Boys Hoops Notebook

We are part of The Trust Project

Class B Put Valley, Class A Somers Perform Under Pressure

I mean, where do we start? The Section 1 boys’ hoops season has been anything but uneventful. A seemingly wide-open Class A scenario currently led by Saunders (8-3) and upstart Rye (12-0), anybody’s guess in Class B, a Class C title that appears up for grabs, the off-court County Center debacle and subsequent lawsuit levied at Section 1’s Executive Committee, oh, and, another ho-hum run for the Class AA roses by state-ranked (No.1) Mount Vernon.

Section 1 hoops is a great beat to cover every year, but we’ve got us some significant juice this year: A never-a-dull-moment season that just might end up having a less-than-stellar Final 4 venue on account of the aforementioned County Center catastrophe and the many scattered neutral semifinal sites becoming a real possibility. With no solution at hand, the situation has turned into a dire pissing match with the helpless student athletes of Section 1 shamefully feeling the pinch. There, I said it!

Moving on: A couple of Class B giants got after it last Friday night in North Salem where the host Tigers squandered a seven-point halftime lead in a 54-48 loss to PUTNAM VALLEY, which is seeking its fourth Final 4 appearance in five years and had the look of a team hell-bent on doing so.

PV doesn’t start a single senior, so expectations are what they are, but the Tigers played their best quarter of the season in the fourth last Friday, having junior forwards Darnel Shillingford (25 points, 9 of 11 from the line in the fourth) and TJ Brescia (17 points) at their best. The duo teamed up to limit 6’6” North Salem, power forward Kendrick Tchoua to 16 points, all in the second half.

Additionally, Put Valley got six big points from junior G Austin Fabiano, who gave the Tigers (9-3) their first lead of the night (50-48) after a corner three-ball late in the fourth.

“We got what we expect to get from Darnel and TJ, but role players like Austin Fabiano really stepped up tonight,” fourth-year Put Valley Coach Mike McDonnell said. “It was truly a team effort: Tough perimeter defense by Fabiano, (Ryan) Soto and (Brandon) Guerra. Charlie Gatewood’s gutsy play off the bench, taking a late charge, was key. It was Shillingford’s best two- way performance of the season: 25 points, clutch late free throws and holding their center down. TJ Brescia, aka the sheriff, as always delivered.”

The Tigers, in general, delivered late. In a tale of two halves, PV had just 26 points after three quarters, contributing to a nine-point deficit after three quarters. Then, out of nowhere, the Tigers scored 28 in the fourth quarter, storming to the finish line, including an array of low-post moves from Brescia that truly impressed and some savvy play from Shillingford, who outplayed Tchoua down the stretch.

“We came in here having never played against him, but we studied him,” Shillingford said of the North Salem transfer. “We just wanted to outwork him. Going into it, me and TJ just said let’s outwork him. We knew our defense had been fine in the first half, having held them to 22, so we knew if we just kept the defense up the offense would come off of that.”

And should they take that mentality into the stretch run, the Tigers will be a major player in Class B. CROTON-HARMON (4-5) hopes to get it going as well after defeating Hawthorne Cedar Knolls and getting worked by Briarcliff last week…


SOMERS Coach Chris DiCintio is an honest cat. He’s not one of those coaches who falsely tells writers, “I don’t read what you guys say.”

“Get those power rankings turned around, brother” DiCintio said after his Tuskers pounded host WALTER PANAS last Tuesday to the tune 59-42, and previously-ranked No.1 HEN HUD suffered a 53-47 loss to John Jay CR.

And while John Jay CR (6-5) is better than they are given credit for this season, and the Sailors (7-2) remain a strong Class A club, DiCintio hit the nail on the head, so there’s a new sheriff atop the NWE/Putnam Super 7 Poll this week, and it’s got the look of an elephant and could for quite some time should Somers finish out strong.

The Tuskers (7-3) followed up the Panas win with a decisive 63-45 win over BREWSTER (4-5) on Thursday. Somers hotshot Lorenzo Bicknese dropped a game-high 24, including five field goals from downtown, while flashy G Gio Tradito went for 12. Kevin Halper (11 points) put the game away with three 3’s in the fourth, and my man Jack Gilroy (10) provided four double-digits scorers for the Tuskers. The Bears were led by Kevin Stefanick’s 17. Most impressively, Somers, which identifies with defense, limited Brewster sniper Harrison Dignan to just two points.

