White Plains, Yorktown, Peekskill, Byram, Hen Hud, Haldane Still Kicking

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Final 4’s Galore Upcoming, Westlake Falls in Semis

By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports editor @Directrays

The road to the Westchester County Center hardwood has been paved and the Final 4’s were littered with eight Examiner-area boys’ teams in Classes AAA (White Plains), AA (Yorktown, Peekskill), A (Byram Hills, Hen Hud), B (Westlake) and C (Haldane).

The surface will be anything but smooth from this point forward as the speed bumps and potholes will be tough to navigate as state-ranked powers and upstart Cinderella’s were seeking their pot of gold, the coveted gold ball. Here’s a look at what went down.


Quarterfinal Thursday saw top-seeded YORKTOWN and No.2 PEEKSKILL both prevail and advance to the Final 4

State-ranked (No.10) Yorktown (ranked No.5 among teams eligible for the NYSPHSAA tourney) advanced via a 45-38 victory over No.8 FOX LANE, which had very little in its defensive arsenal to stop All-Section Husker senior Brandon Montero, who dropped a career-high 24 points on the Foxes, adding eight boards to boot.

Senior wing Billy Feeks added 12 points and junior Kaden Gonzalez hit seven clutch points in the second half and added six rebounds.

The Foxes gave the Huskers fits but lost to Yorktown in the quarters for the second year in a row. Fox Lane was led by Kevin New (12 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds), Arthur Shevick (16 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds), James Minotti (2 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists), Logan Mammola (2 points, 9 rebounds) and Eli Daglio (5 points).

Yorktown, a league champion for the first time since 2009,  advanced to today’s semifinal at the Westchester County Center where it will take on No.4 Suffern, a 46-44 quarterfinal winner over No.5 SOMERS.

Montero (17 PPG) scored the game’s first six points and Feeks added another hoop for an 8-2 lead before the Foxes called a timeout to settle down, but Montero scored out of the break for a 10-2 lead.

“Brandon did a great job tonight playing under control and within the offense,” Yorktown Coach Mark Pavella said. “He’s a great athlete, and finishes so well around the rim.  It was a really good defensive effort tonight from the entire team.”

A Daglio 3 stopped the bleeding and Shevick followed with another off a catch-and-shoot from distance to make it 10-8 at the end of one. Shevick capped a 9-0 Fox Lane run for an 11-10 lead at 7:03 of the second. Montero hit consecutive buckets before Shevick dialed up another bomb for an 18-14 Fox Lane lead. But Montero and Feeks combined to score the next six points and take a 21-18 halftime lead the Huskers would not relinquish.

After another Shevick hoop to open the third, Montero and Justin Price gave the Huskers a 25-20 edge at 5:36. Yorktown then capped a 14-4 run with a corner 3 from Feeks for a 28-22 lead. New made it 28-24 before Gonzalez got on the score sheet, Montero followed suit and Feeks finished with a steal and two at the stripe for a 32-24 lead heading into the fourth.

Shevick sparked the Foxes (13-9) from distance to cut the lead to 32-27, but Montero went behind the arc and answered yet again for a 34-27 lead at 6:50. Feeks scored from Price and Montero powered up inside for a 38-27 lead. A Daglio bucket cut it to 38-31 at 2:50. Yorktown hit 5 of 8 from the stripe in the waning seconds to seal the deal.

“We fought hard and did a great job to make it a game,” Fox Lane Coach Mike Tomassi said. “They are very good, and I thought we did a nice job making them work. Montero is tough! We tried our best but he was too tough for us. Give him credit. We were a couple of baskets and a stop away.

“Shevick did what he does best,” the coach added. “He finished the season with 84 3’s! Which I believe is unbelievable. Kevin New and James Minotti were great all year. I am proud of this group, we lost 5 starters from last year and replaced them with a lot of unproven players. To win 13 games with a very tough schedule and to go to Yorktown again and battle them shows the state of our program. We will be back next year.”

Among the most consistent programs in the section; they always are.

The PEEKSKILL vs. Poughkeepsie game featured two old rivals, which oftentimes battled in the Red Devils’ heyday, including a 1997 battle that saw the Pioneers go “Hack-a-Shaq” on Peekskill great Elton Brand in the upset of the year when Poughkeepsie dethroned the two-time reigning state champion Red Devils.

This time, the state-ranked (No.13) Red Devils (21-1) prevailed, 59-50, behind a superbly balanced effort led by All-Section point forward Jayden Chavis, who scored 21 points, including eight in the final stanza. Mighty Amir Thames came out piping hot and finished with 11 points, six in a sizzling first quarter.

Chavis spotted the Red Devils a 24-9 lead, but the Pioneers emerged from their first-quarter slumber to make it 26-18 before Chavis stuck another from distance for a 29-18 lead. The Red Devils took a 31-20 lead into the half.

