Yorktown Pulls Away from Hen Hud; Lakeland, Panas Advance
Somers Trounces C. North; Put Valley Upsets Westlake; Carmel, Ossining Ousted
By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
The road to the gold ball veered off course for the locals along the Class AA scene with both OSSINING and CARMEL getting eliminated in the first round of postseason play, but the results were far better in Class A/B where all the locals survived and advanced their respective outbracket and/or first round action.
YORKTOWN sophomore G Billy Feeks doesn’t need a whole lot of time or space to get into a good shooting groove, and when he finds his stroke, he’s tough to stop. Given the time and space he needed in transition, Feeks drained three-straight 3-balls to bust open a six-point halftime lead en route to the 16th-seeded Huskers’ 55-37 Class A outbracket win over visiting No.17 Hen Hud last Friday.
“I was able to get into such a rhythm by my teammates looking to get me shots and pushing the ball in transition,” Feeks said of his shooting display.” They know I only need one to get myself going, so all credit to them.”
Feeks finished with 15 points and G Antonie Coles added eight for Yorktown (11-10), who advanced to face No.1 Tappan Zee today. Husker senior C Eddie Brucaj added six points and 11 boards while sophomore G Justin Price went for six points, five rebounds and five assists in a well-rounded presentation of his skills.
“We were able to get out in transition and shoot with some confidence and made some big shots tonight,” Yorktown Coach Mark Pavella said.
The Sailors didn’t have their best shooting night and without a major game from their guards Hen Hud stood little chance, but an 11-win season is nothing to sneeze at.
No.13 LAKELAND won its fifth straight game – a 66-45 rout of Albertus Magnus – advancing to today’s opening round against host MAHOPAC, which, as the No.4 seed, did not have an outbracket game and had plenty of time to prepare for a Hornet club that witnessed the prime-time play of G Chris Whyte-Luciano, who dropped a team-high 22 points and nailed four from distance.
When Lakeland (12-9) is hitting from beyond the arc, they are lethal and junior F Logan Shiland was the proof in the pudding, stroking five treys and sinking 21 points overall. Something tells us both fan bases will turn out and turn up the heat today at 5 p.m. There was a time back in the day when Lakeland vs. Mahopac was all we needed to see to circle the date #BorderWars! And then the ladies will do it all over again in Friday’s 5 p.m. quarterfinal between the No.4 host Indians and the fifth-seeded Hornets #LetsDoThis.
No.14 SOMERS was another Class A club to survive the outbracket round and reach the Sweet 16 after a 61-39 pouncing of No.19 Clarkstown North.
Somers junior G Matt Fitzsimons crushed it. The silky shooter dropped a game-high 24 points and snagged an additional 13 caroms. He drilled four 3-pointers and the Tuskers (13-8) found little resistance while building a 34-5 halftime lead. Mighty Christian McGrane added 11 points, five rebounds and six assists while speedy guards Bennett and Brady Leitner added nine points apiece.
“We stayed in the moment mentally and we never quit on each other,” Fitzsimons said.
Fitz-Magic believes the Tuskers have some staying power as they advance to face No.3 Byram Hills in today’s opening round (5 p.m.).
“The team is ready to go,” he said.
No.8 WALTER PANAS found little push back from No.25 Gorton in its 81-22 trouncing of the Wolves, who had no answers for Panther reserve Jerry Smallwood, who scored a career-high 14 points. Panthers Alex Tavarez and Maleek McNeil added 12 points apiece as Panas (15-6) advanced to today’s opening round against visiting No.9 Pearl River (13-7), which finds itself embroiled in the controversy surrounding its racially-based issues due to its fan base having been held to account for sensitive matters currently under investigation by school and section officials.
Panas will need its best effort going forward as they will head across the Hudson to Rockland County where No.1 Tappan Zee lies in wait for a potentially riveting quarterfinal.
No.27 PEEKSKILL’s season ended in a 69-28 setback to No.6 Eastchester. Isaiah Crawford scored 10 points to lead the Red Devils (3-18), which has become a shell of its past.
No.6 OSSINING had its heart ripped out in a stunning buzzer-beating loss to No.11 Scarsdale, which survived a 63-61 when Carlos Rodriguez dropped a 3-pointer from distance to offset another incredible performance from Pride (13-8) senior G Jaeden Carr went for a game-high 26 points and six rebounds. Vinny Bernardo, who spotted the Pride a short-lived lead in the waning moments, added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Pride while teammate Dominique Bautista had eight points and eight rebounds and hit two free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining to give the Pride a 61-60 lead.
Like Ossining, No.10 CARMEL suffered a last-minute 44-42 loss to No.7 host Clarkstown South, which saw Mike Holder hit the winning bucket to snap a 42-all tie with nine seconds remaining. Ram F Nick DiLeo had another great effort and fell one rebound shy of yet another double-double (21 points, 9 rebounds). F Randy Aboagye (11 points, 13 rebounds) notched a double-double for Carmel, which finished 12-9. G Kevin Dall (6 points, 7 boards) and G Andrew Fiore (4 points, 5 rebounds) were solid contributors.
No.9 PUTNAM VALLEY’s 54-50 win over No.8 host Westlake wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill playoff win. It was about restoring the luster on a prideful program and building for a potentially bright future. Putnam Valley senior G Tommy Calicchio (10 points) made the play of his three-year varsity career when he picked off an inbound pass under Westlake’s hoop with 2.6 seconds left and his team up two, 52-50. He then iced the win with two free throws for the final margin.
“We were expecting the pass to be somewhere near the hoop,” Calicchio said, “so I angled myself to see the court and the passer. After about three seconds, I decided to put pressure on the ball because I knew he had to get a pass in and that’s when I got the steal. We have been practicing situations like this to prepare and it showed. We were able to get the final stop and win the game.”
When we mentioned the future is potentially bright, we bring up freshman F Nate “Big Baby” Shillingford, who led the Tigers (10-10) with 17 points and a never-say-never approach. Junior F Sean Holzman added 13 points, including two pivotal 3-balls down the stretch.
“Honestly that was a huge game for us and that win showed how hard we work and how when we trust each other we can do anything,” senior G and four-year veteran Cole Durocher said. “Moving on to the quarterfinals is amazing, it really feels like we can shock the section and make a run for the gold ball. My past four years playing we haven’t made it past the first round, so this is awesome right now.”
Putnam Valley will be at No.1 Bronxville (17-4) for Friday’s 5 p.m. quarterfinal. Ironically, it was a six-point loss to the Broncos in early January that turned Coach Al Morales’ Tigers around, all but erasing a dismal 1-8 start. PV has gone 9-2 since, losing twice to state-ranked (No.5) HALDANE (18-2), which will play host to No.4 Leffell in the Class C semis on March 1 at 5 p.m.
Ray has 33 years experience covering and photographing local sports in Westchester and Putnam counties, including everything from Little League/Travel Baseball to varsity high school prep sports and collegiate coverage. He has been a sports editor at Examiner Media since its inception in 2007.
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