White Plains, Yorktown Cling to Top Seeds in Final Week

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Croton’s Gomez Drops School Record 52 Points, 1,000 for Career; Mayfield Notches 500th at White Plains

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
Croton-Harmon High senior G Orlando Gomez, who nearly set the gym on fire, gets up for two of his school record 52 points in the Tigers’ 74-42 win over visiting North Salem.

Hard to believe we’re down to the final week of the regular season of the Section 1 boys’ and girls’ hoops season, and just three weeks and change from a week-long extravaganza at the county’s most famous arena; the Westchester County Center where lifelong dreams live and die on any given night. The action was fast and furious this past week as league titles were clinched at places like Class AA Mahopac and AAA White Plains, where beloved Coach Spencer Mayfield notched the 500th win of his inspirational career.

Having watched two and sometimes three games a day the past month, we can only suggest you brace yourselves for an incredible postseason with a slew of slim favorites and a herd of dark horses in every race, including a crew of heavyweights from the Examiner coverage zone. Here’s some of what went down last week and what we can expect down the line, plus a meaningless poll that holds no weight whatsoever.


State-ranked (No.14), Class AA YORKTOWN started the week with a 68-40 win over AA HORACE GREELEY and ended strong on Senior Night with a 49-31 win over John Jay CR.

The Huskers (15-2) rolled on JJCR behind seniors Billy Feeks (16 points), Justin Price (7 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals) and Joe Granitto (6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals), who were up to the task, further solidifying Yorktown’s grasp on the No.1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. The only thing standing between the Huskers and the No.1 seed, seemingly, is a regular-season finale against visiting Somers on Feb 8. You can toss the records out the window whenever Somers and Yorktown get after it, no matter the sport.

“I believe our team is up for the challenge,” Feeks said. “I think that if we just take it game by game and play our brand of basketball the only people that can beat us are ourselves.”

Against Greeley, Yorktown senior Brandon Montero notched a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) while dishing five assists. Senior wing Feeks (15 points, 8 assists) did all the things he’s done all season. Junior Kaden Gonzalez (15 points) and senior Tommy Costello (10 points, 5 rebounds) gave the Huskers four scorers in double figures.

Greeley (10-8) was led by Zach Boyriven (11 points), who also popped for 18 points and six boards in a 58-51 win over Lincoln earlier in the week. Benji Ricardo (15 points) and Filip Vujanic (13 points) were also in double figures against the Lancers.

White Plains star forward Logan McCormick rises high in the air for a flashy dunk to finish a fast break in the first quarter of Friday night’s game at Greeley. He wound up with 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Tigers cruised to a 66-44 win.

State-ranked (No.15) MAHOPAC players and parents should have just booked rooms in Dutchess County last week as the Wolf Pac frequented our friends to the north all week long, including RCK, Arlington and a Saturday matinee at Dutchess Community College to face Poughkeepsie where the Pac did indeed clinch the League I-A title (currently 8-0 in league).

In Mahopac’s 62-48 win over RCK, seniors Daniel Dedvukaj (22 points) and Liam Scanlon (14) were too much to handle.

Against Arlington, Mahopac, the current No.3 seed, wore down the Admirals to take a 41-31 decision, leading wire to wire. Dedvukaj, who is truly coming on in all facets, led the way with 18 points. Danny Koch and John Kearney added nine and eight, respectively.

It was 11-9 Mahopac after the first quarter and 39-27 Mahopac with 5:00 left in the fourth. Koch found a sweet backdoor grab from Scanlon for a 41-27 lead and Arlington threw in the towel with 2:00 to go.

Against Poughkeepsie, Dedvukaj won Player of the Game honors at the IAABO Officials vs. Cancer event after scoring 21 in a 38-32 win over Poughkeepsie. Koch added seven points, including a pair of crucial free throws down the stretch. Trailing 19-7, Mahopac (16-1), which is having one of its finest regular seasons in school history, battled back on a 31-13 close-out, which included a key put-back hoop from sophomore Matt Reilly, who has played some dependable minutes the last few games as the Wolf Pac knocked off their initial goal.

