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Boys’ Hoops Notebook

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Ryan Basso
Put Valley G Ryan Basso moves in on Husker G Mason Dyslin. Ray Gallagher photo

Put Valley Impressive in Slam Dunk Win

When, and if, Putnam Valley senior F Jelani Bell-Isaac plays like he did in a 53-36 win over the youthful Yorktown Huskers last Friday night at the 15th annual Westchester County Center Slam Dunk showcase game, Coach Mike McDonnell’s Tigers (6-1) are going to be a legit Class B title contender.

Bell-Isaac was an untamable beast in the paint, scoring a game-high 19 points (7-for-14 FG) and yanking down 15 rebounds, six on the offensive glass en route to an MVP performance; though he had to put in for a new trophy after accidentally snapping his figurine in half.

“Coach always tells us to pound it inside if we can, and tonight that was there for me,” said Bell-Isaac, who added a riveting, monster two-handed, alley-oop slam to his repertoire, courtesy of a choice  Ryan Basso look for a 47-34 lead midway through the fourth. His second half was one of the finest in PV history. “I was able to go to work on the boards and my teammates were great tonight. This was definitely a good bounce-back win. We’re trying to figure out what went wrong in the Woodlands game. We will and then we’ll get back here (County Center, home of the Section 1 Final 4).”

Basso added eight points while Zach Nolan chipped in with nine points and three steals and was huge in the early going (PV led 14-2 and 24-13 before Yorktown knew what hit it). Senior point guard Zach Coleman, who had scouts from RIT sniffing around, scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists.

Defensively, the Tigers forced 15 turnovers and forced the Huskers into a 14-for-51 shooting night. Silky-smooth G Luis Cartenega showed flashes of goodness and led the Huskers with 16 points. G Luke Palmadesso added six points and five boards and swingman Mason Dyslin had seven rebounds but needed to impose more of his will if the Huskers are going to defeat PV in a second go.

Yorktown had cut a 12-point deficit to four as the teams headed in to the break, but PV stormed the County Center floor in the third and utilized a 15-4 run to put the Huskers down, Bell-Isaac the unmatchable catalyst.

“Once we settled down we played a little bit with them,” second-year Yorktown Coach Chris Caputi said. “We’re young and we don’t want to use that as an excuse but we’ve got to learn to play out of tough spots no matter who we go up against.  Put Valley has at least six good basketball players that are returning from a successful season last year. They have confidence. They’re well coached, well organized and have a group of kids who do some good things. The second quarter was our quarter, we defended well and rebounded, but we have to buy in and play four quarters like that. We have them at home in a quick turnaround (Jan.7th) and we’ll practice hard and play hard and we’ll remember this game as we move forward. These kids are winners and they will play hard when we see them again.”

Coach McDonnell expects the quick turn-around to favor host Yorktown, as the loss will be fresh in the Huskers’ minds.

“Yorktown will give us a heck of a good game at their place,” McDonnell said. “I like what Coach Caputi is doing with them. He’s doing a terrific job there. I knew we had to be ready for them. We played good half-court man defense, no gimmicks. Our rotation got a little deeper when we brought up Kevin Gallagher (from JV) and that gave us one more guy. We just died by the fourth quarter of the Woodlands game because we were short on our rotation. We just ran out of steam and this gives us some depth to do what we need to do defensively.”


Please box these two items below separately, thanks!!!!

Putnam Challenge, at Brewster High School

Haldane vs. North Salem, noon

John Jay-Cross River vs. Croton-Harmon, 2 p.m.

Byram Hills vs. Yorktown, 4 p.m.

Mahopac vs. Dobbs Ferry, 6 p.m.

Brewster vs. Mamaroneck, 8 p.m.

Putnam/NWE Hoops Poll

No.1 MAHOPAC – Would love to see Coach Downes’ Class AA Indians (7-0) set up a pre-playoff scrimmage with Putnam Valley this season to test the mettle of both Putnam County clubs as we head in to March Madness. I know Mahopac wiped up on PV last year in a scrimmage run, but I’d pay the price of admission (always free for me) to see these two scrap in a late Feb. tango during the break. For now, we’ll settle for a pair of tune-ups with Brewster and one with Dobbs Ferry in the Putnam Challenge before one of the best non-league games in Section 1 all season when tribe face White Plains at JDRF Showcase Event, at Monroe College (New Rock City). The Indians are also part of a terrific slate of action on February 1st at the LHBCA Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase, at Beacon High School: Lourdes vs. Putnam Valley, noon;          Peekskill vs. Poughkeepsie, 2 p.m.; Beacon vs. Clarkstown South, 4 p.m. and Mahopac vs. Arlington, 6 p.m.

No.2 PUTNAM VALLEY – Student-body dudes and dudettes better start car-pooling better to away games because Coach Mike McDonnell’s Class B, state-ranked (No.4)  Tigers (6-1) have the type of show-stealing stuff that PV fans aren’t gonna to want to miss; like many did at the County Center win over Yorktown. In the words of my cousin’s polish granny #GetOffUrDupa!

No.3 PANAS – Coach Sully’s Class A Panthers (6-2) will brace for rivalry-style challenges at Lakeland (Jan.7) and at Putnam Valley (Jan.9) and should they drop both games by happenstance we’d have to judge them as posers, no? Get a split or face the wrath.

No.4 PEEKSKILL – Coach P’s Class A Red Devils (3-3) need a strong bounce-back win over Put Valley on Jan.3, which should go a long way in determining who will be crowned League I-C champs. My man DJ supreme Pete Peterson will rock the house that night, and I suspect the better part of Peekskill will be there; unless of course Red Devil Nation fails its first love. State pollsters have shunned the Red Devs after recent 3-game skid.

No.5 CROTON – Interesting stretch ahead for Coach Billy T’s Class B Tigers (4-0), who are looking at long-time nemesis Pleasantville (2-4) and the Henry Taylor-led Indians of John Jay CR (2-3) in the Putnam Challenge at Brewster High on Jan.4.

HM Haldane – Early returns have Coach V’s Class C Blue Devils (6-2) as the favorites to win the League I-D flag, what with their No.12 ranking in NYS.

HM Yorktown – Coach Cap’s Class AA Huskers (2-3) are expected to give Put Valley fits in their Jan.7 rematch, provided “The Crop” can bring it that night #SixthMan! If not, the Valley cruises.

HM Carmel – Does anybody believe Coach Venditto’s Class AA Rams (3-4) will put up much of a fight when they host blood arch-rival Mahopac on Saturday, Jan. 18th at 2:00 p.m.? There are at least a dozen or so kids from that side of town that do believe RJ’s return to Rama-lama-ding-dong land won’t go as he plans.

HM Somers – Coach DiCintio’s Class A Tuskers (2-5) get a ton of credit for hitting the road and doing some serious team bonding in a pair of games in Maryland Tournament.  Settled for 4th though after a tough 62-59 loss to Patuxent. Matt Moros led Somers with 25. Conor Cousin had 11, Josh Riger and Matt Arita had 8 each. Still holding out hope that this unit gets on a run and can contend for second place in League I-B.

HM Lakeland – Coach Weltman’s Class A Hornets (3-3) are athletic enough to provide the veteran coach with a few good bouts with Yorktown and Panas, or they will find themselves in the cellar of League I-C, which would really stink for Weltman if this is indeed his swan song season.

HM Hen Hud – Coach Hirsch’s Class A Sailors (3-3) hope to have something to say about the Haldane comment above.

HM Brewster – Coach Martino’s Bears are going to have to hold teams in the mid-40s/low-50s if they are going to get out of the I-B cellar.



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