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Local Ballers Hope to Hoop it Up, Hit Hardwood Running
By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directtrays
Basketball takes a back seat only to football when it comes to school spirit and the bravado expressed by student bodies and fans across Section 1, so it should come as no surprise to see our local bleachers packed with frenzied fanatics as fall turns to winter and we hunker down for four months of indoor sports in the days ahead.
Hope springs eternal from as far south as White Plains to as far north as Carmel and all points in between among the slew Examiner-area schools covered in these pages, including CHSAA powerhouse Stepinac to Section 1 title hopefuls like 2022 Class B finalists Briarcliff, Class AA semifinalists Fox Lane, perennial former Class A/now Class B power Byram Hills, plus 2022-23 upstarts like Class A Lakeland, Yorktown, Walter Panas and Somers where the Tuskers and Section 1 will bid adieu to longtime veteran Coach Chris DiCintio in this, his swan song season; a season that features a ton of promise in Northern Westchester.
And for the third time since 2016, DiCintio will be working from behind the eight ball as the Tuskers, many of whom double as football stars, were still at it winning the state tournament; meaning they won’t kick into full hoops mode for a few more weeks.
We’ve got some star power in this neck of the woods, too, including White Plains point forward Menzy Carden, who, at 6’4” and nearly 200 pounds with terrific handles and All-Conference skills, is a matchup nightmare, along with junior teammate Logan McCormick. Speaking of nightmares, try slowing down 6’2” Panas All-Section senior point guard Alex Tavarez, a silky smooth shooter with legit D-I skills, who has a new sidekick in Mount Saint Michael junior transfer Tyler Green, a dead-eye sniper from downtown.
“Me and the team are very excited this year to get back on the court,” Tavarez said. “This group of guys love to be in the gym. Going into senior year, I’m very focused and hungry on winning it all this year and that’s carrying on to the team. Tyler is a really good addition for us. He’s a sniper from three along with Derek Mojica, who is going to be playing a major role for us this year.”
Imagine the battle the Panthers will have with intra-district rival Lakeland, who folks best not sleep on with playmakers like guards All-Conference senior Chris Whyte-Luciano and Anthony Jennings and forwards Logan Shiland, an All-Conference pick, to go with bone-bruising F Andrew Mendel. What we don’t know is if Peekskill has any players to help change the Red Devils’ path back to their former greatness, but they’ve got a new coach in Tyrone Searight – a disciple of Red Devil hoops – who will die trying. Keep an eye out for Hen Hud senior G Dean Hiltsley, who opposing defenders will need to key on.
You want toughness; look no further than Fox Lane where 6’3” senior G Charlie Shevick starts for his third and final campaign with an eye on challenging White Plains for league bragging rights before setting their sights on Class A favorite Poughkeepsie in the postseason. But the Foxes won’t snooze on rival Horace Greeley and senior Justin Potack.
We’ll have our eyes on a trio of backcourt ballers at Yorktown, including juniors Billy Feeks and Justin Price, and remember, they brought up sophomore Kaden Gonzalez last year. They don’t do that unless you can ball out #ExcitingTrio. Throw in a rugged junior transfer from Stepinac named Brandon Montero, and the Huskers could be battling Somers and its All-Section senior F Matt Fitzsimons for league supremacy.
“We’re beyond ready for the season,” said Feeks, who has serious range. “I really think we’re going to make a lot of noise this year and show how much we’ve improved from last year. Not having Eddie (Brucaj) definitely changes things, but it gives us the opportunity to change our style of play and lets us play a much faster game than we played last year.
“Montero can definitely bang,” Feeks added. “He fits in really well with us because me and Justin, and all of the juniors on the team, played with him throughout middle school, so he fits in perfectly with us.”
On the Class C circuit, look no further than Haldane for the top player in the class. Senior swingman, mighty Matteo Cervone – a two-time All-Section choice – is a man on a mission after his Blue Devils were upset by Hamilton in the sectional finals.