Somers also defeated South Bronx, 84-59, in the Scarsdale tourney consolation behind Bicknese (21 points) and Gilroy (16).

When the Tuskers lost to state-ranked (No.13) Class AA Pine Bush a few weeks back, they could have shown a glass jaw, but they rallied to win six of the last seven and remain firmly affixed within the Class A Final 4 contenders. Somers will put that notion to the test this coming Saturday when they take on state-ranked (No.19) Class A Saunders in the “Pride on the Court” Challenge at Sarah Lawrence College.

Hen Hud bounced back strong from the Jay setback with a 66-59 win over Class B Valhalla behind 19 points from F Kyle James and 14 from G Dylan Fraser. Mekhi Gray and Austin Fraser each chipped in with nine for the Sailors, who defeated OSSINING, 50-45, on Saturday. Fraser (12), Gray (14) and James (11) led the Sailors while Zahir Hernandez (15) and Jacob Toppin (10) led the Pride.


In a 49-47 loss to John Jay EF, MAHOPAC’s Justin Parker went for14 points, but the real story was the play of F Reahl Allen, who jumped off the bench with a promising 13-point/15-rebound effort. It wasn’t all bad for Mahopac, which posted a 55-46 win over Ramapo earlier in the week when F Ryan Dugan had 14 points to lead Mahopac, which improved to 5-4 after a 58-40 win over Arlington Saturday. Parker hit the Admirals up for 20 while Indian F Ryan Dugan added 15 and Allen went for 10 for the Indians, who held Arlington to one fourth-quarter point.

YORKTOWN lost 56-54 to Greeley despite solid outings from Mike Broder (15 points), James Lundberg (10 points, 7 boards) and G Marc Spinelli (11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals).

The league loss didn’t deter the Huskers (5-5) from coming out hard in a 57-47 win over Hastings in the opening round of the Budries Tournament. Lundberg had a special night with 19 points, 10 boards and three steals. Spinelli (7 points, 5 boards, 4 steals) and Tommy Weaver (7 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) each had a well-rounded effort.

NWE/Putnam Examiner Super 7 Poll

No.1 SOMERS – Thursday’s matchup with host John Jay is not one the Tuskers should be looking past, considering the early edge to the league title hangs somewhat in the balance.

No.2 PUTNAM VALLEY – Tigers (9-3) are currently looking like a potential No.2 seed in Class B but state-ranked (No.16) Briarcliff, (No.24) Irvington, Blind Brook, Pal Prep and North Salem remain ridiculously tough obstacles in wide open field of contenders.

No.3 HEN HUD – Sailors (7-2) have a legit starting five, but the concern is depth.

No.4 PANAS – When and if the Panthers (4-3) put it all together, they remain a team who can contend with most, but the 17-point loss at home to Somers is a tad concerning.

No.5 MAHOPAC – There’s really no reason to believe the Indians (5-5) can’t win the league crown, despite the 2-point loss to John Jay EF, especially if 6’5” F Rheal Allen can emerge as a second-half surprise #FaRheal.

No.6 OSSINING – The Pride (7-3) need to start posting quality wins and they get three chances between Tuesday and Saturday with Put Valley, Greeley and TZ on deck.

No.7 YORKTOWN – Huskers (5-5) hung very tough in two-point loss to Greeley, which sort of got our attention, and they were bucking for a big bump in this poll if they could take out Panas last night in the Husker tourney final.

HM LAKELAND – Hornets (4-6) are losing some luster after losses to Magnus and John Jay CR but ever-improving they are.

HM HALDANE – Having a great season, the Blue Devils (7-2) are, and Class C is there for the take (sorry about the misspelling of Alex Kubic’s name in the headline last week).

HM BREWSTER – Bears (4-5) handed it to Sleepy Hollow, 50-28, behind Dignan and Cameron Hart (13 each), but lost to Somers by 18.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.