“Winning the league was definitely a goal of ours going into the year,” senior G Kearney said. “We have been taking this season one game at a time and not looking too far ahead. That mentality has helped us stay present. Getting better every day is always the goal, and we’ll see where that leads us.”

Gotta admit, nobody I know had Mahopac going 16-1 on their Bingo card, but if you did #Bingo!.

State-ranked (No.24) PEEKSKILL visited Class A LAKELAND Friday night and abolished a ‘mid’ first-half effort with a brilliant second half to secure a 65-49 win, leaving the Red Devils (17-1) one win away from the League II-D chip.

High-flying 6’5” Pleasantville center Etai Nunberg, while morphing into a Class A force this season, goes all out to prevent Briarcliff G Luke Lawler from getting anything near a decent look at the hoop.

Red Devil junior Jaden Chavis, a superb point forward, hit an uncontested layup for a 4-0 Peekskill lead over Lakeland, timeout Coach Fallo. The first quarter ended with Peekskill holding a 14-13 lead. Lakeland’s Logan Crilly hit a deep 3 for a 24-18 lead with just under 3:00 before the half, which took some breath (aka yelling) from Red Devil Coach Tyrone Searight.

Like many teams, Peekskill, while it can stroke from deep, may be lacking one thing; a consistent threat from distance. Peekskill ended the half with an Amir Thames and-1, 26-22, Lakeland, and a Chavis reverse that made it 26-24.

From that point forward it was all Peekskill. Chavis, who scored nine in the third, and Isaiah Crawford scored 15 apiece and Thames added eight of his 14 in the pivotal third when the Red Devils went on a 30-6 run. Zeke ‘The Freak’ Jones added nine for the Red Devils, the current No.2 seed in Class AA.

Peekskill also worked Yonkers CSEE for a 66-33 win when Crawford (19 points), Chavis (18) and Thames (14) had their way. The Red Devils closed out the week with a commanding 76-25 league win 76-25 over Sleepy Hollow, who had no answers for Jones (17 points) and Thames (16).

SOMERS was all over host Brewster in a 63-22 beatdown, in which Tuskers (12-5) Andrew Violante (17 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals), Brady Leitner (11 points), Phil Santore (10 points), Mac Sullivan (6 points, 10 rebounds) and Nate Cohen (6 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 deflections) all had their way.

The Tuskers followed that up in Saturday’s 75-50 win over Saunders, who got shredded by Cohen (28 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists). Leitner (14 points, 6 assists), Thomas Hauser (8 points, 6 rebounds), Violante (6 points, 6 boards, 5 assists) and Chris Spano (6 points, 5 rebounds) all made plays for a dangerous Somers club nobody should sleep on after winning nine of the last 11.

Somers senior F Mac Sullivan drives for two points on Brewster senior F Matt Thompson in Tuskers’ win over host Bears Wednesday.

State-ranked (No.29) Class A BYRAM HILLS took down Class AA BREWSTER, 77-65, behind an incredible performance from All-Section senior Tyson Repa, who shredded the Bears (5-13) with 28 points, eight boards and 10 assists. Big Zach Efobi added a double-double (17 points, 15 boards) for the Bobcats (13-5), winners of six in a row. Max Miller added 10 points for Byram, which had some issues containing Brewster F Matt Thompson (24 points) and Lucas Cabiati (15 points, 3 3’s).

“We played one of our toughest games tonight,” Brewster Assistant Coach Jay Weltman said. “Matt Thompson was incredible, getting seven 3s and 24 points all in the second half. We showed an excellent effort against a very tough Byram Hills team.”

Brewster cut the Byram lead to one in the third quarter, but the Bobcats made big play after big play down the stretch. Bear Anthony Calicchia, who has been playing very well since coming back from a broken hand, scored nine points. Will Dignan ran the show for the Bears, adding nine points, seven assists and five rebounds and just one one turnover in 31 minutes of basketball.

“Although the outcome was not in our favor, the team has started to play much tougher,” Weltman said. “Byram is legit, and Repa is very, very good.”

