By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY For anyone who attended a Livingston Manor boys’ basketball game this season, it was easy to notice the play of Troy Correa.
Whether he was stealing the ball from an opposing player and then sprinting to the basket to score a layup, making a crisp pass to an open teammate, playing good defense by staying step for step with the player he was guarding or pumping up his team during the game, the 5-foot, 9-inch senior point guard certainly made an impact in every Wildcats’ game.
For those reasons, Correa is the 2012 Sullivan County Democrat Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Correa was chosen for the honor by the Democrat sports staff along with a poll of the varsity boys’ basketball coaches at the county’s eight high schools.
During the recently completed 2011-2012 season in which Livingston Manor advanced to the New York State Class D Final Four, Correa was the Wildcats’ leader in points per game (13.6), assists per game (6.3) and steals per game (3.8). He also grabbed an average of 2.1 rebounds per game.
Opposing coaches knew that in order to have a better chance of defeating Manor, they had to slow down Correa. But that was sometimes easier said than done.
“He is a great player and he had a great year,” said Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky, whose team played Correa and the Wildcats twice this season. “We beat them by 25 points at our place early in the season, but Troy still had a good game. The second time we played them, which was at their place, Sam Didinsky did a pretty good job of guarding Troy but he still scored 28 points to lead them to victory.
“Troy also helps make everyone else on his team better,” Dworetsky added.
T-V Coach Brian Tingley noted that in Manor’s 63-46 victory over his Bears, Correa “held his team together.”
Manor Coach Charlie Hicks noted that Correa, who was one of the team’s captains this season, displayed leadership and a willingness to get his teammates more involved in the game.
“Troy and I talked early in the season about his shot selection the previous years and how it has improved,” Hicks explained. “I told him that we had some other very good offensive players on this team and that he didn’t have to do all the scoring.
“I told him that scoring points gets your name in the newspaper but it’s the little things that don’t make the paper that make you a good player.
I told him that great players make their teammates better and I thought he could do that too. He seemed to take that to heart because he averaged over six assists a game. We also discussed that he had the ability to take over in big games and he did all year.
The 18-year-old Correa embraced the role of being a good teammate.
“I liked being a facilitator for our team,” he said. “I was happy to get the ball to my teammates when they were in position to take a good shot. There were times when I felt good shooting the ball and scored myself, but I also enjoyed getting assists.”
Hicks who has coached Correa on the Manor varsity boys’ basketball team for four years, noted that there are several reasons Correa is successful on the court.
|“Troy is such a good basketball player because he has great instincts, anticipation and a good understanding of the game,” Hicks commented. “The intangibles he brings are his fiery competitiveness and the fact that he hates to lose. We fed off of his emotions all year. If he was down, we were down. When he was pumped up, the whole team was firing on all cylinders. I believe the sectional and regional championship games were great examples of this.”
Correa had his two biggest games of the year in the postseason. In an opening round game of the state tournament, he scored a career-high 31 points to lead Manor to a 86-54 victory over Greenburgh Academy. In the Wildcats’ next game, he set a new career high by netting 40 points in a 69-53 win over Bridgehampton in the Class D Regional Championship game.
“That was my favorite game of the season,” Correa said. “Scoring 40 points was nice, but more importantly it was winning the game got us to the Final Four.”
There were plenty of favorite moments to choose from. Manor made school history by winning its first-ever Section IX Class D title, winning its first-ever Class D Regional Championship and advancing for the first time ever to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D Final Four in Glens Falls.
Not surprisingly, Correa is happy with his overall performance this year.
“I think I had a good season,” he said. “It was my best season of my four years on the varsity team.”
While it was easy to see the contributions Correa made to the Manor offense this season, he also gave a great effort on defense.
“His defense goes unnoticed sometimes because of his offensive numbers, but much of his scoring was in transition due to his on-the-ball defense and our defense as a team,” Hicks said.
“Troy’s impact on Livingston Manor’s basketball team goes well beyond this year,” Hicks continued. “He has been with me and the team since third grade when he was the manager and water boy. He was a four-year starter and has helped win many games for me in his career. He and some of the other boys have volunteered their time on Saturday mornings helping out and coaching elementary basketball games.”
Correa also remembers helping the team since he was in elementary school.
“Coach Hicks has been a big influence for me all of these years,” Correa commented. “He is a great coach and has taught me and my teammates a lot. I also learned a lot from Coach [Adam] Larson and Coach [Kevin] Clifford.”
Although their season ended on a disappointing note to Madrid-Waddington in the Class D state semifinals, Correa and his teammates provided a lot of exciting moments and memories for the Manor community.
“I’ll definitely have good memories from this season,” said Correa, one of nine seniors on the team. “And I will remember my teammates. We are all good friends.
“I thank all my coaches, teammates and family members for supporting me all of these years,” he added.
Although Correa is very athletic and has performed well for other teams, including playing four years for the Livingston Manor/Roscoe varsity football team and playing four seasons for the Manor varsity baseball team, he has decided to try to play college baseball. At this time, he is not sure which college he will attend, but he knows that he wants to major in Sports Management. His career goal is to become a sports agent or a coach.
• 13.6 points per game
• 6.3 assists per game
• 3.8 steals per game
Big games: Scored 40 points against Bridgehampton in Regional Final victory; scored 31 points against Greenburgh in Regional semifinal win.
Awards: Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) 2011-2012 Section 9 All-Star; Sullivan County Democrat 2011-2012 Player of the Year