Dunkirk Observer

Fredonia’s Finest

Bogardus caps record-breaking career as Girls Player of Year

Carol Zirkle knew she was in the presence of a special player when she took part in a Brocton youth basketball camp nearly 10 years ago.

Zirkle, who was coaching the Ripley girls varsity basketball team at the time, was witnessing a sure-fire future star in the making, first-hand.

“It was obvious from an early age that she was a gifted athlete,” Zirkle said of the multi-talented elementary schooler. “She was picking up the sport at a very quick rate as a youngster.”

The player?

Sarah Bogardus.

The now Fredonia High School senior and record-breaking hoopster has captured nearly every athletic acclaim during her four-year varsity career for the Lady Hillbillies. This season Bogardus capped that career by being named the OBSERVER Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the first time.

Bogardus, who will play for NAIA Division II power Daemen College next season, polished off her high school career by averaging 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2 steals for the Lady Hillbillies.

“She has quite an impact on the scoring in every game she has played,” said Zirkle, who was reunited with Bogradus as her coach after arriving at Fredonia five years ago. “That translates into a lot of wins.”

In her four years, Bogradus’ Lady Hillbillies have won two Class B Section 6 titles and fell just two wins short of another championship this season. As a result, Fredonia has become one of the best and most respected girls basketball programs in Western New York.

The foundation for Bogardus’ success was cemented early.

“I remember seeing her at the Brocton camps,” Zirkle explained, “and you could see she had just kept going and progressing to the point that she was a standout. There was no question she was going to be on the varsity as a freshman.”

The six-foot co-captain broke four school records at Fredonia, including the record for career points (1,612), which she eclipsed as a junior. Bogardus also hold Lady Hillbillies marks for career rebounds (818), single season points (484), and single season rebounds (259).

“She’s got great instincts for the game,” Zirkle said. “She sees an opening on the floor for her drive and she just takes them, She’s just a very instinctive basketball player.”

Bogardus, who also swims and plays softball for Fredonia, has honed her skills at numerous Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) camps and has played for the Western Scholastic girls basketball team for the past two years at the Empire State Games.

“She’s really worked at her game with camps, summer ball and AAU ball to get to the point that she’s at right now,” Zirkle said.

Perhaps Bogardus’ finest performance this season came in the Class B-1 semifinal against Lackawanna. Bogardus had 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Billies’ win.

Bogardus was also named a First Team CCIAC Division I All-Star for the third time in her career. Last season Bogardus was named Division I Player of the Year, Second Team All-Western New York and Fifth Team All-State in Class B.

“She has a lot of natural ability,” Zirkle said. “She’s one of the most overall gifted athletes that I have ever worked with. She just seems to have that natural gift, no matter what sport she’s playing. She has what it takes to be one of the best at that sport, across the board.”

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