The 12th annual Putnam Challenge pitted three of Putnam County’s finest against three of Northern Westchester’s top dogs over the last decade, and the IAABO 161 referee’s board were at the top of their game last Saturday at Carmel High School while sponsoring the event with the Examiner Media Group.
The day opened with former Class AA powerhouse Mahopac handling 2018 Class A semifinalists Walter Panas, 64-54, behind a career effort from senior C/F Reahl Allen, who went off for 33 points and 13 rebounds while junior G Matt McMahon added nine points. Allen was the ‘Rheal Deal’, hitting a pair from beyond the arc and putting on quite a show.
The second game of the day featured Class C powerhouse Haldane posting a 53-43 win over Class B heavyweight North Salem, who rallied to make it a game of it after the Blue Devils led comfortably throughout. In Haldane’s win, swingman Matt Champlin led the way with 23 points while F Mame Diba dropped 20 points and swatted several shots on the other end for the Blue Devils (7-3). In Haldane’s 55-34 win over Yonkers Montessori earlier in the week, Champlain went for 16 points while Daniel Santos added 12 and Diba had nine.
The evening concluded with Class AA host Carmel pulling off a 59-58 upset against Class A title-hopeful Somers behind 13 fourth-quarter points from Ram senior F Shane McNerney, who dropped a game-high 23 points, including 7 of 9 from the stripe in the fourth and two huge 3’s (4 for the game).
“We had a tough first few games,” McNerney admitted, “But winning a game like this against an undefeated program is big for us. I missed my first free throw in the fourth but was able to come through at the end. Those long shots are my bread and butter and I was glad I was able to hit a couple down the stretch when we needed them.”
The Rams (4-4) have overcome a dreadful start and hope this win builds the necessary momentum they will need to get it going for the upcoming League I-A slate, which includes this Saturday evening’s tip-off against visiting rival Mahopac.
“We weren’t healthy early in the year,” Carmel Coach Paul Brennan said. “And tonight we were missing Peyton Cayea, one of our best ball handlers and top athletes. He’s a big part of our team but our guys really stepped up. Our identity is on the defensive end and pushing the ball in transition and they’ve embraced that and done a great job with it. Somers is a great team with a great coach. They got in to that 2-2-1 press of theirs and got on a little run, but we handled the pressure fairly well for the first time this year and that’s a big win for us without a primary ball handler on the floor. Shane’s out most consistent scorer and what I like most is he wants the ball at the end of the game. He’s the first kid I’ve ever coached that I’ve given the green light to shoot as soon as he steps over mid-court. He makes those shots every day in practice and we’re very confident he can do so in the game.”
Despite the raw, rainy weather, the event was a success and some scholarship money was handed out, so the next time you want to hoot and holler at a basketball referee, remember that it’s the IAABO Board 161 that dedicates it’s time to local student athletes 12 years running…
NWE/Putnam County Super 7 Hoops Poll
No.1 PUTNAM VALLEY – Coach McDonnell’s Class B state-ranked (No.12) Tigers (9-2) have done major damage against Dobbs (over holiday break) and Hastings, in Friday’s 48-38 win, without star F/C TJ Brescia (ankle) in the lineup, which means guys like Brandon Guerra (9 points, 7 rebounds in win over Hastings), Ryan Soto (10 points, 4 boards, 4 assists), Ivan Caposito (15 points), freshman Cole Durocher (11 points) and Charlie Gatewood are joining Darnel Shillingford (12 points, 12, boards, 3 steals) in a unit that is beginning to recognize its capabilities. The window of opportunity will be shut for at least a year or two upon their departure, but these seniors STILL have THE chance to be a history-making group as they seek the first gold ball in program history #HaveAtIt
No.2 SOMERS – Coach DiCintio’s Class A Tuskers (7-1) are a pack of football/soccer players, who truly get after it but may lack the necessary scoring punch to win a title, though they play enough defense to make a legit Final 4 run. Lucas Fecci (16 points), Nick Maestri (16), Drew Lasher (12) and Max Germaine (10) all went for double figures in somewhat surprising loss to Carmel, though we did warn y’all not to sleep on them Rams. Germaine led the way with 14 in 42-41 win over stingy Brewster.
No.3 MAHOPAC – Coach Simone’s Class AA Indians (5-4) also bested non-league foe Ramapo, 71-48, last Friday behind Indian G Drew Riolo’s career-high 17 points. Allen dropped a dozen. Here’s a tip for Mahopac: Get a hand in the face of Carmel’s McNerney and long-range sniper Mike Calcagno, who was 4-of-4 from deep against Somers, this Saturday when the Mahopac Maniacs and Carmel Crazies go toe-to-toe in what should be a wild quadruple header between J.V. and varsity boys and girls.
No.4 CROTON – Coach Martucci’s Class B Tigers (6-1), despite the terrific start and a 48-38 win over Pleasantville — behind 21 points from hotshot Sean Macarchuk — are getting little credit, but they were set to open some eyes last night against Briarcliff. Take notice, y’all!
No.5 CARMEL – Coach Brennan’s Class AA Rams (4-4) did what they did against Somers without the services of Peyton Cayea (illness), who may or may not play against Mahopac Saturday. There will be a slew of solid athletes on the floor when they rekindle this storied rivalry, but McNerney may be the best “basketball player” and that could be the difference if the Rams can match Mahopac’s athleticism.
No.6 LAKELAND – Coach Fallo’s Class A Hornets (5-4) saw Augie Karaqi go off for 27 points in 71-62 loss to visiting Somers on Friday, but a poor fourth quarter spelled doom in an otherwise entertaining game. Joe Vetrano added 11 points and J.P. Walsh had eight.
Rob Nardelli came up with 12 4th-quarter points to seal a 67-63 win over Yorktown earlier in the week for the Hornets, who have stayed afloat without injured sniper Jack Kruse (due back soon).
No.7 BREWSTER – Coach Nelligan’s Bears (3-4) are not to be toyed with, having brought Somers to the cusp of defeat in a 42-41 setback behind the efforts of sharpshooter Harry Degnan (17 points). Bears could play a real spoiler role in League II-C down the road.
HM HALDANE – Coach Virgadamo’s Class C Blue Devils (7-3) have significant pieces in Alex Kubik, Champlin and Diba to make a run at the Class C crown, but Tuckahoe remains the team to beat with Hamilton on the cusp.