The Sawyer boys’ varsity basketball team has been struggling in their first season without Dior Johnson, the phenom who played two varsity seasons in Saugerties before accepting an offer to play at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for his freshman season. This week it was revealed that after considering other local public schools Johnson would return to the Sawyers, where he averaged 31.1 points, 3.5 steals, 3.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds last season, helping lead the team to the Section IX, Class A title game.
Sports reporter Sean Lynch broke the news on Twitter that Johnson was planning to return to Saugerties, and would return to practice as soon as he completed the necessary paperwork. Johnson confirmed the news by retweeting Lynch’s tweet.
Johnson amassed 1098 points in two seasons of varsity basketball at SHS, becoming the youngest-ever boys’ basketball player to cross the 1000-point threshold in New York State history. Johnson has already gotten offers from 16 NCAA Division I schools to play point guard when he graduates high school in 2022.
Saugerties coach Mike Tiano could not be reached for comment.
The varsity basketball team dropped its second straight game on Tuesday, falling 64-38 to visiting league opponent Red Hook. The defeat gives the Sawyers a 2-3 record early in the season. The team hopes that a relatively light holiday schedule can help the players recapture their rhythm.
The Sawyers were led in their losing effort against Red Hook by Liam Schoonmaker’s 16-point effort, with Caleb Edwards (8 points) also pitching in. For Red Hook, Branden Cahill (24 points), Jason Davis (16 points) and Chris Yearwood (13 points) all scored in double digits. A full game report was unavailable as of press time.
The loss to Red Hook came four days after another lopsided Sawyer defeat on a road trip to Wallkill. The Sawyers fell 59-44 in spite of a 17-1 third period run that pulled them to within 43-29. Schoonmaker and Dylan Walsh scored a dozen points apiece in the loss, but it was not enough to overcome double-digit nights by the Panthers’ Mat Shea (21 points), Kyle Krebs (11 points) and Brian Cross (10 points).
Saugerties’ last win came on Wednesday, December 5, when the team came away with a 49-46 non-league win against Rhinebeck after Schoonmaker banked a three-pointer with just 1.3 seconds remaining in the game. The contest saw momentum swing wildly in both directions, with the Hawks up 20-16 at the half before the Sawyers went on a 25-5 run after intermission.