Class A Mahopac Making Gains, Surging Somers on Tap

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By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
Mahopac senior G Max Gomes goes for two of his 14 fourth-quarter points in OT win over Lourdes

After a couple of early-season losses to some good clubs, MAHOPAC was reeling at 1-3 out of the gate. Knowing their own athleticism, toughness and capabilities would eventually add up to wins, Coach Tom McMahon’s Indians (7-3) had strung together five wins in a row heading into Saturday’s non-league clash with Lourdes. Beating a solid Warriors club, which the Indians did, 76-66 in OT, would solidify the notion that Mahopac can play with most anybody in Class A this winter.

“Yeah, 100% agree: That’s the advantage of having a veteran team,” McMahon said. “We’ve played 10 games now and none of them have been more than a six-point game. The kids are playing tough and the leadership and chemistry of this group is really shining through. This league is so competitive. Every game is close, so it’s too early to talk about winning the league title, but we have certainly put ourselves in a position to contend. The schedule continues to be challenging, so we are going to have to keep improving if we are going to keep it going in the right direction.”

Thanks to senior F Colum Ranaghan, who had a career-high 22 points, the Indians were headed in the right direction in last Wednesday’s 64-58 win over a solid, John Jay club. Mahopac senior G Michael Callahan dropped a whopping 18 on the Wolves. Cally then went on to drop a career-high 23 points in the win over Lourdes. Teammates Patrick McMahon (19 points) and Max Gomes (14 points, all in the 4th) were huge down the stretch.

“The boys and I are feeling great after yesterday’s win over a tough Lourdes team,” Callahan said after the Indians went on a 29-3 second-half run to finish off the Warriors. “After starting off the season 1-3 we all knew we were a much better team than we were showcasing, so we all just kept grinding and the Lourdes matchup was a way to make a statement to Section 1 that Mahopac is a contender, which I believe we accomplished.

“But now that we have established that level of performance we must keep grinding and getting better as a team,” Callahan added, “because this team can be very special. Also, I’d like to mention the Mahopac Maniacs have been going absolutely nuts for all of our home games, which makes for one of the best and hardest atmospheres to play in Section 1. The Pac is back, baby!”

Somers senior G Bennett Leitner tries to gain lane on Yorktown sophomore G Justin Price in Tuskers’ 54-44 win over visiting Huskers Friday.

When you add it all up, the Indians are in the hunt for more than just the League II-C title where they are currently 4-0 atop the division. There’s currently no reason to believe Mahopac, the current No.8 seed, can’t make a deep run in the playoffs.
YORKTOWN had lost five of six before heading over to surging SOMERS, winners of six in a row, Friday night. After starting out 0-6 and the panic button becoming an issue, Coach Chris DiCintio’s Tuskers (7-6) have reeled off seven-straight wins, including Friday’s 54-44 victory against the visiting Huskers before a raucous crowd. The win enabled the Tuskers to improve to 5-1 in League II-C action with a monster Feb.1 tipoff with Mahopac looming ever so large. The Tuskers haven’t lost since falling 61-56 at Mahopac on Jan. 6.

Yorktown had no answer for Somers senior F Christian McGrane, who had a career night by dropping 16 points. The Tuskers bigs had their way with an undermanned Yorktown club that had been snake bitten by a combination of things beyond their control (Covid/injuries). Tommy Costello had 16 points to lead the Huskers. Tuskers Bennett Leitner (12 points, 6 assists) and Matt Fitzsimons (9 points, 12 boards, 7 assists) were pivotal to the win. Somers routed BREWSTER, 74-54, earlier in the week, sending the Bears to a seventh-straight loss. Junior F Fitzsimons, McGrane and sophomore wing Andrew Violante combined for 48 points.

Yorktown tried to snap the losing skid but came up short in overtime to Greeley, 73-67, when sophomore G Billy Feeks and senior C Eddie Brucaj finished with 14 points each.

HEN HUD could not slow the roll of Poughkeepsie G Jaysean Morgan (game-high 24 points) in the Sailors’ 61-52 setback despite getting 18 points from G Dean Hiltsley (3 assists) and 17 from fearless sophomore Gino Wamack, who looks like a budding star, who added a career-high 20 points in the Sailors’ 53-49 win over Rye on Saturday. Hiltsley added 17.

After starting out 6-2 WALTER PANAS has hit a bit of a rough patch, including a 55-52 loss to Lourdes. Panas had three cracks at the tie before the buzzer but could not land the killer blow.

