Section 1 Drawing Ire of Some in Basketball Community
In my best Dave Johnson (Google him): And down the stretch they come!
Post-season seeds and league titles are about to be locked down as Section 1 hoops braces for a post-season tournament under fire due to the alleged inadequacies surrounding those at the tippy top of the food chain.
If you ask around the section (coaches and administrators), they’ll tell you it’s almost as if the outgoing Section 1 administration is purposely shafting the very folk it is supposed to be serving.
After last year’s ongoing County Center debacle, local fans, players and coaches were hoping for a better shake in 2019, according to Saunders Coach and Section 1 hoops advocate, Anthony Nicodemo, who claimed Section 1 failed its coaches and student-athletes alike with this year’s thoughtless sectional schedule.
“Teams playing out-bracket games on Saturday afternoon won’t know their opponent until late Friday,” Nicodemo said. “Coaches prepare all year for this, and in playoffs, we’re given no time to prepare for our opponent. They took no feedback from coaches on this. The last few years, classes played on separate days so fans could watch more games. This year, all classes play on the same days. With the salaries these decision makers “earn”, you would hope they’d put some thought into the process.”
As a result, top-flight referees will also be caught in the crosshairs, as it will be difficult to find top-notch pairings with so many games being contested on the same day. Likewise, local media types will find it difficult to pick and choose which games to cover.
Section 1 also refused to alter schedule of the boys’ and girls’ semis, so a school district like say, Putnam Valley, which hopes to have both programs reach the Final 4 at the County Center, will now play on different days at County Center; in stark contrast from previous years when Section 1 tried to accommodate schools with a back-to-back, same-day schedule that led to a packed house and an incredible County Center atmosphere.
It just doesn’t seem to be well thought-out, but the best part is: It’s nearly impossible to wreck a product this good, though Section 1 is going to die trying…
On the Hardwood: The game of the week came out of the Valley where state-ranked (No.7) Class B PUTNAM VALLEY trailed Class A Albertus Magnus for nearly the entire game, but All-Section senior F Darnel Shillingford, now in his fourth season on the varsity, hit three clutch free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining to lift the Tigers to a 46-45 victory, PV’s 12th straight win. Shillingford, just the second 1,000-point scorer in program history, finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds. PV senior G Ryan Soto finished with eight huge points, including the crucial 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 45-43 points with 23.3 seconds remaining. Senior swingman Brandon Guerra added seven points and five rebounds on a night when All-Section senior F TJ Brescia (high ankle sprain) did not play.
PV Coach Mike McDonnell, who won his 100th game as Tigers coach in a 53-31 win over North Salem Friday, said the team is hopeful that Brescia can return to full health for sectionals. In Coach McDonnell’s six years at PV, he’s compiled a 100-31 record with four Final 4’s, two finals appearances and a fifth league title. The #GoldBall is all he’s missing, and the Tigers (16-3) are looking like the No.1 or 2 seed going in…
SOMERS, through its defense, can turn the game on a dime; just ask LAKELAND, which suffered a 65-55 loss last Friday. When All-Section Tusker Lucas Fecci and teammate Andrew Lasher ratchet up the defensive intensity, it leads to runs in transition that can flat-out bury teams. Fecci, among the toughest buggers around pound-for-pound, scored 25 points, and set up numerous other baskets off steals in one of the more impressive showings this season; this, from a soccer All-American. In Somers 56-41 win over Panas, senior wing Nick Maestri had 13 points while Fecci and F Charlie Weissman added 12 points apiece for Somers. Big Jason Keefe led Panas with 10 points…
Not gonna lie to you: Putting this poll together with so many sub-.500 teams in the region is no easy chore, but I do it for y’all…
NWE/Putnam County Super 7 Hoops Poll
No.1 PUTNAM VALLEY – Coach McDonnell’s Class B state-ranked (No.7) Tigers (16-3, 3-0) are the only legit #GoldBall contenders we see among the clubs in the Northern Westchester/Putnam County region, though they didn’t look the part in a 47-41 loss to Class AA Carmel.