Byram Hills also had its way with John Jay CR in a 65-45 rout earlier in the week and then finished up the week by trouncing Brewster, 67-40, on Senior Night Friday. A balanced Bobcat attack led by Arik Dreilinger (13 points), Kevin Kendall (12 points), Efobi (11 points, 10 rebounds, Repa (8 points, 8 assists, 8 boards), Miller (9 points, 6 assists) and Gent Camaj (6 points) led the way.

Haldane point guard Ross Esposito drives the right baseline past Spackenkill’s Dylan Sultzer in the second half of Saturday night’s 58-48 Blue Devil victory at Dutchess Community College.

FOX LANE wasted no time disposing of Port Chester, 67-33, behind the efforts of Kevin New (12 points, 6 assists), Arthur Shevick (14 points), James Minotti (7 points, 11 boards) and Logan Mammola (6 points, 8 rebounds) before falling to visiting Ossining (see below).

Winners of six-straight and nine of the last 10, Class A PLEASANTVILLE moved to 10-6 overall after Thursday’s 45-35 win over Class A host BRIARCLIFF. In yet another come-from-behind effort, Panther center Etai Nunberg dropped 22 points and double-digit boards, literally carrying the Panthers (10-6) throughout the first half. Declan Bruder and Aidan Picart had eight points apiece in the second half.

“It was an absolute team effort defensively in the second half,” Panther Coach Bob Jordan said. “Our guys really stepped up in the second half after a very lackluster first half. Etai had another fantastic game and scored 18 of his 22 in the first half. We challenged the kids at the half and reassigned some of their defensive responsibilities. These guys believe in themselves and work for each other. It wasn’t pretty, but they stepped up when we needed to in the fourth quarter.”

The only Panther to do any first-half damage against the Bears’ stingy defense was Nunberg, who scored over 90% of the Panthers’ points as they trailed 27-19 at the half. Luke Waller gave the Bears (4-12) a 15-9 first quarter lead off a nifty back-door cut before the Bears extended the lead to 25-13 in their finest 16 minutes of action in quite some time. A Lawlor reverse gave the Bears a 27-18 lead just before the half.

P’Ville came out strong to start the third and cut the deficit to 27-25 behind a series of moves and finishes from Picart, before a Chris D’Onofrio 3 put the Bears up 30-25. After Picart tied it at 30-all off another and-1 sequence, Luke Murray drained a deep wing trey for a 33-30 Briarcliff lead. Jordan Kratz scored in the lane just before the buzzer for the Bears, who took a 35-30 lead into the final frame.

Westlake senior Nick Castellano goes for two of his 10 points in Wildcats’ 53-40 loss to host Pleasantville.

P’Ville came roaring back when Dermot McSpedon drilled a deep 3 to make it 35-33 at 6:20 of the fourth before Nunberg hit his first bucket of the second half to tie the game at 35-all with 4:42 to go. Bruder went off in the fourth quarter, delivering an and-1 bucket at 4:04 of the fourth for a 37-35 lead the Panthers would not relinquish. He hit two more free throws for a 41-35 lead after a Nunberg floater at 3:50 and the Panthers put the finishing touches on from there when they held Briarcliff scoreless in the fourth.

P’Ville also defeated state-ranked (No.29) Class B WESTLAKE, 53-40, earlier in the week behind Nunberg’s 23 points. Bruder was cited for playing a great defense all game against a Wildcat (13-5) club led by sophomore G Marcus Jackette (15 points) and seniors Nick Castellano (10) and Michael Pagan (7).

Westlake did snap back to snap a two-game skid on Senior Night Friday in a 41-27 win over Rye Neck behind Castellano (15 points) and Jackette (13).

Pleasantville started the week with a 51-49 win over host PUTNAM VALLEY where Nunberg (19 points) and PV hotshot James Apostolico (24 points) got after it. McSpedon (11 points) and Bruder (11) provided the complementary threats to dispatch the Tigers (9-8) down the stretch. Jack Moriarty added 10 points for the Tigers, who did come away with a 57-52 win over Croton-Harmon behind 21 points from Apostolico and 13 and 12 points from Angel Munoz and Ricky Miester, respectively. Orlando Gomez led Croton with 24 points at the start of what would be a very busy week for the Tiger hotshot (see Class B below).