Panas G Alex Tavarez, who had 24 points, continues to lead by example, but there are issues the Panthers (7-4) desperately need to work out before the playoffs.

“We led the whole way until the end,” Panas Coach Mike Auerbach said. “Lourdes was very sloppy early. We led by eight after the first quarter and should have been up 14-16 points, but we didn’t take full advantage, and it hurt us later.”

It killed down the stretch when the Panthers’ old bugaboo – free throws – bit them throughout.

“We’re up six late and didn’t execute at all down the stretch,” Auerbach said. “Free throw shooting has been a killer for us. We shot 7-for-16 in the game, along with missing the front end of three one-and-ones in the fourth.”

Panas is at 56% from the line for the season, 26-for-57 (45%) in its four losses.

“You just can’t beat anybody any good when you shoot like that from the line,” the coach said.

The Panthers got back on track in Saturday’s thrashing of visiting Yonkers, but there’s a real tough stretch of games to follow, including Class AA White Plains, Lakeland, Hen Hud Poughkeepsie and Somers.

Panas tried to right the ship in Friday’s 68-25 win over a reeling Yonkers club behind a dozen points from Oliver Smith, who led all 12 Panthers who scored.


Andrew Fiore’s Carmel Rams and Jaeden Carr’s Ossining Pride are coming off a solid week of action.

After losing four of its last five, OSSINING notched a monster win over a solid Mamaroneck team, 65-44. It was a group effort for the Pride (6-5) led by Terrell Francis (16 points). Power F Dominique Bautista (15 points, 10 rebounds) went for a double-double while senior G Jaeden Carr added 14 points for Ossining.

“The boys played and competed as hard as we’ve seen them all year to get one of the biggest wins of the season,” Ossining Coach Mike Casey said. “Several players stepped up with Carr picking up his fourth foul two minutes into the third. Francis, Bautista, Newton, Caparelli, Santos and Ahlers all stepped up.”

Ossining wasn’t done impressing Section 1 after the upset of Mamaroneck. The Pride (7-5), which have won three of their last four, followed that win up with a 55-50 league I-D win over Fox Lane where Carr went off for 21 points and eight caroms. Bautista added nine points and eight boards as the surging Pride improved to 2-1 in league play.

CARMEL can attest to Mamaroneck’s goodness after the Rams fell 58-54 to the Tigers earlier in the week despite another solid double-double from Carmel senior F Nick DiLeo (18 points, 12 rebounds). The Rams (5-3), which had a four-game winning streak end, bounced back strong in a 65-55 league win over John Jay EF.

DiLeo, a walking double-double these days, went for 17 points and 15 rebounds while senior G Kevin Dall dropped a mighty 16 points for Carmel, which won for the fifth time in the last six and improved to 2-0 in League I-A action.


HALDANE put a 95-31 whipping on Pawling behind five double-digit scorers, including senior G Ryan Irwin (game-high 22 points). Ryan Eng-Wong added 17 points while Matteo Cervone (14 points), Soren Holmbo (10), Robert Viggiano (10), Ben Bozsik (7), Tristen Reid (6) and Stefano Hammond (6) were prime-time players as well. The Class C state-ranked (No.5) Blue Devils (11-1) kept the momentum rolling in Saturday’s 76–53 win over visiting CROTON when Holmbo (20 points), Reid (16), Cervone (15) and Irwin (10) all dropped double digits on the Tigers. It appears as though Coach Virgadamo’s Blue Devils will enter the postseason tournament as the No.1 seed and clear-cut favorites, with a likely matchup with the Tuckahoe/Hamilton survivor for the rights to represent Section 1 in the state tournament. The road runs through Haldane.
Croton (4-8), the current No.12 seed in Class B, didn’t fare much better earlier in the week, falling 46-37 to host PUTNAM VALLEY. PV freshman F Nate Shillingford went for 13 points while senior G Cole Durocher added 11 for the Tigers, who are currently holding the No.15 seed and would face No.2 Rye Neck if the playoffs started today, which would be ideal given the fact Rye Neck is 11-2 but hasn’t had a quality W all year. Rye Neck’s 11 wins have come against foes with a combined 25-79 record #BringIt #BracketBusters!

Orlando Gomez paced Croton with 18 points and Aidan Callahan added 12. Put Valley went on to post its biggest win of the season in a 50-44 triumph of North Salem Friday. The Holtzman boys – senior F Arthur and junior G Sean – joined freshman James Apostolico with 10 points apiece.

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