Coaches Named For 2023 Senior Classic.
By Ed Weaver / Circle W Sports for the Wellsville Sun
The head coaches have been chosen for this year’s Big 30 Senior Classic on March 26 at Portville High School.
Coaching for New York are Jim Insley (boys) and Jean Bantelman (girls). For Pennsylvnaia, Don Sestina will lead the boys and John Hepfer will be the girls’ skipper.
In 20 years of coaching basketball, Coach Insley accumulated a 328-116 record, spending five years at Canaseraga Central, 14 years at his alma mater Wellsville, and one year at Pioneer.
Coach Insley has won three Section V championships and made one appearance in the New York state semi-finals.
He has been named Section V Coach of the Year four times, Spectator Great 8 Coach of the Year twice, and Big 30 Coach of the Year. He has coached in the Ronald McDonald All-Star Game three times, and has also been named the Ronald McDonald House Sports Citizen of the Year.
Coach Insley currently lives in Lime Lake with his wife, Karen. Coach Insley and his wife have four children and amazing granddaughter, Eleanor.
Coach Bantelman played for Portville in the 1980’s, taking her team to the State Championship game in her senior year. She then went on to play for then Division II Nazareth College on a basketball scholarship.
Coach Bantelman came back to teach and coach at Portville starting out as a JV coach for several years, then coaching the Varsity for five years. Her teams had a record of 76-31 over those five years, winning 3 Expressway Conference championships in 5 years and playing in the Sectional Championship game three times. Her team finally won a Section 6 championship in 2006, making it to the State tournament, where the eventually lost in the Regional Crossover game to Section 5 Champions.
Three of her daughters played for her while at Portville, two of them on her Sectional Championship team. She currently resides in Portville, NY where she teaches special education at Portville High School.
Coach Sestina’s illustrious career spans 19 years and four schools. Coach Sestina began his coaching journey as an assistant coach at Western Albemarle High School in Virginia from 1983 until 1990. In 1992 he took over as the head boys varsity coach at Oswayo Valley for two years. From 1995-1998 Coach Sestina was the head coach at Smethport before taking over at Cameron County in 1998.
While the skipper at Cameron County for four years, Coach Sestina won the school’s first North Tier League championship in 21 years and was named Coach of the Year in the 1998-99 season. His team broke local, regional, and state records in points per game, and was second in the state in points per game (88.5) behind 4A New Castle (89.0). Cameron County finished ranked 8th in the state and Coach Sestina and Cameron County were named Big 30 Team of the Year.
Coach Sestina was invited to coach the Keystone State All-Star Basketball Team three years in a row, was invited to coach at the Born2Run Invitational Clinic and the Born2Run All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, representing Cameron County. He also worked clinics at Juniata College in July 2001 and 2002, at Thaddeus Stevens Institute in June 2002, and coached the Born2Run Invitational Clinic at Kiski Prep in June 2002.
Don retired from teaching after 37 years and currently resides in Emporium, PA with his wife Rachelle.
Coach Hepfer began his coaching career at Otto-Eldred in 1993 as the assistant coach to the late Randy Stebbins, serving in this role and as the Junior Varsity coach for 10 years. Coach Hepfer then filled the Varsity Head Coach position at Otto-Eldred for the next 8 years. Over that 8 year span at Otto-Eldred he was 128-64 and his 2009-10 team advanced to the first round of the state playoffs.
Coach Hepfer lives in Duke Center, PA with his wife, Cyndie for 66 years. Coach Hepfer has been happily enjoying retirement and following his seven grandchildren in all their sporting endeavors.
This year’s contest will take place on March 26 at Portville High School starting at 2:00 p.m. Last year the Pennsylvania boys won 109-96 and the New York girls won, 64-35.