PV finished up the week with a 55-43 win over Pawling, who Apostolico (33 points) owned.

Make sure HENDRICK HUDSON is on your Class A radar. The Sailors (11-6), the current No.6 seed, made short work of Saunders (67-49) before winning the Gazette Cup Saturday in a 67-40 win over neighboring Croton. The Sailors, the current No.6 seed in Class A, also mopped up a short-handed Panas squad, 72-26, behind 13 points apiece from Jeremy Heady (8 boards) and Gino Wamack (6 boards). Sailor Joey Abboud did a little bit of everything in this one, scoring six points, two blocks, three rebounds, two steals and four assists while Jack Hiltsley added eight points, two assists and two steals.

Against Saunders, Wamack (18 points, 3 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals) did it all while

Hiltsley added nine points and Abboud went for eight points and a career-high 15 boards. Conor Prokopiak had six points and seven boards.

White Plains guard Miles Johnson drives the left baseline past Greeley’s Zach Boyriven during the first half of the Tigers’ lopsided win over the host Quakers. Johnson finished with nine points and seven assists as White Plains improved to 17-1 this season.

In the win over Croton, senior F Heady was named Player of the Game for the Sailors while Tigers’ Player of the Game, Orlando Gomez, who eclipsed 1,000 career points.

Class AA CARMEL defeated RCK, 68-55, Friday to follow up a 57-53 loss to John Jay EF earlier in the week. Against RCK, junior G Aiden White (20 points) paced the offense while sophomore big King Mercer went for an impressive double-double (16 points, 15 rebounds) and

Nate Antonuik (12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) had his finest showing of the the season for the Rams (5-12), who snapped a five-game skid.

“The kids have been through a lot this season and refuse to quit,” said Rams Coach Joe Loughlin, who took control of the club in mid-season. “I can’t be more proud of this group win or lose and tonight we came to win. We had a great all-around team effort. Our defense and heart carried us and we protected the ball well, limiting turnovers. We have a tough last week of games coming up and I know the guys and myself  are excited for the challenge.”

LAKELAND bounced back from a 51-47 loss to Rye by running away from rival WALTER PANAS, 62-36, in Saturday’s Giglio Games finale. The Hornets snapped a five-game losing streak.


State-ranked No.10 WHITE PLAINS is all the rage after topping host OSSINING, 56-55, Wednesday behind a fourth-quarter surge to the buzzer.

Tiger swingman Logan McCormick (17 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks), sharpshooting Jake Labrosciano (11 points), point guard Miles Johnson (9 points, 5 assists) and sophomore Nick Triolo (8 points) all delivered, especially in the second half as the Tigers improved to 17-1.

Ossining was led by Sebastian DaCosta (21 points), Asher Cort (7 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks), Isaiah Ahlers (8 points) and Mateo Taylor-Lowe (8 points, 3 boards).

“Ossining played well, and I think they are a dangerous team,” White Plains boss Spencer Mayfield admitted. “I thought we showed some real toughness under pressure late. The return of Jake Labrosciano has helped us tremendously. His big shot-making was huge.”

Briarcliff junior guard Luke Lawler tosses up a shot under the basket as Pleasantville’s Dermot McSpedon is a bit too late to stop him during Thursday afternoon’s game won by the visiting Panthers.

Labrosciano missed the first 12 games of the season with a broken finger on his shooting hand, but he now supplies the Tigers (17-1) with another consistent, deep wing threat.

“He has come up big in the Mt Vernon game as well as Ossining,” the coach said,” and the team has a lot of confidence in his shooting ability. Logan has been tremendous all season, both on offense and defensively. Nick Triolo is one of the top rising sophomores around. He has a very bright future and has a very high basketball IQ. I thought our second half defense was outstanding.”