Byram Hills provides an electric environment and one can count on junior All-League G Tyson Repa to supply the juice for a Bobcat team that is a long, lean, fighting machine.Repa isn’t the only underclassmen on the rise, though, as Ossining sophomore G Kristian Banwareesingh will ignite the Pride this winter, not to mention Stepinac super soph Danny Carbuccia and junior Boogie Fland, among the top recruits in the nation. You can literally name the Crusaders’ starting five on a watch list, and you can read along below to see what’s what for the 2022-23 hoops season.
Coach: Mike Auerbach. 6th year at Panas. 12th Overall
2021-22 record & playoff result: 16-7 – Lost in Quarterfinals at Tappan Zee 44-41
League favorite: (League II-D Lakeland)
Section favorite: (Tappan Zee, Lakeland, Fox Lane, Poughkeepsie, Pearl River, Somers)
Top returning players: Alex Tavarez, Sr. 6’0″, PG (19.2 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.5rpg, 1st team LHBCA, 4th team all-state, all-section, all-league); Dillon Chenard, Sr. 6’9″, C (5.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.6bpg); Derek Mojica, Sr. 6’2″, G/F (5.0ppg); Jerry Smallwood, Sr. 5’11” G.
Key newcomers: Tyler Greene, Jr. 6’1″ G; Cayden Turner, Jr. 5’10. Jr. G
Team Grunt: Assistant Coach Ryan Dobson
Team strengths: Our team speed and athleticism should be a strength. We’re hoping to play at a fast pace offensively and be able to put some pressure on our opponents defensively. We return 3 starters in Tavarez, Chenard, and Mojica and should be able to rely on their experience on both ends. Our outside shooting has improved from a year ago as well. Most importantly, we have a group that works well together and enjoys being on the court with one another.
What we need to get better at: Winning close games was an issue last year. We were 2-5 in games decided by two baskets or less. Hopefully we can improve upon executing late in close games.
Goals: We think we can compete for a league title and be competitive with the top of Class A, which is always deep and challenging.
Coach’s Comments: We’re really excited about the group we have. It’s a good mix on and off the court and they’ve been working hard as group early on. Returning a player like Tavarez should allow our newcomers some time to adjust to the speed of the varsity game and settle in. Tavarez is closing in on 1000 points. He’s one of the area’s best players and we’ll rely heavily on him to lead the offense. The addition of Tyler Greene will be big for us on both ends of the floor. He’s shown the ability to be impactful as a shooter, playmaker and defender. Dillon Chenard is a mobile, experienced, center for us and anchors the back end of our defense. His size and mobility allows our guards to be aggressive and active on the ball and in the passing lanes. Derek Mojica, a 3 year varsity player was starting for us by the end of last season. He shot the 3 very well for us a year ago and will step into a bigger role this year. We have a handful of depth guys who fit what we want to do on both ends. We think we can go 8 or 9 deep depending on the opponent and maintain the style of play we’re looking for.
Noteworthy: (We open up on 12/6 vs. Gorton…Somers Tournament 12/15 & 12/17…Pelham Tournament 12/27 & 12/28…vs. Byram Hills 1/11…@Tappan Zee 1/23…vs. Suffern 1/25…vs. Kingston 1/27….Giglio Games @ Lakeland 2/4….Tavarez is at 923 points)
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: N/A
Coach: Steve Fallo, 8th year
Last year’s record & playoff result: 13-10, lost in quarterfinals to Lourdes.
Top returning players: Logan Shiland, Sr. F (All-Conference, Capt.); Chris Whyte-Luciano, Sr. G (All-Conference, Capt.); Andrew Mendel, Sr. C, Capt.); Anthony Jennings, Sr. G/F (led team with 18 charges last year, Capt.)
Key newcomers: Grady Leonard, Logan Crilly, John Bartolotta, Ryan Tocci, Sean Perry and Ryan Ahmed; all will all be very important to how far we go in the tournament.
League favorite: Lakeland and Panas should be co-favorites to win our league.
Section favorite: Class A is very competitive and I do not think there is a clear cut favorite.
