Haldane Last Team Standing in Section 1, Glens Falls-Bound

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project

Peekskill, Byram Hills Bail in Regional Rounds

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays

Somehow, some way, Class C HALDANE High is one of the last two teams standing in Section 1, side by side with Class B Woodlands. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament was not kind to Class AAA Mount Vernon, Class AA Peekskill, and Class A Byram Hills last week, so it’ll be the Blue Devils and the Falcons representing Section 1 at Glens Falls this weekend.


Players and coaches of the Haldane boys’ basketball program pose with their second NYSPHSAA Class C regional title plaque in a row after knocking off Long Island champ Southold Saturday.

Seven-time Section 1 champion HALDANE, ranked No.1 in NYS, rocked Section 9 champion Millbrook, 60-41, in Wednesday’s sub-regional at Yorktown High where All-Section senior F Matthew Nachamkin went off for a game-high 31 points, propelling the Blue Devils (20-3) to Saturday’s Region 1 title tilt against Section 11’s Southold, ranked No.24 in NYS.

Southold was no match for Haldane in Saturday’s 73-39 trouncing, sending the Blue Devils

back to Glens Falls for the NYSPHSAA Class C Final Four for the second year in a row and fifth time since 2014.

As he has done in almost every game this season, Nachamkin paced Haldane with a game-high 16 points while dominating at both ends of the floor. Evan Giachinta had a huge outing, finishing with 12 points while Luke Bozsik (10), Nate Stickle (9), Fallou Faye (7), Michael Murray (7), Ross Esposito (3), Eric Stubblefield (3), Ryan Van Tassel (2) and Dylan Rucker (2) all contributed to a cause that will be put to the test against Section 7 champion Moriah, ranked No.3 in NYS, in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinal at the Cool Insuring Arena.

Haldane senior F Matt Nachamkin flushes home two points much to the happiness of teammate Evan Giachinta (25) in the Blue Devils’ 73-39 NYSPHSAA Class C Region 1 title win over Long Island champion Southold.

The winner will advance to Saturday’s 8:45 p.m. state title tilt against the Section 5 Lyons/Section 4 Moravia winner, ranked No.2 and No.4, respectively. Either way, the boys will be grazing at O’Toole’s Restaurant, a Haldane hotspot in Glens Falls where they hope to deliver the first state title in school history.

“We’re on a mission and the guys are playing for each other,” Haldane Coach Joe Virgadamo said. “They’re all great friends, play multiple sports together and our chemistry and culture is amazing. It showed yesterday throughout the game. The way we moved the ball, the unselfish play was fun to watch. This is a special group and we all have the same vision. We’ve worked hard all year and wanted to play on the last possible day of the season. We’re almost there.”

Confidence is sky high, like it was in 2016 when the Blue Devils three-peated as section champs and challenged for the state title and after coming oh-so-close again in 2023 as state finalists.

“We’re going up there to win the state championship, this group is never content,” Coach V said. “Matt Nachamkin is one of the best players in section 1. He’s also one of the most unselfish kids I’ve ever coached. He makes his teammates better. Everyone has stepped up and fulfilled their roles. Evan and Nate played incredibly yesterday. Multiple guys are scoring every game and we’re very happy with our offensive balance. We’ve been preaching defense wins championships. The guys have bought in and enjoy playing defense because it turns into a lot of fun on the other end.”

Haldane G Ross Esposito glides for two points in Blue Devils’ NYSPHSAA Class C Region 1 championship win over Long Island champion Southold Saturday at Yorktown High.

As the saying goes: “It takes a village”, and the Blue Devils are getting contributions up and down the lineup. Luke Bozsik, a sophomore, is also becoming a huge part of the team.

“He’s a great shooter and has really stepped up as a sophomore,” the coach said.

Against Millbrook, Esposito and Stickle scored 10 points apiece. Eric “Big E” Stubblefield, a linebacker by trade, drained a 3 ball that torched the Blue Devil faithful with just under 2:00 to play.

“I was very happy with our energy and defensive intensity once again,” Haldane Coach Joe Virgadamo said.


Once upon a time, the legend of Willis Reed – the heroic captain and star center for the New York Knicks – was born on May 8th 1970, when he led the franchise to the first of its only two championships while authoring one of the signature Game 7 moments in NBA history.

An injured Reed, who missed Game 6 with a severe thigh injury, stunned the Madison Square Garden faithful by hobbling out of the tunnel to the iconic call of “Here comes Willis” by radio broadcaster Marv Albert.

Reed scored the first two buckets of the game, providing the emotional lift the Knicks would need to knock off Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers for their first NBA title. In New York sports lore, it’s as good as it gets; right up there with Giants WR David Tyree’s 2008 helmet catch from Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII, a 17-14 New York win over the then-undefeated New England Patriots.

Peekskill junior Jaden Chavis sank this timely, game-sealing reverse layup in the Red Devils’ 53-52 NYSPHSAA Class AA sub-regional victory over Section 4 champion Binghamton.

Peekskill’s Jayden Chavis did his finest “Reed impersonation” last Wednesday when the flu-ridden junior rose from the Red Devil bench with just under 6:00 to play in the NYSPHSAA Class AA sub-regional. On his way to the scorer’s table and Peekskill trailing by five, the Red Devils could sense the lift their three-year starter would provide off the bench. The partisan Peekskill faithful rose as one and watched their 6’5” point forward trigger an emotional 53-52 comeback win over Section 4 champion Binghamton at Yorktown High School.