It had to be on account of Ossining’s athletic attack, which had the Pride (10-7) up 33-25 at the half after a Franklin Santos buzzer-beater hoop. White Plains (17-1) came out of the half swinging, cutting the deficit to 45-40 at 2:00 of the third. A Labrosciano 3 made it 45-43 with :30 left in the third before DaCosta stroked two at the line to end the third at 47-43, Ossining.

Asher Court was quick to get Ossining going in the fourth, scoring at 6:50, 49-43, And Ahlers followed with another hoop as the Pride faithful erupted up 51-43 at 6:15.

Ossining had the state-ranked (No.10) Tigers on the ropes, but Labrosciano and Johnson dipped into their bag of tricks and followed up with back-to-back 3’s to make it 51-49, Ossining, at 5:29. Labrosciano tied it at 51-all off a wild sequence, and Ahlers put the Pride back up, 53-51, at 2:52. At 1:28, McCormick grabbed a rebound for a put-back to tie it at 53. Ossining’s Kris Singh, who had some huge moments in the first half, found Court open for a 55-53 lead. Ossining needed one stop to pull off the upset, but Labrosciano would have none of it, nailing the game-clinching 3-ball at :39. The aforementioned White Plains defense then caused a 3-second violation on Ossining’s final possession, allowing the Tigers got out the dodge with an enormous road win, which, coupled with Friday’s 66-44 win over Greeley and a Mamaroneck loss to Mount Vernon, catapulted White Plains to the current No.1 seed in Class AAA.

Greeley was hard-pressed to stop McCormick (17 points, 11 rebounds), Luke Brooks (11 points, 9 rebounds), Johnson (9 points, 7 assists), Daniel Herzner (9 points), Labrosciano (5 points), Triolo (5 points, 4 steals) and Brendan Locke (7 boards).

Earlier in the week, Ossining posted a 54-53 win over John Jay East Fishkill behind the scoring efforts of Singh (15 points, 10 boards), Santos (10 points) and Ahlers (10 points, 4 steals).

Ossining went on to topple host FOX LANE, 44-42, in a defensive standoff Friday. Ahlers (18 points, 6 rebounds) may have had his finest game of the season to lead the Pride, including the game-winning shot.

“He’s our captain and one of our leaders,” Ossining Coach Mike Casey said. “Ahlers took over the fourth quarter; assists, solid defense and of course big shot after big shot, including the game winner with 3.1 seconds left.

“We haven’t come out on top in some of these close games but we’ve been focusing on closing out games and situational possessions in practice and it’s paid off. This was a really good win. Being down eight with four minutes to play on the road in a league game: We gritted it out and found a way to win against a solid and well-coached Fox Lane team.”

Cort (7 points, 8 rebounds), Santos (6 points) and DaCosta (5 points) all played pivotal roles.

Fox Lane’s Arthur Shevick (18 points, 2 boards), Kevin New (15 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks), James Minotti (7 points, 3 assists, 10 boards) and Eli Daglio (3 assists, 4 rebounds) filled the stat sheet for the Foxes (11-6 overall, 11-5 in Section 1), who currently hold the No.5 seed.

The Foxes led 14-11 at the end of the first. Ahlers went coast to coast to regain the Ossining lead at 15-14, 6:19 of the second. Ahlers then hit an elbow jumper, 17-14. Kevin New hit a deep 3 to tie it, 17-all, 4:35 of the second. DaCosta hits a tough shot to make it 19-17 before Minotti, smart as he is strong, powered home two to tie it. He then drew an offensive foul and went for a put-back bucket for a 21-19 Fox lead. Akeem Williams tied it at 21-all. New was fouled and then hit three from the stripe for a 24-21 lead, which the Foxes took into the half.

Shevick dropped two sizzling 3’s to open the second half, giving the Foxes a 30-21 edge just one minute into the third. Santos answered with a 3 for Ossining, before Minotti went reverse for a pretty hoop. Schevik again, from 3, 35-27. Minotti drew a charge, the kid is a fundamentalist with a high hoops IQ.

