Class AA Boys Hoops Notebook: Hynes Spectacular as No.5 Mahopac Moves on to Class AA Quarters;Indians Poised for Showdown with No.4 Arlington; Winners Dance at County Center

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Vengeance, said the fictional Klingons, is a dish best served cold, and things should be pretty frosty this Wednesday on account of the fact that No.5 Mahopac’s 61-31 Section 1 Class AA opening-round win over visiting No.12 Mamaroneck last Friday night set up a quarterfinal showdown with No.4 host Arlington this Wednesday. It is a whale of a matchup between two teams with significant history and one Coach Kevin Downes’ 2012 Class AA runnerup Indians (16-3) want pretty bad as they seek a third-straight trip to the Westchester Counter Center Final 4.

Mahopac senior C John Vitkus assaults the iron with a vicious two-handed flush in the fifth-seeded Indians' 61-31 triumph of visiting No.12 Mamaroneck in last Friday opening round of the Section 1 Class AA basketball tournament. Photo by Ray Gallagher
Mahopac senior C John Vitkus assaults the iron with a vicious two-handed flush in the fifth-seeded Indians’ 61-31 triumph of visiting No.12 Mamaroneck in last Friday opening round of the Section 1 Class AA basketball tournament. Photo by Ray Gallagher

“It’ll be as crazy as it was last year,” Downes said. “Having it at their place is to their advantage, but I know we’ll play hard and see what happens.”

Arlington, a 52-37 winner over No.13 Carmel, handed Mahopac an opening-day loss back in December after the Indians knocked the Admirals (16-3) out of the playoffs last season in an overtime quarterfinal thriller. Mahoapc senior Mike Simone all but guaranteed history has a way of changing things.

“We’ll get our redemption,” Simone promised after the state-ranked (No.26) Indians won for the 14th time in a row. “We’ve had a full season to think about this one. We’ll be ready.”

Mahopac senior Brendan Hynes reminded Section 1 why he was named to the All-LHVBCA team with another versatile display against Mamaroneck (8-11). The swingman led Mahopac with 26 points, six rebounds and five assists, further solidifying his legend as an all-time Indian great. Hynes, a two-sport sensation who will play lax at Richmond University next fall, remains in the discussion, according to hoops Coach Kevin Downes, a former Mahopac great himself.

“Obviously Dave Fleming comes to mind as he excelled in hoops and baseball (and got drafted by MLB),” Downes said. “Tyler Perrelle (Binghamton) for excelling in football, hockey and lax is in there, as is TJ Foley (Drexel). I think Hynes is definitely in the discussion. His versatility is off the charts. He can basically play all five positions in hoops, and is a great long pole in lax. How often do you see a long pole middie play when his team is a man up?  He can shut down your best player in both sports. He just does do many things so well. I have never depended on a player more or gotten more from a player than him.”

The Indians led 34-14 at the half and held Mamaroneck to just two field goals before the break, thanks to some tenacious play off the bench from 6’8” C John Vitkus (11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists), who tossed down another monster slam just before the half. Junior G John Delahanty (10 points, 5 rebounds), who is providing depth and spark at the same time this season, started in place of a banged up Dan Tully and did quite a job.

“You wouldn’t even know we had a starter missing,” Simone said. “Vitkus played awesome, too, and Hynes was Hynes. The kid’s a beast.”

When all was said and done, and everyone had moved beyond Hynes’ dominance, the next item of business was Vitkus. If Big John flashes another effort like this one against the Admirals, Mahopac will likely be next in line for the No.9 New Rochelle — No. 1 Spring Valley winner on March 1st in a Class AA Final 4 jump-off at the Westchester County Center. The semifinals tip off at either 5:00 or 6:45 p.m. (TBA). That side of the bracket includes: No. 6 Fox Lane vs. No. 3 Mount Vernon and No. 7 Scarsdale vs. No. 2 North Rockland.

“I was just very happy to be able to play today,” said Vitkus, who had been sick all week. “I think my energy was contagious today. I got amped up in the warm-ups and the coaches had us prepared and we just got it done. I think I can repeat this effort, I’m looking forward to it.”

Vitkus’ presence is important, but the Indians will need the Mahopac Maniacs to make their biggest road trip of the year in an effort to counter the Arlington faithful.

“The best fans in Section 1 really need to come out for us this time, I know they will,” Downes said.

Class AA Roundup

No.13 Carmel’s season concluded at the hands of Arlington. Coach George Coates’ Rams (8-11) struggled to defend the perimeter and were torched beyond the arc in a 52-37 loss. The offense sputtered and the defense wasn’t where it needed to be.

“Arlington was hot from the perimeter, hitting 7 3s,’ Coates said.  “In addition, they are a very good defensive team. They held us to 15 points in the second half.  They are incredibly tough to beat when they are hot offensively. To make matters worse, we had one of those nights where nothing went down. We had our looks, just didn’t finish. You can’t win on the road in the playoffs when as a team you have one of those off nights offensively. It sure wasn’t about a lack of effort, the kids played hard. Very proud of them, have been all year.”


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