremacy. As of now, several hundred teams have their seasons underway with wide-ranging goals in mind depending on the level of their programs.
Unlike most years over the last few decades, the conclusion of NYSPHSAA playoffs means the end of the season even for all champions. After what I’d call a feeble attempt to bring them back in 2023, Federation championships – the event that put champions from New York’s four athletic associations together to crown a true state champion in certain classes – is officially off the books. That also means Western New York private schools, who are members of the CHSAA through the Monsignor Martin Association, see their seasons end in CHSAA playoffs.
The EST website coverage hits another gear for scholastic season – check the archives for proof – and this year will be no different. You won’t see more focused girls’ basketball coverage anywhere in upstate NY (and sometimes beyond) than here. At minimum, I plan to actively cover Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10, along with keeping a watchful eye on Section 1 plus Long Island, Vermont, Western Massachusetts, and Districts 2 & 4 in Pennsylvania – and getting to those areas whenever possible.
The 2023-24 season coverage will include – but not be limited to – nightly articles focusing specifically on games I attend in person, daily (or close to it) preview posts looking ahead at the night to come, consistent review articles highlighting & analyzing recent team results & individual performances, an occasional post focused on game film review when time allows, and the occasional ‘standout’ player-based posts for any large scale scholastic events I plan to attend (such as the annual Amsterdam Holiday College Showcase). The goal for every year is to be in attendance for 250 games during high school season; the expectation is at least 200.
All of the above material will be subscriber content on the website. Use the link here (Subscription Plans) to create a monthly or annual subscription, and to those that already have active subscriptions, this link (Subscriber Login) is one of several places to log in for full viewing. All photos get dumped on the website and are accessible for subscribers as well.
The winter talk is set to start the same way as the last couple years – full season previews for all classes in several NYSPHSAA sections. These includes teams to highlight, players to watch, and games to circle on the calendar for all sections/classes covered. Expect to see the following previews before the season gets into full swing (these articles will be linked below as posted):
- Section 2 Class AAA (all S2 previews out by November 20)
- Section 2 Class AA
- Section 2 “Midsize” School (Classes A-B)
- Section 2 Small School (Classes C-D)
- Section 3 Large School (Classes AAA-AA) (all S3 previews out by November 21)
- Section 3 “Midsize” School (Classes A-B)
- Section 3 Small School (Classes C-D)
- Section 4 Large School (Classes AAA-AA) (all S4 previews out by November 22)
- Section 4 “Midsize” School (Classes A-B)
- Section 4 Small School (Classes C-D)
- Section 5 Large School (Classes AAA-AA)
- Section 5 “Midsize” School (Classes A-B)
- Section 5 Small School (Classes C-D)
- Section 6 Large School (Classes AAA-AA) + Monsignor Martin
- Section 6 “Midsize” School (Classes A-B)
- Section 6 Small School (Classes C-D)
- The Northern New York Preview (Sections 7 + 10, all classes)
Follow along throughout the entire season for full coverage on Twitter (@NYSTakeover), Instagram (@empirestatetakeover), and now even Threads (@empirestatetakeover) as well. The first allowed date for scrimmages and games is November 20. Although most teams don’t hit full speed with their game schedules until early December, the season is officially here. Looking forward to seeing you in the gym!