The allure of a championship season never dulls. It’s true for the great New York Yankee championship teams of the 90’s and for those of any championship season involving athletes of all ages. Most championship dreams are developed at a young age and consist of that special moment when a trophy is hoisted for being the best at your craft. The same holds true for the coaches and teammates of the 2001 South Colonie Girls’ Varsity Basketball championship winning season. Twenty years ago, they were celebrating their triumphant 2001 New York State Class A championship. This team battled East Islip to become the 2001 New York State Class A championship winner, along with capturing the 2001 New York State Federation Championship by beating New York City-based Murry Bergtraum.
“This special group of athletes had a tremendous amount of team chemistry. They were not only skilled and athletic, but possessed a great deal of intelligence,” said 2001 South Colonie Girls’ Varsity Basketball Coach Ms. Bonitatibus. “They represented our community and our district as both role models and champions. It truly was a magical season.”
Two key components of that team were Michele Karangwa (Blot) and Kim Corbitt. Ms. Karangwa (Blot) led the Lady Raiders basketball team to the 2001 New York State Class A championship and the 2001 New York State Federation Championships. She scored 43 points in the federation game, a record that stood for 20 years. Over her career, the Lady Raiders were 72 and 4 with Karangwa on the floor. She was named McDonald’s All American, Street and Smith All American, All-State first team (2002), a two time Channel 13 All-Star, Suburban Council Player of the year (2002), and Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (2012).
Kim Corbitt, a 2001 graduate of Colonie Central High School, played both tennis and basketball, but is best known for her accomplishments on the basketball court. In 2000 and 2001 she lead the Colonie Girls Basketball team to the Section 2 Championships and to the Class A Regional Championships. In 2001 Corbitt helped lead the Raiders to a New York State Public High School Class A Championship and a New York State Federation Championship. Corbitt received numerous individual awards and recognitions including Section 2 Class A tournament – Most Valuable Player in 2000 and 2001. She also set the school record for most points scored in a single season and had 1,256 points for her career. Corbitt was named the Times Union and Troy Record Player of the Year in 2001. Corbitt received a full scholarship and went on to play her college career at the University of Maine.
“We could not have asked for a more selfless group of players and families,” said 2001 South Colonie Girls’ Varsity Basketball Assistant Coach Ms. Kelley. “This was the cornerstone for everything that we accomplished during that special season. I am humbled to have been a part of the Colonie Lady Raiders program.”
Led and coached by Ms. Bonitatibus. The Lady Raiders accumulated a record of 23-1 before heading into the playoffs for the 2001 New York State Class A championship game. It was here that they competed against highly skilled teams from across New York state, before facing off with East Islip. During the New York State Federation Championships they faced off against some of the state’s top basketball programs before capturing the championship against Murry Bergtraum.
“Coach Bonitatibus and the 2001 championship basketball team elevated the entire athletic program at Colonie,” said South Colonie Athletic Director Mr. Guardino. “Coach Bonitatibus is the gold standard of Colonie coaches and she was the leader of a program we were all trying to emulate at the time.”
The 2001 Lady Raiders multiple championships hold a special place in the South Colonie community. During 2001, our district followed its favorite players as they achieved their dream of becoming champions, while bringing the championship trophies home to the district.
Congratulations to the 2001 South Colonie Girls’ Varsity Basketball champions as we commemorate their championship winning season.