Coach’s Comments: Our expectations are to compete every night and be ready for the tournament. Our expectations for our seniors are for them to lead by example: Work hard and compete in every practice , make your teammates better and leave it all on the court on game day. This is a very experienced group who has the talent and competitiveness to lead us deep in the section 1 tournament
Notebale: We open with Mahopac on Dec.2 at Lakeland
Coach: Jordan Hirsch, Year 10, Assistant Coaches: Jason Bertoline, PJ Male
2021-22 record & playoff result: 11-10, lost in play-in game to Yorktown
League favorite: Walter Panas
Section favorite: Poughkeepsie
Top returning players: Dean Hiltsley, Sr. 5’8, Guard (all-league, all-conference), Gino Wamack, Jr. 6’2, Guard/Forward (all-league), Michael Gagliardi, Sr. 6’0, Guard, Thomas Popolizio, Sr. 6’0, Guard, Stephen Raguso, Sr. 6’2, Forward, Conor Prokopiak, Jr. 6’0, Forward, Chris Parkes, Jr. 6’0, Guard/Forward, Matt Pena, Sr. 6’8, Center.
Key newcomers: Ryan Olstrom, Sr. 6’2, Forward, Jack Hiltsely, Fr. 5’8, Guard, Jeremy Heady, Jr. 6’3, Forward, Joey Abboud, So. 5’10, Forward, Randy Bencosme, 5’8, Guard, Jr.
Team Grunt: I think you could put a lot of our guys in this category on our team, they are workers.
Team strengths: Chemistry, team speed, toughness
What we need to get better at: Playing faster without being careless.
Goals: Being competitive in every game and putting ourselves in a position to win everytime we play.
Coach’s Comments: Our team is a group of workers. They have brought energy, enthusiasm, and grit to our preseason while doing a great job this fall of committing to sharpening their skill sets. We have a group of experienced players that have built great chemistry over a long tenure playing together through the youth ranks and we’re optimistic that their familiarity with each other and care for each other will show through in the way they play when it counts.
Noteworthy: Opening the season in the Sleepy Hollow Tournament December 2, 3. Home opener December 6 vs Gorton. Gazette Cup with Croton February 4th in Montrose. Currently sitting at 92 wins in nine years, so potential for the 100 program wins in 10 years milestone if we play our cards right.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: Twitter: @HenHudBall and @Coach_Hirsch, Instagram: @henhudball and @coach_jhirsch
Coach: Tyrone Searight: 1st Year Head Coach Last season record: 3-18
Top returning players: Travis Brown, Jaden Chavis and Leon Middletown are some of our key returning players.
Coach’s comments: Peekskill will be looking to play a controlled, uptempo game with a lot of pressure on our opponents. I am looking forward to seeing our students improve and make post season play. I look forward to working with our coaching staff, who have a rich history and pride for Peekskill. I am excited about the season.
Coach: Mark Pavella, 5th year at Yorktown (2 years at Mahopac varsity girls), 7th overall
2021-22 record & playoff result: 11-11 Lost to Tappan Zee in 1st round
League favorite: Everyone in our league will be a tough game.
Section favorite: Class A is so deep as usual. Hard to predict a section favorite right now.
Top returning players: Kaden Gonzalez 10th, G 6’3; Billy Feeks 11th, G 6’0; Tommy Costello 11th, G 5’11; Charlie DeGennaro 12th Captain, G 5’10; Justin Price 11th Captain (All league last year), G 6’2; Antoine Coles 12th, G 6’0; Rocco Conciatori 12th, C 6’4; John Romero 12th, F 6’3
Key newcomers: Brandon Montero 11th, F 6’3; Sean Coney 11th, G 5’8; Joe Granitto 11th, F 6’0; Josh Barton 12th, C 6’3; Troy Diaz 11th, F 6’0; David Gjergji 10th, C 6’4; Nick Gjergji 12th , F
Team strengths: We have a team that works hard in practice, as well as the right attitude so far to start this pre-season. We have multiple guys that have the ability to handle the basketball.
What we need to get better at: We will continue to work hard in practice on the defensive end.
Goals: Take one day at a time, and compete each day, if we do that we will give ourselves a chance to win games.
