The Class A seeds were just about to fall into place on Thursday night when one of the bigger surprises of the season came across your Twitter feed:
Harrison 60, Byram Hills 57 – Final.
Byram Hills went into the night as the No. 1 seed in Class A and projected to finish no worse than No. 2 if it swept its back to back with a Harrison squad that entered 8-10 but winners of 4 of 5.
But the Huskies stifled Byram Hills from the start, holding them to four first-quarter points, to start a frustrating night for the Bobcats from the field.
“The key tonight was our defense,” Harrison coach Gary Chiarella said. “We never let Byram get comfortable. Obviously, they are a great team, but we wanted to dictate the pace of the game.”
Luke McCarthy led Harrison with 25 points and Tyler Menniti added 12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The late-season surge for the Huskies is what they hope will be a repeat of last season when they stormed into the postseason and, as a No. 24 seed, won two playoff games.
“Not sure about the late run, but we are a better scoring team then last year,” Chiarella said. “And Luke McCarthy has been awesome. One of the most underrated players around.”
Skylar Sinon scored 23 points to lead Byram Hills (13-6), which dropped from No. 1 to 5 in the latest Bracketology projections on KDJMedia.com.
“We need everyone to contribute to win,” Chiarella said. “Tyler Menniti his defense on Sinon was great. Alex Siapanides stretches the defense out and Austin Evans does all the big man dirty work. Undersized but nobody has a bigger heart.”
Meanwhile, down the road in Rye, the Garnets’ win over Pelham, coupled with Byram Hills’ loss, opened the door for at least a share of the league championship. The Rye BBall Twitter account was well prepared:
— Rye Basketball (@ryebball) February 9, 2018
Harrison travels to play at Byram Hills on Friday in the season finale for both squads.
Five Takeaways from Thursday’s Games:
1. Mount Vernon can be beat. But can they be beat again? So many teams, when the game is on the line, are going to inevitably back down from Mount Vernon. Scarsdale just doesn’t seem to be oe of them. The Raiders did what some thought was impossible on Thursday: go on the road and take down the defending Class AA state champs and the state’s No. 1 ranked team. Nash Goldman scored 34 points in the Section 1 final rematch in one of the year’s top performances. Perhaps this was what Mount Vernon needed entering the postseason. And remember the fact the Knights were down two starters with Demetre Roberts and Brandon Scott sidelined by injury. Beating Mount Vernon in early February is a feat. Doing it in early March, however, is far tougher.
2. The Rockland County AA teams are going to be a problem in the playoffs. With all due respect to the Southern Westcheter league, the six Class AA teams in Rockland County comprised the best game-in, game-out competition of any league in Section 1. And all of them, even Ramapo (6-14), are going to cause potential chaos in the playoffs. Clarkstown Souith wrapped up the league title with a win on Thursday over Ramapo. But North Rockland, which held on to beat Clarkstown North, shows flashes of brilliance. Spring Valley is a nightmare matchup athletically. North has one of the region’s most dynamic players in Nick Ovchinnikoff. Suffern and Ramapo have each had their moments this season and can take down any team. When filling out your brackets, if you want to take a gamble on a lower seed, go with any of the Rockland County schools.
3. League champions decided. Arlington took down Mahopac in an all-or-nothing league finale and Reuben Greene led the Admirals with 16 points. Panas and Hen Hud clinched their respective league titles outright with wins on Thursday. Find all league scenarios and champions here.
4. Peekskill’s Shion Darby eclipsed 1,000 points. It’s been a difficult season at Peekskill but Darby has been a major bright spot. The senior point guard scored the 1,000 point of his career on Thursday, sinking a free throw in an eventual 63-50 loss to Hen Hud. While Darby ranks among the area’s most underrated players, the Sailors are surging behind Kyle James (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Mekhi Gray (18 and 11).
5. Putnam Valley vs. Panas on Saturday could sway Bracketology significantly. Panas, with its 10th straight win and 12th in a row vs. Section 1, catapulted to the No. 2 seed in Class A on Thursday with its win over John Jay-Cross River. Put Valley currently sits atop the Class standings. These teams meet in their finales on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Put Valley in wnat could be a game that seriously shapes the top of each standings.