Katie Chisholm and Sarah Sieminski have shared nearly every moment of their basketball careers. Now, the two seniors share one final achievement.
Chisholm and Sieminski have been named the 2019-20 Watertown Daily Times All-North Co-MVPs for the Northern Athletic Conference.
Chisholm and Sieminski’s final season in gold and brown resulted in a fourth consecutive Section X Class B Title and a trip to the state quarterfinals, where the Golden Bears ultimately fell to Section II Mechanicville.
Sharing such a prestigious award with a close friend is a privilege, according to the two seniors.
“This award means so much to me because it is selected out of a very talented group of basketball players, and I am honored to be selected as Co-MVP with a very good friend of mine,” said Sieminski.
“Sharing this award with my best friend means so much to me,” added Chisholm. “We have played together ever since we were little girls and I think that’s what makes it so special.”
The girls’ respective resumes are impressive and similar. Sieminski is a three-time First Team All-Northern award winner, a three-time Academic All-Northern award winner, and was a finalist for the Jan Reetz Award, the highest honor in Section X girls basketball. Chisholm is a two-time First Team All-Northern award winner, a three-time Academic All-Northern award winner, and was the recipient of the Jan Reetz Award for the 2019-20 girls basketball season, during which she reached the 1,000 point mark for her career. Both have also been named to All-State teams and have accumulated various other awards during their time on the hardwood for the Golden Bears.
The pair not only led the Golden Bears during their 2019-20 championship campaign, but were also instrumental in helping the girls basketball team make a New York State Final Four appearance in their junior season.
As Chisholm and Sieminski reflected on their careers, both made note of the team’s accomplishments above all else.
“I will remember this team forever,” Sieminski said. “The senior group has been playing together since at least fourth grade. We have countless unforgettable memories during the basketball season and offseason. The countless tournaments all over New York State that we have gone to together will always make me smile when I think back to them.”
“This past season was one of the best ones I’ve ever had,” noted Chisholm. “Everyone got along so well and we were all such close friends. It made going to practice so much more fun. I will remember all of the memories we made together as a team and especially how we went undefeated in the league. I will also remember how we won the Class B Championship and the overall Section X Championship.”
Golden Bears Head Coach Jim DiSalvo said it has been a pleasure to coach the pair of friends throughout their basketball careers.
“Katie’s effort on the court is outstanding. She is a tireless worker who respects the game, the opposition and the officials. Her explosiveness has made her a difficult player to defend. A 1,000 point career scorer, she is a tenacious defender who neutralizes the opponent’s best player,” DiSalvo noted about Chisholm, adding about Sieminski, “Sarah is a leader on and off the court. She is an outstanding and unselfish point guard which was a key to our transition game. She is a terrific defensive press player, which leads to our steal and score approach. She is fierce a rebounder, who led our team in rebounds as a guard.”
Sarah is the daughter of Randy and Mary-Beth Sieminski. Her father, also a coach with the girls basketball team, reflected not only on his daughter’s achievements, but on the entire group of seniors who had such success at Canton.
“I’m proud of Sarah working so hard to attain the goals she set for both her team and herself. It’s a result of hundreds of hours in the gym over a number of years practicing and improving her skills,” Randy said. “Her passing and ball handling became a huge asset for our team, and she often surprised us feathering the ball past defenders to find an open teammate for an easy basket.”
“Helping coach Sarah and her team was one of most rewarding experiences of my life,” he continued. “They are an incredible group who were not only outstanding basketball players, but wonderful people and just so much fun. They approached every game with the expectation to win and enjoy the experience. I already miss seeing them and their families. It really is a special group.”
Katie’s parents, Martha and Scott Chisholm, mirrored Mr. Sieminski’s sentiments.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed watching Katie and her friends grow up on the basketball court,” Martha said. “We are honored Katie was chosen as the 2020 Jan Reetz award winner, joined the 1,000 point scorers at Canton High School, and thrilled Katie and Sarah Sieminski are C- MVPs for Watertown Times All-North Basketball. We look forward to watching Katie play next year at St. Lawrence University.”
Canton Central School Athletic Director Bill Porter had high praise for the senior pair as well, comparing them to other dynamic duos from Golden Bear lore.
“It has been such a pleasure to watch as these young ladies have progressed through our athletic program. Although they share many honors, they are each uniquely qualified for recognition. I feel that people tend to pair them together and for good reason. They have an extremely strong friendship,” Porter said. “There have been some solid pairs of players to come through Canton going back to Cohen and McKenney in the late 70’s. Chisholm and Sieminski have certainly solidified themselves in this conversation.”
When asked to look back on her career, Sieminski remembered the team’s run to the pinnacle of New York State girls high school basketball.
“When I think about my basketball career at Canton I instantly think about last year’s victory over Mechanicville to advance to the Final Four, which had been a dream of mine,” Sieminski said. “Rallying from 15 points down in the fourth quarter in front of 4,000 people was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was one of the best days of my entire life. Afterwards all my teammates and their parents came to my house and re-watched the game and everyone was just so happy.”
Chisholm reiterated the appreciation the girls have for all of the support they’ve received during the careers from those who were part of the journey.
“We wouldn’t have been as successful as we were, if it wasn’t for our coaches and all of our teammates,” she said. “Both of our coaches put in a tremendous amount of time to help us all get better everyday. We wouldn’t be the players we are today if it wasn’t for them. At practice, our teammates always pushed each other to their limit to make one another better.”
While both girls still hope to be able to play spring sports in their senior season, they each have their plans for the future set. Sieminski plans to attend Bucknell University in the fall, perhaps looking to explore a career in psychology or mathematics while also hoping to play club or intramural basketball. Chisholm will be staying local to attend St. Lawrence University, where she will continue her basketball career. She has not yet decided on a major.