A slow start to the third quarter allowed Poughkeepsie to climb within five, 33-28, at 4:06. Isaiah Crawford (8 points), who was clutch down the stretch in more ways than one, hit a reverse layup for a 35-28 lead. Thames scored three the old fashioned way, and-1 for a 38-28 lead before the Pioneers went on a 9-1 run to close out the third at 39-37.

Travis Brown (9 points) showed his leadership skills in the fourth, draining a couple of big shots and Zeke Jones (7 points) scored off an inbound for a 50-44 lead at 3:40. Crawford scored four clutch points – at 2:15 and 2:06 – and added a key steal for a 56-48 lead.

“It’s everyone giving all we got to get Peekskill back on top,’ said Red Devil Coach Tyrone Searight; the right man, at the right time, for the right job. “No excuses!”

It’s been 11 years since the Red Devils reached the County Center Final 4 and the only thing standing between them and their first sectional title since 2009 is No.6 Eastchester in today’s semifinal and the Yorktown/Suffern winner in Saturday’s 7:15 p.m. finals.

The 2023 sectional runner-up SOMERS will look back on its last three years with much pride, but the last three seconds of its 2024 campaign with much chagrin. The Tuskers’ (15-7) last possession, which resulted in an unforced turnover in the waning seconds, made it tough to head back across the Tappan Zee Bridge, knowing the Tuskers let one get away. A simple matter of miscommunication between lifelong teammates resulted in Somers never getting a crack to tie or win the game with 13.4 left.

“That last play was a doozy, it’s not on them, it’s on me as a coach,” Somers boss James Loughran said. “We ran it wrong, and in tight spots that’s what happened this year. It was a lack of detail in big big moments. I should have made sure they left that timeout knowing fully what had to be done.

“We hurt ourselves at times,” the coach admitted. “It was us against us at one point and it was hard to see it unfold like that because of where we got up to that point. It was an emotional end to say the least. I hurt for those seniors who deserved one more shot. They fought through so much all year. Was just a shot to the gut of how it ended.”

Tusker senior Mac Sullivan pulled up strong for an and-1 3-point play at 2:42 of the fourth, making it 41-40 Suffern. All-Conference Tusker senior Andrew Violante hit two at the line to make it 43-42, Suffern, which followed with a few clutch shots at the stripe to ice the Tuskers (15-7), who were led by  Violante (19 points); Nate Cohen (11 points) and Brady Leitner (7 points).

After shocking No.3 Mahopac in the opening round, No.19 BREWSTER lost a tough game to No.6 Eastchester, 78-65, despite a team-high 22 points from Lucas Cabiati. All-Conference senior Matt Thompson added 16 for the Bears (7-16) while junior Will Dignan added 11.

Five Bears will take their game to the next level on March 1 as they challenge one another for the honorable Mr. Brewster cause. Seniors Lucas Cabiati, Anthony Calicchia, Kevin Fox, Colin Lamoreaux and Thompson are the participants, fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis, a cause important to the McPartland family and the Brewster Bears. Former Bear Brian McPartland battled Cystic Fibrosis while taking the court each and every day. He still takes time to speak with the BHS SALTY Hands club members as well as the Mr. Brewster participants to share what it’s like to live with and battle CF. Brian also thanks those attending the Mr. Brewster Spectacular because the funds raised over the years by the Brewster community, and more specifically from the Mr. Brewster Spectacular, have helped fund the development of drug therapies that Brian and over 40,000 others battling CF benefit from today.


Second-seeded host WHITE PLAINS, ranked No.10 in NYS (No.2 among teams in the NYSPHSAA), looked as bad as Coach Spencer Mayfield’s Tigers (20-1) had looked all year during the first quarter of their quarterfinal clash with No.9 John Jay EF. The Patriots took advantage of some extremely sloppy first-quarter play by the Tigers, taking a 16-point lead, 26-10, into the second quarter.

It was as shocking as anything we’ve seen in Section 1 this season, but the Tigers, a strong mix of veterans and rookies, came together over the final three quarters to take an 86-67 decision, which advanced White Plains to Wednesday’s (8:15 p.m.) Final 4 clash with fifth-seeded rival Mount Vernon at the Westchester County Center.

“I think the squad took the strong start by John Jay as well as any high school team could,” White Plains Coach Spencer Mayfield said. “They never lost composure and really played great defense in the second half to put us back up.”

The entire unit overcame a poor start that had the Tiger faithful stunned but not overly concerned because they knew seniors Miles Johnson (20 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds), Logan McCormick (19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists), Luke Brooks  (16 points, 10 boards),

Jake LaBrosciano (11 points) and Daniel Herzner (11 points, 14 rebounds) would do their part, along with sophomore G Nick Triolo (7 points, 7 assists), who pumped home a massive and-1 finish for a 74-62 lead at 3:51 of the fourth.