Noteworthy: Season opener at Greeley on 12/6
Coach: Chris DiCintio, 11th season at Somers. Coached 11 seasons at Rye (overall record 244-196)
2021-22 Record: Overall 12-10, 1-1 in the playoffs (eat Clarkstown North, lost to Byram Hills)
League favorite: Should be a competitive league between Somers, John Jay and Yorktown since getting their transfer from Stepinac back.
Section favorite: Poughkeepsie, Tappan Zee, Somers and Panas
Top returning players: Matt Fitzsimons, Sr., 6-5 SF,
All Section, Led team in scoring every year since freshman year; Dylan Ingraham, Sr., 6-3 PG, Three year varsity starter; Andrew Violante, Jr., 6-0 SG; Nate Cohen, Jr., 6-0 SG; Brady Leitner, Jr., 5-9 PG; Mac Sullivan, Jr., 6-4 C
Key newcomers: Dan O’Brien, Sr., 6-0 SF; Jack Repp, Sr., 6-0 SG
Team Leader: Dylan Ingraham
Team MVP: Matt Fitzsimons
Team Grunt: Brady Leitner and Nate Cohen
Team Sleeper: Andrew Violante
Team strengths: The team has six returning players that played the majority of minutes last year. They are athletic, tough and talented with good chemistry
What we need to get better at: With half of the team returning to the state football championship, acclimating the boys in a short period of time will be tough. In addition, they will have to get their basketball legs underneath them which may take some time. Last year Somers found itself in the same situation and started out 0 & 6 before turning it around and winning 8 straight. Hopefully last year’s experience will enable the veterans to acclimate quicker than last season. We shall see!
Goals: Capture its first league title since 1989 and its first sectional title since 1992.
Coach’s Comments: If there’s any coach in the section that is more than ready for the challenge of starting late, it would have to be Chris DiCintio. In his 22 seasons as a head varsity coach between Rye HS and Somers HS, the football teams have won 12 sectional titles and made it to the state finals 6 times! During which time his teams won 133 games and had a winning percentage of nearly 60%.
Noteworthy: The Tuskers pushed the start of their schedule back and they will open up in their holiday tournament on Friday, December 16th at 6:15PM at Somers HS. Phenom All State quarterback, Matt Fitzsimons, will switch gears from the gridiron in the Carrier Dome as he sets his sights on reaching his 1,000 career point this season.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @Somersboyshoops
Coach: Michael Nicastro (1st year as Head Coach); Jason Weltman (Asst. Coach); Jonathan Palmieri (Asst. Coach)
2021-22 record & playoff result: 4-16 (Playoffs n/a)
League favorite: Yorktown
Section favorite: Lakeland
Top returning players: Conner Griffin (SR) 6’5 225 lbs (2022 All-League); Steve Switzer (SR) 6’0 185 lbs; Matthew Thompson (JR) 6’4 210 lbs; William Dignan (SO) 5’10 170 lbs
Key newcomers: Lucas Cabiati (JR) 5’8 PG/SG
Team Grunt: Conner Griffin/Steve Switzer
Team strengths: Toughness, Determination, Shooting, Post Offense
What we need to get better at: Toughness, Consistency, Taking Charges
Goals: Win our league
Coach’s Comments: With three returning starters, Brewster is looking to make a name for itself this year.
Noteworthy: Season Opener – Home v. RCK (12/6); Mahopac Tournament – (12/28 & 12/29)
Coach: Matt Calabro (3-year varsity assistant Mahopac, first season as head coach. Previously head coach at Morris HS in the PSAL for 10 years)
2021-22 record & playoff result: 15-4 record – lost to Lakeland in the first round of sectionals
League favorite: Poughkeepsie
Section favorite: Lakeland
Top returning players: Joey Koch, Sr, 5’11, G, Jake Couzens, Sr, 5’10, G, Liam Dodd, Sr, 6’4, C
Key newcomers: Danny Koch, Jr, 5’11, G- Liam Scanlon, Jr, 6’3, F- John Kearney, 6’1, Jr, G/F- Connor Ferreiri, Jr, 5’10, G- Jalen Jones, 6’4, Jr, F
Team strengths: Playing together
What we need to get better at: Need to become tougher and more focused everyday
Goals: Get better everyday
Coach’s Comments: We have a good group of guys and we are excited for the upcoming season.