New hit three more at the line for a 38-29 lead. DaCosta banked home a 3 at the buzzer to end the third at 38-32 to stop the bleeding and provide some hope in a tough environment.

New beat the shot clock off a wicked one-legged runner to cash out with 5:05 left and a 40-32 lead, timeout Ossining. Cort had the answer, 40-34. New was called for an offensive foul and Ossiing’s Mateo Taylor-Lowe went hard inside to make it 40-36 with 4:11 to go. Taylor-Lowe went back to the line at 3:08 and hit one, 40-37. Ahlers made a power move for a potential ane-1, misses, 40-39. Ahlers, a special player, drilled a 3 and spotted Ossining just its second lead of the game, 42-40, at 2:04.

Minotti drew a foul at 1:34 and hit 1, 42-41, Ossining then got a timeout off an offensive rebound at 31.6. Ossining, at line, missed both, and possession off a jump ball went to Fox Lane. New drew a foul with 9.3 left, but missed the first and then tied it at 42 but Ahlers, incredibly, went to the bank for a 44-42 lead with 3.1 seconds left. The Foxes ran an awkward in-bound and did not get off a decent attempt at the buzzer.

“Tough loss, we didn’t execute and make winning plays down the stretch,” Fox Lane Coach Mike Tomassi said. “Credit to Ossining for stepping up and making plays to win the game. You hope it helps us in the long run. We are one of the few AA teams that have played a AAA schedule and the top teams in AA. We will be battle tested but need to play Fox Lane style of ball over the next couple weeks to make a deep run.”

Fox Lane drew nothing but respect from Ossining.

“Fox Lane came out red hot from the third,” Casey said. “Shevick had three 3s. We made an adjustment because we had to and settled in a little. The fourth quarter was the difference. We held them to four points. Our players dug in and played well defensively.  We got a big 3 by DaCosta to end the third, and two more big 3’s by Santos in the 3rd to answer a Fox Lane run. It was a team effort against a really good team.”


From the “records-are-meant-to-be-broken” department, CROTON’s Orlando Gomez had the finest scoring night in Tiger history, breaking “Downtown” Freddie Brown’s school record – set in 1957 – when Gomez torched North Salem for 52, count ‘em, 52 points in Croton’s 74-42 win over visiting North Salem Thursday.

Croton (8-10) Coach Ben Martucci was in awe of the effort from start to finish as Gomez broke a 67-year record that Brown had set moons before the three-point line was introduced. Gomez had 33 points at halftime and also tied the school record with nine made three-pointers.

“He couldn’t miss,” Martucci said of Gomez. “He was unconscious. I’m speechless. I have never seen anything like that in Class B basketball in Section 1. His three-point shots were not even touching the rim, nothing but net.”

Gomez, who went on to score the 1,000th point of his career (and counting) in Saturday’s loss to Hen Hud, joined some rarified 1,000-point air, forming ‘The Fantastic 4’: Ian Thom (2013), Nick DiMaggio (2006) and Greg Muller (2000). Having covered them all, we can assure it as a class of Croton dignitaries.

Class B VALHALLA won its second in a row in a 43-39 win over Rye Neck behind Mikaele Martinez (10 points) and Rob Foisset (9). Julian Amorosa scored eight points in the pivotal fourth quarter, but the Vikings (7-12) could not keep the train rolling in a devastating 68-67 setback to Blind Brook despite a career game from Amorosa (33 points, 11 boards) and a solid game from Martinez (9 points, 10 boards).


HALDANE, winners in five of the last six, rolled over North Salem, 68-41, behind a monster night from Matt Nachamkin, who led the state-ranked (No.4) Blue Devils (13-3) with 35 points.

“We had a great team defensive effort,” Haldane Coach Joe Virgadamo said.

Haldane followed that league win up with a 58-48 win over Section 9’s Spackenkill at the IAABO Officials vs. Cancer event at Dutchess Community College Saturday when Nachamkin (26 points), Ross Esposito (15) and Mike Murray (9) paced the attack.

“It was just another phenomenal defensive effort,” the coach said.

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