No.1A SOMERS – Coach DiCintio’s Class A Tuskers (15-4, 8-3), despite a likely No.6 seed, will likely have to go through the out-bracket route to crack the field of 16, since well over 25 teams have cracked the cupcake qualifying system. One of the top 4 seeds – either TZ, Poughkeepsie, Greeley or Byram – are going to see Somers in the quarters and none will want to go that route against this defense.
No.3 MAHOPAC – Coach Simone’s Class AA Indians (12-8, 7-1) were hoping to get a little help today (weather permitting) from neighboring rival Carmel, who, with a win over Arlington, would hand the League I-A title to Mahopac. Otherwise, the Indians and Admirals would share with 7-1 marks. Ironically, the Indians showed the Rams little love in Saturday’s 62-42 romp. All-Section Indian F Rheal Allen, the League I-A MVP, and G Matt McMahon each dropped 13 while G Mike Argila led all scorers with 16.
No.4 PEEKSKILL – Coach Turner’s Red Devils (8-10, 4-4) have a serious pulse after winning its fifth straight, 73-67, over host Beacon off an 8-1 run to take a 69-67 lead with 1:07 remaining. Peekskill also whooped Lourdes, 67-44, behind senior G Shion Darby’s 35 points and sophomore Brennan Heaven, who went for a career-high 17. The win streak came to an end in a 55-46 loss to state-ranked (No.9) Poughkeepsie, but Red Devils (8-10) are a club nobody wants to see in the opening round
No.5 LAKELAND – Coach Fallo’s Class A Hornets (9-9, 4-6) strike me as a team that is still a year away from making major gains and their current No.15 seed will almost surely spell first-round elimination against one of the four heavy hitters, provided they can master the out-bracket round. Junior wing Jack Kruse dropped 22 in the loss to Somers and looked like a straight shooter doing so.
No.6 PANAS – Coach Auerbach’s Class A Panthers (5-14, 4-7) get the nod over Brewster and Yorktown based on their far superior League I-C record and the combined 3-1 record against the Bears and Huskers.
No.7 YORKTOWN – Coach Pavella’s Huskers (6-12, 2-8) beat Brewster head-to-head and they will get another crack on Wednesday in the regular-season finale, so even though the Bears have consecutive wins over Carmel and the Huskers have suffered three-straight setbacks, we gotta give the Huskers the nod at No.7 over the Bears. Senior F Joe Scobbo gets a well-deserved All-Conference nod.
HM BREWSTER – Coach Nelligan’s Class A Bears (6-12, 2-8) beat Class AA Carmel twice this week when Pat Nevin had 16 points and Cameron and Kobey Hart added 13 points apiece in their 69-50 romp of the Rams, and again 49-47 on senior night when senior Will Peterman scored 13 points. Sophomore Kobey Hart and senior Harry Dignan had 11 each but the deal wasn’t sealed until Nevin (9 points) hit the go ahead 3 with 15 seconds left.
HM CARMEL – We were all set to place Coach Brennan’s Class AA Rams (5-12, 0-6) at No.6 or No.7 after they upset Put Valley, 47-41, last Thursday, but then they also lost 5 of the last 6, lost twice to Brewster and got steamrolled by Mahopac during a very busy week, so you tell me how we could justify such a move. This is a wildly inconsistent Carmel team that has now beat both Put Valley and Somers – No.1 and No.1A in this poll, yet its lost to the likes of two-win John Jay EF and Brewster (2X). Still, we wouldn’t be shocked to see the athletic Rams, a likely No.13-ish, seed, make life hell for a No.4-ish opponent in the opening round.
HM CROTON – Coach Martucci’s Class B Tigers (12-7, 4-3) have suffered losses in three of the last four, including a 42-41 setback to Hen Hud, so we’re a tad sour on Croton’s chances to make any kind of run in Class B, given their current No.11 seed, lack of success against clubs like Briarcliff and Valhalla and the dearth of quality wins.
HM HALDANE – Coach Virgadamo’s Class C Blue Devils’ (14-5, 3-1) 56-47 win over Westlake helps to make one forget about the loss to Pawling the previous week, but geez, that’s still a head-scratching setback for a club with Class C title aspirations… looks like that road will run through Hamilton, though Tuckahoe will have some say in that. Blue Devil F Matt Champlin was named All-Conference.