Noteworthy: Season opener @ Lakeland 12/2. Hosting holiday tournament at Mahopac (12/18 + 12/29), hosting Carmel to open the tourney on 12/28
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @MahopacHoops
Coach: Mike Tomassi, 9th year
2021-22 record & playoff result: 17-6 , lost in Section One Class AA semis
League favorite: White Plains
Section favorite: Poughkeepsie
Top returning players: Charlie Shevick 6’3 Sr. Guard – 3-year starter; Chris Redhead 6′ 3 Sr. Guard; Matt Toscano 5 ’10 Sr. Guard; Niko Dent 6’4” Sr. Forward; Kevin New 6’2 Jr. Guard; Conrad Hardie 6’2 Sr. Wing
Key newcomers: Arthur Shevick 6’1 Freshmen Guard; James Minotti 6’2 Jr. Forward: Logan Mammola 6’2 So. Forward: Eli Daglio 6’2 So. Guard
Team Grunt: Charlie Hoyt, James Minotti, VJ Bomba
Team strengths: Ball movement, shooting and team defense
What we need to get better at: Transition offense and trusting each other
Goals: League Championship and Top 4 Seed
Coach’s Comments: Foxes are hoping to build on two successful seasons with a deep and experienced roster. We have some holes and leadership to fill from last year’s 17-6 team, but as a coaching staff we have been pleased with the development of each player. We need to continue to develop daily and trust the process of being consistent each day to make a deep playoff run.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @foxlanebasketball
Coach: Spencer Mayfield
Returning players: White Plains returns eight players from last season. And will be keyed by All-Conference 19.0 points per game 6-3 Sr. Menzy Carden and Jr. 6-5 All-League F Logan McCormick 9.9 points per game. A healthy 6-0 jr Miles Johnson returns after missing the majority of the season last year due to injury and continued improvement by combo guard 5-11 jr. Jake Labrosciano give the Tigers good guard play. Returning Juniors 6-1 Luke Brooks and 6-3 Daniel Herzner will be counted on for major contributions both offensive and defensively. The steady play of seniors 6-2 Malik Dawson and captain 6-3 Liam Johsonson will be crucial to our success.
Key Newcomers: juniors 6-0 Anthony Crilley, 5-11 Travon DuBois, 6-4 Brendan Locke, seniors 6-4 Ethan Senkyrie and 5-11 Evan Elliott will provide quality depth and make strong contributions.
Goals: White Plains is looking to contend in the league and be improved for section playoffs and make a run.
Noteworthy: Team is looking forward to hosting the 28th Harry Jefferson Showcase December 9th; playing in the Harrison Tournament December 15th and 17th; will travel to Charleston South Carolina and play in the Carolina Invitational Tournament December 28-30th.
Coach: Mike Casey (8th season)
2021-22 record & playoff results: 13-7 (lost first round to Scarsdale)
League favorite: Up for grabs
Top returning players: AJ Caparelli, Sr. 5’11, G, Kristian Banwareesingh, So. 6’3, G,
Isaiah Ahlers, Jr. 6’3, F, Dominique Bautista, Sr. 6’4 Jaiden Newton, Jr. 6’2 G, Isaiah
Haye, Sr. 5’8 G, Sully Shyllon, Jr. 5’9 G, Gavin Thomas-Walters, Jr. 6’0 F Darien
Blalock, Sr. 6’3 F
Key newcomers: Acalan Fauntleroy So. 6’7 C, Donte Williams, So. 5’8, G, Sebastian
DaCosta, Jr. 5’8, G, Franklin Santos, Jr. 5’10, G
Team Grunt: AJ Caparelli & Isaiah Ahlers
Team strengths: Length, athleticism, sharing the ball.
Goals: To reach our full potential while taking advantage of every opportunity.
Coach’s Comments: The coaching staff is excited for this season and what it has in
store for this team. We have a good mix of veterans with some young talent. If the two
can blend then we should have a successful season.