“Just seeing my brothers out there fighting all game, struggling like they needed a spark to help, so I laced up,” Chavis said. “I, at least, needed to try and give us that spark. If I couldn’t I wouldn’t, but the looks on my brother’s faces when they saw me gave them hope. That’s all we needed was hope, and if this was going to be our last game together it wasn’t going to end with me on the bench, and we pulled through with the win and man it feels great.”

Chavis scored the go-ahead hoop at 1:00 for a 51-50 lead. He grabbed one rebound, served one block and dished two assists, including a Patrick Mahomes-like bomb to Isaiah Crawford and another in-bound pass to senior G Travis Brown with 2:20 left to cut the Red Devil deficit to three, 50-47. A Marquette Webster put-back brought Peekskill within a point, 50-49, with 1:30 left, before Chavis spotted the one-point lead and blew the lid off the gym.

State-ranked (No.9) Peekskill Coach Tyrone Searight lauded the efforts of Crawford, Brown (11 points), Zeke Jones (11 points), Amir Thames (4 points) and Webster (7 points) for keeping the Red Devils within striking distance of state-ranked (No.30) Binghamton.

Peekskill G Isaiah Crawford makes off with a game-saving steal before icing the Red Devils’ 53-52 NYS Class AA sub-regional win over Section 4 champ Binghamton Wednesday.

Reed wasn’t alone that fateful night in 1970; for it was Walt ‘Clyde Frazier’ who totaled 36 points, 19 assists and seven rebounds en route to dethroning the Lakers. And it was Crawford who played the Frazier role in the Peekskill sequel. The junior guard scored a season-high 18 points, including two off the steal of the season for a 55-51 lead, but the game will likely go down in history as the ‘Jaden Chavis game’, which propelled the state-ranked (No.9) Red Devils (24-2) to the NYS AA regional championship where they would move on to the Final 4 after taking out state-ranked (No.28) Section 9 champ Our Lady of Lourdes, 48-47, Friday at Mount St. Mary’s College in Newburgh where the Warriors advanced to the NYS Final 4 for the first time since 2017.

Lourdes junior G Tommy Simpson’s nothing-but-net 3-ball with two seconds remaining spotted the Catholic powerhouse a one-point lead, and Peekskill’s last-ditch attempt went for naught, ending the feel-good story of the year before the fairytale finish could be written.

The prior chapters, though, inspired an entire community, restoring Peekskill Pride to a recently- downtrodden basketball program that had previously thrived under former five-time NYS champion Lou Panzanaro.

Capacity crowd gets a good look at a ripped Amir Thames hauling in a rebound in Peekskill’s 53-52 NYS Class AA sub-regional win over Section 4 champ Binghamton Wednesday.

Peekskill looked like it was headed back to Glens Falls, home of the NYSPHSAA Final 4, for the first time since 2009 when Crawford floated through the lane and spotted the Red Devils a 40-31 lead to open the fourth quarter, which was not kind to Peekskill. The Warriors found creases that didn’t previously exist while the Red Devils went cold.

Thames, who threw down a breakaway dunk, and Jones each scored 11. Chavis was held to eight points and Crawford finished with seven points and four steals. Chavis’ three put Peekskill up 14-13 at the end of one, a lead Peekskill held until the very end.

State-ranked (No.7) BYRAM HILLS saw its run for the roses come to a heartbreaking end when the Bobcats (18-7) suffered a season-ending 46-45 setback to 26th-ranked Section 9 champion Saugerties last Monday in the NYSPHSAA Class A sub-regional at Dutchess Community College. Byram Hills was up 45-41 with 52.1 seconds to play when it all unraveled.

All-Section senior swingman Tyson Repa (18 points) and All-Conference junior C Zach Efobi (18 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) paced the Bobcats throughout. Max Miller (7 points) and Chris Amenedo (2 points) chipped in during what could only be described as a woulda, coulda, shoulda game.

Byram Hills junior center Zach Efobi sends down a thunderous dunk in the third quarter of last Monday evening’s Class A regional playoff game vs. Section 9 champ Saugerties. He wound up with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the Bobcats’ season ended with a crushing 46-45 loss.

“Yeah, definitely a rough way to end an otherwise beautiful season,” Byram Hills Coach Ted Repa admitted. “As poorly as we played, we were able to claw our way back and be in a position to win the game. So many things had to go wrong, and almost all of them did. A lot of it was on me. I could’ve done so many things different that would have helped us seal the victory.

But sometimes that’s how it goes. The same thing could have happened vs. Rye in the gold ball game, but luck was on our side there, and I wouldn’t trade that win, experience, and memory for anything.

“So I will choose to remember that beautiful moment of watching us hoist that gold ball rather than perseverate over the frustrating ending,” the coach added. “And with all we have returning next year, hopefully there’s a little extra motivation to get back.”

With Tyson Repa departing for the greener pastures of college ball, someone will need to take on the role of premier playmaker, but the 2024 Byram Hills club did nothing to diminish the reputation of one of Section 1’s top programs.

2024 Court of Excellence Honorees (on & off-court exploits)

Nick Castellano, Westlake; Jordan Kratz, Briarcliff; James Minotti, Fox Lane; Jack Moriarty, Putnam Valley; Matt Nachampkin, Haldane; Justin Price, Yorktown; Liam Scanlon, Mahopac

Conference II Coach of the Year: Mark Pavella, Yorktown

Byram Hills junior Ari Dreilinger dribbles the ball toward the lane in the first quarter of last week’s state regional playoff game vs. the Saugerties Sawyers at Dutchess Community College.

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.