The Tigers put the first quarter behind them by nailing three 3’s to open the second, cutting the deficit to 26-19 before McCormick cut it to 26-21. However, John Jay scored the next four points before Herzner stopped the bleeding at 3:35, 30-23, and Patriot hotshot Gayvn Pacheco was a pest throughout, providing a 36-28 lead at 1:13 of the second, and a 38-30 halftime edge.

McCormick opened the third quarter with a pair of dunks and Johnson found the Midas touch, swishing and dishing regularly. Brooks assumed a key paint presence, handing the Tigers their first lead, 39-38, at 5:30. Brooks followed off a miss for a 48-43 lead and the Tigers were well on their way, triggered in part by Triolo, who made two key steals and converted. Johnson ended the third with a tough floater for a 56-54 lead going into the fourth when he simply put the club on his back: a put-back for a 60-56 lead; a 3 at 7:00 for a 63-56 edge; and consecutive dishes to Brooks for a 67-56 lead at 6:10. After a Triolo and-1 at 3:51, Brooks scored four more points with Johnson and McCormick helping out on a 16-6 run to close it out and advance.

“Luke was a force in the paint all game and had big finishes,” the coach added. “I thought Miles Johnson was the best player on the court tonight. He got an early foul and was able to still compete and contribute when the game was getting ugly for us early. Proud of his strong leadership and his defense and offensive effort. Jake LaBrosciano continues to hit big shots for us off the bench And Daniel Herzner, 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points, gave us a real balanced attack, and Logan was great offensively and defensively.”

OSSINING is still searching for its first Final 4 trip in over 40 years after the sixth-seeded Pride (12-9) fell, 53-47, to No.3 host New Rochelle Friday. Ossining’s shots were not falling as Coach Mike Casey had hoped they would. Acalan Fauntleroy (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks), Kris Singh (9 points, 3 boards) and Sebastian DaCosta (8 points) paced the Pride.


No.4 BYRAM HILLS advanced to the Final 4 after its 67-50 quarterfinal romp of No.5 Ardsley.

The state-ranked (No.21) Bobcats (16-6) went up 27-12 at the half and cruised to the County Center behind a career-high 26 points from G Chris Amenedo. The Bobcats are just about fixtures as the Final 4 since Coach Ted Repa’s program turned the corner and never looked back in 2011. Since then, Byram has reached nine Section 1 Final 4’s (10 if you include the 2021 Covid regional title), winning it all in 2011 and 2016.

“We’ve mixed in a few duds from time to time, but the boys are playing really well right now,” Repa said of the peaking Bobcats, winners of nine of the last 10.

Byram senior swingman Tyson Repa added 14 points, including the 1,000th career point of his storied career. He added eight boards and so much more during a lifetime of Bobcat hoops.

“We’re very proud of him,” Coach Repa said. “It hasn’t always been easy – for all these

kids – especially losing much of freshman year to Covid. I think hitting that milestone is especially meaningful to Tyson, who has been coming to Byram Hills basketball games since the day he was born. He grew up idolizing our former legends. Playing for Byram Hills has been what’s in his heart all along, and to accomplish all he has so far for this school means a lot.

Hopefully we’re not done. To finish with a Gold Ball would be a perfect ending.”

Byram C Zach Efobi, a walking double-double, added  12 points, 20 boards and five blocks. When Efobi scored at 6:50 of the third and Repa dipped in from the wing for a triple at 5:00, the Bobcats had opened up a 38-20 and the rout was officially on, and all eyes had turned toward top-seeded, state-ranked (No.8) Pearl River.

Many would argue that Byram and Pearl River should be a battle for the gold ball, but nobody mentioned that to sixth-seeded HEN HUD, which upset No.3 host Hastings, 57-53, on the opposite side of the bracket last Wednesday.

All-Section Sailor G Gino Wamack went for 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists while sidekick Jeremy Heady added 14 points, nine boards and four assists. Conor Prokipiak (13 points, 3 boards, 2 steals) has emerged as a third consistent threat for the Sailors (15-7) while versatile Joey Abboud added nine points and four boards.

“I can’t say enough about this team,” Sailor skipper Jordan Hirsch said. “They are truly a one-of-a-kind group. They are the type of group that make you realize why you got into coaching in the first place. I’m thrilled for them to be able to validate their effort and belief with a county center bid.”

The Sailors will face a second-seeded Rye club they are quite familiar with, having defeated the Garnets 54-51 in the opening round of the Westlake tournament just after Christmas. Wamakc was spectacular in that tourney, taking home MVP honors. The Garnets are sure to lock him up in last night’s semifinal.