Noteworthy: We have our season opener 12/2 vs Nyack in the Howard Godwin (Sleepy
Hollow) Tournament. On 12/15 we will play in the Michael DiPaoli tournament
(Somers) against Walter Panas and Somers, which will be two great match ups for the
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @CoachCaseyOHS
Coach – Matt Simone, Asst. Coach – Mike McDonnell
Top Returning Players: Justin Potack (Sr), Ben Cohen (Sr), Jesse Goldfarb (Sr), Ethan Golub (Sr), Dom Larizza (Sr), Brandon Fitzsimmons (Jr), Noah Smith (Jr), Nick Tasso (Jr), Filip Vujanic (Jr)
Key Newcomers: David Loew (Sr), Benji Ricardo (Jr), Aiden Dunleavy (Jr), Chris Percora (Jr), Zach Boyriven (So)
Need to work on: Inside strength and interior defense is our biggest issue, but we hope to be a tough and scrappy defensive team.
Coach’s Comments: We return nine players this year so are hoping to be more competitive than the previous year. Offensively, we will look for many people to step up as we hope to have a balanced scoring attack alongside Justin Potack. We have a very deep team of guards who can come in off the bench and make an immediate impact, so that constant competition for playing time within our team should strengthen our overall competitiveness each practice/game. The addition of Coach Mike McDonnell has brought a ton of knowledge and experience to our program.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @GreeleyHoops
Coach: Ted Repa (21st year)
2021-22 record & playoff result:17-6 (Lost in Class A Semi’s to Poughkeepsie)
Top returning players: Sean Siegel 6’4” Sr Forward – 6ppg; Luke Berliner 6’5” Sr Forward; Tyson Repa, 6’4” Jr Guard (11ppg, 2022 All-League); Zac Efobi 6’4” Soph Center
Team strengths: Size, Versatility
What we need to get better at: Experience playing together, improving basketball IQ. Handling adversity.
Goals: Gold Ball
Coach’s Comments: This is a very tall, athletic team that has high expectations. Moving to
Class B for the first time in over 20 years will provide a new challenge, however, most
crossovers we have are still the top Class A teams. So, there may be some bumps in the road,
and how we handle that together will go a long way towards determining whether we can
achieve our goals. Our biggest losses from last year’s team are leadership and basketball IQ.
How we fill those voids will be crucial.
Noteworthy: Briarcliff Tournament 12/8-12/10, Bronxville Tournament 12/16-17,
notable Class A games: TZ, Panas
Coach: Nick Friedman, 5th year as head coach, 10th year overall
2021-22 record & playoff result: 14-7, lost in sectional final
League favorite: Valhalla
Section favorite: Valhalla or Byram
Top returning players: Jason Rosenbaum 6’0 Senior Guard; Cooper Plank 6’2 Senior Forward
Key newcomers: Luke Lawler 6’1 So. Guard; Xavier Prekelezaj 6’2 So. Forward; Luke Murray 6’0 So. Guard; Ian Miller 6’0 Sr. Guard; Chris D’onofrio 6’1 Jr Forward; Alex Vaream 5’10 SR Guard
Team Grunt: Gavin Panitz Sr. Forward 6’0
Team strengths: Defense, shooting
What we need to get better at: Rebounding
Goals: Be playing our best mid February.
Coach’s Comments: I can’t keep these kids out of the gym . They are a pleasure to coach and I can’t wait to see how they grow. Our schedule is brutal. That’s how we like it.
Noteworthy: open up at Fox Lane 12/6, at Mekeel Christian 12/17
Coach: Rich Clinchy, 6th year at Valhalla, 69-31 record, 22nd high school season.
2021-22 record & playoff result: 13-8, lost 70-69 to Briarcliff in quarterfinal.
League favorite: Rye Neck
Sectional favorite: Byram Hills.
