Cooperstown senior Jack Lambert is still processing the history.
Lambert helped lead Cooperstown boys basketball to the program’s first ever state title with a 71-61 victory over Middle Early College on March 17th.
“It’s still sinking in,” Lambert said. “The past few days have been really great. The community and the school especially have been congratulating us in the hallways. It’s been a great time to be a Hawkeye.”
In the state semifinals, Lambert set a state final four record by scoring 53 points in a triple-overtime win to propel Cooperstown past Greenport.
“The whole time, I was just focused on getting the win and getting to the finals,” he said. “That was the main goal for everyone and that’s what we did.”
Lambert even outscored Syracuse commit Joe Girard III, who dropped 50 points to lead Glens Falls to a state title in Class B.
“Knowing that I can beat out Joe on that day was really great,” he said. (Joe is) obviously a really good player.”
Cooperstown’s work was far from finished. They had to re-group and prepare for Middle Early College the very next morning.
“We had a great dinner that night,” he said. “We just needed to focus on what we needed to do. We were in shape and worked enough that we knew we could get up and do it again.”
Behind Lambert’s game-high 23 points, that’s exactly what the Hawkeyes did.
“To say to yourself that you’re a state champion, especially in a sport as competive as boys basketball, is just incredible,” he said. “It’s tough to put into words.”
Prior to the season, Lambert’s father John replaced David Bertram as head coach, and Jack got to experience Cooperstown’s historic ride right by his side.
“To win it with him on the sideline was amazing,” he said. “We’ve taken long car rides going everywhere to play basketball and working so hard in the offseason.”
The victory marked Lambert’s final game as a Cooperstown basketball player, but the legacy of this year’s team will live on for generations.
“The biggest thing to remember is we were all together and we all played for one another,” Lambert said. “Just the cohesiveness of this team and the friendships that we made even stronger if that’s possible is something you want to remember. It’s pretty special to bring that for the first state championship.”