“It’s not a secret that Gino is a really dynamic playmaker, he makes very difficult basketball plays look routine,” Hirsch said. “Hastings did a very good job keeping tabs on him. I’m proud of Gino as he navigated the coverage that was thrown at him and he made winning plays down the stretch. Jeremy answered the bell and came through with some huge makes for us when we needed it. He also played the best defensive game I’ve seen him play. Conor played as well as he ever has, and I’m so happy for him that he was able to showcase the game we know he has on that stage. It’s also important to note that Joey Abboud anchors the middle of our defense and had a really difficult task in handling two of the more physical bigs that we saw this year. A lot of the rebounds that others get are because of Joey clearing a path to the ball. We also got great defensive effort and sound ball handling from Jack Hiltsley as well as crucial minutes from Justin Parkes and Nas Emery off the bench. The bench energy was as high as ever, which is saying a lot because it’s a party on our bench every game.

“It may sound cliche, but I believe in cliches when they’re appropriate; our whole team made an impact in the win,” the coach added. “Watching this team celebrate and also have an eye on what’s next was one of the best moments I’ve ever had in coaching, they more than deserve that moment and more. We’re all happy to be able to continue our season and have a chance to keep it going in the mecca.”


WESTLAKE saw its great run to the County Center Final 4 come to a halt when the Wildcats fell, 63-54, to top-seeded and state-ranked (No.19) Woodlands Saturday. All-Section Falcon swingman Eric Woodbury unleashed 21 of his game-high 33 points in the first half, leading to a 32-21 halftime lead. The kid never took his foot off the gas and the Wildcats simply didn’t have enough range on the perimeter to contain him, and his savvy play inside – coupled with the paint presence of Charles-Barkley-like junior F Jamison Stevens (16 points) – was an additional issue. Wildcat senior Nick Castellano played out of his mind to keep Westlake in striking distance. The All-Section forward popped like Orville Reddenbacher, scoring a team-high 23 points in all, including a string of 12 points from the start of the third to its midway point, bringing the Wildcats within eight, at 41-33. After a pair of Marcus Jackette hoops and one more point at the line from CJ Prosperino, Westlake trailed 44-38 at the end of three.

When Wildcat Michael Pagan swished a 3-ball off the wing with 5:31 to play, the Wildcats were within three, but it was tough to keep the Falcons off the glass where the game was won and/or lost. Jackette (12 points), Pagan (8 points), Prosperino (7 points) and Brayden Lingeza (6 points) all found the stat sheet for a Wildcat club that should be praised for another great season under the Charney Chums, Coach Chad and his assistant, and dad, Jeff; Section 1 lore, indeed.

“If it weren’t for a ridiculous individual effort from Woodbury, who knows,” said Westlake Coach Chad Charney, who, in 2020, led the Wildcats to the County Center for the first time since 1978. “The kid hit four NBA 3’s on us. If he continues to play like that, they’ll not only win the section but challenge for the state. He was everywhere.”

Including the glass, where he and Stephens helped the Falcons grab 16 offensive boards, a bunch coming late in the second quarter during a 10-0 run to close the half. The Bobcats knew they needed to be better there and at the stripe where they connected on just 7 of 16.

“And yet we still had a shot, down three, with five to go,” Charney said. “Nick (Castellano) did a tremendous job keeping us in the game in the third quarter. He kind of showcased his skills at the County Center and in the quarterfinals to get us there. He and Pagan have been with me since they were sophomores. They are special kids. We’ve spent so much time together.”

Westlake advanced to the County Center after its 60-55 win over visiting No.5 Blind Brook Tuesday when Castellano (23 points) put his All-Section skills to work. Jackette (14 points) and Brayden Lingeza (9 points) chipped while Michael Pagan (8 points) and CJ Prosperino (4 points) wiped the glass clean.

Punches were exchanged early and often in this one. With the score tied 5-5, Jackette jacked up from distance to cap a 7-2 run for a 12-7 Wildcat lead at 3:25 of the first. The Trojans responded with consecutive hoops to end the first quarter with a 15-14 lead after Castellano provided the Wildcats a 14-11 edge. The writing was on the wall and this one would be a wire-to-wire run with the Wildcats clinging to a 25-24 halftime edge.

In a pair of Class B quarterfinal losses by Examiner-area teams, No. 2 Hamilton eliminated No.7 CROTON-HARMON, 66-46, despite strong offensive showings from Gavin Dugan and Orlando Gomez, who led the Tigers (9-12) with 19 points apiece.

The year-long reign of former sectional champion VALHALLA was expunged by No.3 Dobbs Ferry, 74-64. Eagle sophomore Anthony Ficarrotta (24 points, 6 boards), a 6’6” swingman sensation, was too much to handle for the Vikings (8-13) despite a game-high 31 points from Julian Amarosa and another 22 from Mikaele Martinez, which could not offset the dominance of Eagle sophomore sensation Anthony Ficarrotta (24 points, 6 boards) and a balanced Dobbs attack.

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