Top returning players: Chris Purchia 6-1 senior forward; Basiaka Butcher 6-1 senior forward; Devan Cooper 5-10 guard; Mikaele Marinez, 6-4 junior forward; Julian Amorosa 5-8 junior guard; Anthony Naclerio 6-2 junior forward; Matt Langlois 6-1 junior guard
Key Newcomers: Antonis Palongous, 6-0 junior guard transfer from Stepinac; Rob Foisett, 5-9 junior guard; Brendan O’Neil 5-10 junior guard; Amari Powell 6-1 junior forward; Emmanuel Aruajo 5-10 junior guard; Michael Girdauskas, 5-8 senior guard
Team Grunt: Purchia
Strengths: We have some speed, not much height.
Need to get better: “playing as one.” Cohesion is crucial for this team. The whole must be greater than the parts.
Coach’s Comment: We came out of the fall sports season with a slew of injuries. We won’t see our entire team until January, and only then we will have a better idea of our potential. Every game in our league is tough, and every out of league game is a big game. It’s the toughest schedule we have had in my time at Valhalla. Hopefully, we will be prepared for what comes our way as the season progresses.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: @VikingHoops
Coach: Joe Virgadamo 17th season (183-149)
2021-2022 record: 19-3, league champs, lost in the Class C sectional championship
League favorite: Haldane, we look to be the League III-E champs for the 5th year in a row.
Sectional favorite: Tuckahoe, Hamilton, Haldane but can’t overlook a tough Lefell.
Top Returning Players: Matteo Cervone, Sr., 6’4, G (‘22 All Section), Will Bradley, Sr., 6’1 G, Ben Bozsik, Sr. 6’, G, Matt Nachamkin, JR. 6’5, G, Ryan Eng-Wong, Sr. 5’10, G, Julian Ambrose, Sr. 6’2, G, Jesse Hagen, Sr., 5’10, F.
Key Newcomers: Evan Giachinta, Jr. 6’3, F, Nate Stickle, So. 6’2, F, Michael Murray, Jr., 6’2, G., Ryan Van Tassel Jr. 6’1, G, P.J. Ruggiero, Jr., 5’10, G, Jr. 6’1, Thomas Rockett, Sr., 5’10, G., John Bastys, Jr. 6’2, F.,
Team Grunt: Outwork our opponents and find the open guy.
What we need to get better at: Communication.
Goals: Get better everyday and play in the Class C Sectional Championship
Noteworthy: Competitive Schedule and the Battle of the Tunnel game vs. Beacon is on Friday, 1/27 @ Haldane. The Blue Devils opened the season with a 71-38 win over Marlboro behind Cervone (19 points), Murray (10), Nachamkin, Bozsik and Bradley (9 each).
Coach: Al Morales, 4th season at PV and 20th in total.
2021-22 record & playoff result: 9-11, won opening round at Westlake, lost in a close second round game to eventual champ Bronxville
2022-23 League favorite: Haldane
2022-23 Section favorite: Not sure as there are a couple of very good schools.
Top returning players: Sean Holzman, Sr. 6’5, Forward, James Apostolico, So. 6’0, SG, Hudson Sperrazza, Sr. 6’3 Forward, John Cekaj, Sr. 6’2 Forward.
Key newcomers: Leland Petrash, Sr. 6’0 Guard, Connor Flynn, 6’4 Center, Jack Moriarty, Jr. 5’11 PG, Ryan Moriarty, 6’0 Guard, Sal Calicchio, Jr. 5’11 Guard.
Team strengths: They all get along and are eager to work and do well.
What we need to get better at: Our man-to-man defense
Goals: Compete for league champs
Coach’s Comments: We are coming off a great season and have lost some key players, but with the experience and leadership of the returning players, we hope to get batter and compete for our league.
Noteworthy: We open-up this Thursday the 1st of December against Kennedy Catholic in the Eastchester Tournament.
Sports media Twitter/IG acct: IG @ambc2llc, Twitter –@AMBC2LLC
Coach: Patrick Massaroni – Year 8
2021-2022 record & playoff result: – 26-4, Lost in Catholic ‘AA’ State Championship
2022-2023 favorite – 3-way race between Christ the King, Cardinal Hayes and Stepinac
Top Returning Players: Jr. G – Boogie Fland; So, Guard – Danny Carbuccia; Sr, Forward – Ben Lyttle; Jr, Guard – Braylan Ritvo
Key Newcomers: Jordan Gabriel; Jr, Forward, Dylan Perry: Fr, Guard
Team Grunt – Senior Ben Lyttle & Junior Asher Cort
Strengths and Improvements: The team went 26-4 last year losing in the CHSAA ‘AA’ City Championship game to Cardinal Hayes. While graduating 6 seniors and 3 starters, the team returns 8 players and 2 starters. The team is led by Guards, Junior Boogie Fland and Sophomore Danny Carbuccia in the backcourt with Senior Ben Lyttle and Junior Braylan Rtivo with an addition of Junior transfer 6’8 Jordan Gabriel. Team returns Senior Cole Decker and Juniors Aamyr Sullivan, Howard Eisley Jr and Jahi Gary off the bench. The team will play a National Non League Schedule including St. Frances of Maryland at home, at the prestigious City of Palms in Florida, Top 5 ranked Paul VI (VA) in Delaware and Simeon (IL) at the Hall of Fame – this in addition to a challenging 17 ‘AA’ CHSAA schedule. A dynamic backcourt and depth of guard play will be the strength of the team and its ability to guard on the defensive end. Weakness is the team not being as tall up front as in years past and only having 2 seniors on the roster.
Goals: CHSAA AA City & State Championship
Coaches Comments: The staff and I are excited for the 2022-2023 season. We return eight guys from a team that lost in the state catholic championship. The team will need to play unselfish at all times, especially playing one of the toughest schedules in the country.
KENNEDY CATHOLIC PREP
Coach: James Loughran, 1st Year Head Coach
2021-22 record & playoff result: 9-11, Lost in Semi Finals vs Cathedral Prep 64-61
League favorite: Class B, Cristo Rey
Section favorite: Cristo Rey / St Johns Prep / Cathedral Prep
Top returning players: Justin Smith, Sr. (G), Nick Calandros, Sr. (G), Ciaran O’Gara, Sr. (C), Luis Garcia, Sr. (G), James Arefieg, Jr. (G), Ryan McInerney, Jr. (F),
Key newcomers: Sebastian Jackson, Fr. (G), Max Abrahams, So. (G), Michael Cunningham,
So. (F), Aidan Hall, Jr. (F), Luke Stephen, Jr. (G), Reilly Tuck, Jr. (G), Ralph Bonavita, Jr. (G). Israel Centeno-Johnson, Jr. (G), Julien Karteron, Sr. (G).
Team Grunt: Ryan McInerney, the man who takes the most charges in practice!
Team strengths: Our size in our league can be able to contest with a bunch of programs, as well as our returners at the guard spots are what is going to give us opportunities night in and night out. While we have some depth to our bench, it will give us the opportunity to show different looks at times.
What we need to get better at: Our game experiences. We are behind on live game experience, will take some time to adjust to this level for some of our guys at some key spots. Will take time to develop but they are committed week in and week out.
Goals/ Comments: Compete. That’s the expectation. We have about one, maybe two kids who played meaningful varsity minutes last season here at Kennedy. We have a freshman and two sophomores in our starting lineup, all in which this is their first campaign at the varsity level. Though ‘experience’ and ‘youth’ to me, is an excuse. The job is to get these guys to compete as hard as we can. Our motto has been ‘1%-plus’, if week in week out, day in day out, we can get to that 1%-plus of positive progress together, these guys will be alright. We scheduled a tough schedule, and our league is a tough league. It won’t be easy, but I am never one
to ‘hide’ from competition and that’s what I want these kids, especially our younger guys coming up in this program, to get used to seeing. We keep reminding them, there will be times we may go through some failure, but how we respond in those times are just as important as how we respond to the success.
Noteworthy: Eastchester Tournament this upcoming week, December 1 st and December 3 rd , as our first league game begins December 11 th at Moore Catholic.
Sports Media: Twitter: @KennedyHoops_; Instagram: @kennedycatholicprep_hoops
Efforts were made to contact every school in the Examiner region, some did not respond before deadline