Inside the Outbrackets: Ramapo rallies, Ardsley dominates, more
There were 14 Outbracket games in the Section 1 Boys Basketball Tournament on Wednesday night. The higher seed won 11 of them. And none of the other 3 would remotely be regarded as upsets.
Valentine’s Day went about as expected for basketball lovers. And now the tournament really begins.
As the Class A teams now have a day in between the Outbracket and Opening Round and Class AA next plays on Saturday, let’s take an inside look back at each of the 14 games from Wednesday:
INSIDE THE OUTBRACKETS: CLASS AA
RAMAPO 60, KETCHAM 56 (OT)
The game of the day belonged to Ramapo, one of the best stories of the second half of the season. The Gryphons opened the season with a 3-13 record and was destined to fall well short of the postseason. But two league wins over North Rockland completely turned their fates and, with a Bonus Point bonanza, Ramapo got into the postseason.
And they’re moving on.
Almost following the same timeline of their season, No. 19 Ramapo was down 14 points in the third quarter to No. 15 Ketcham before rallying to force overtime. The Gryphons went ahead by 1 before Ketcham reclaimed the lead with 6 seconds to play. Anthony Simon was fouled shooting for a 3 for Ramapo with 0.5 seconds left. Simon missed the first 2.
“Simon is a great free throw shooter,” Ramapo coach Steve Loescher said. “When he missed the first two, I thought he had the next.”
Simon did, but not without a little bit of drama. The free throw hit off the back of rim, went straight into the net and fell through to tie the game and force OT.
“When that third one went up in the air, I think my heart stopped for a second,” Loescher said.
“I told the guys with 10 minutes left that players makes plays and if you guys don’t step up we are done. We then played four different defenses and made plays down the stretch. Guys believed in one another. We made a major defensive effort in the final quarter and overtime.”
Franc Wilson led Ramapo with 18 points, Elijah Fenton had 15 and Brian Aldeus added 13.
Next: No. 18 Ramapo (7-14) at No. 2 Clarkstown South (15-5), Saturday. South beat Ramapo twice in the regular season — 60-32 on Feb. 8 and 58-44 on Jan. 23.
WHITE PLAINS 71, JOHN JAY-EF 66
White Plains opened its season with a win over John Jay-East Fishkill. And the Tigers extended it with a victory on Wednesday.
The 17th-seeded Tigers went on the road and beat Jay 71-66 to earn a third matchup with rival and top-seeded Mount Vernon. Miles Hardy led White Plains with 24 points and Eisiah Murphy added 18. Patrick Wynne contributed 15.
Justin Long dropped 34 for Jay in the loss.
Next up: No. 17 White Plains (7-14) at No. 1 Mount Vernon (18-2), Saturday. Mount Vernon swept the season series with White Plains — 82-64 on Feb. 2 and 92-84 on Jan. 18.
OSSINING 65, YORKTOWN 61
Ossining was one of those teams this season that seemed to be in every game in the fourth quarter this season. The Pride entered the playoffs with 10 wins to show for it. It easily could have been 14.
“We’ve been inconsistent finishing games this year,” Ossining coach Mike Casey said. “It’s something we’ve been working on in practice.”
The work, and experience of tight late-game drama, paid dividends for the 14th-seeded Pride on Wednesday. They withstood a fourth-quarter comeback from league rival No. 19 Yorktown and came away with a 65-61 win.
Jacob Toppin recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the win. Jaeden Carr added 16 points, Jahmad Thomas scored 13 and Latress Goss chipped in with 9.
“I knew with Yorktown having five seniors, they would be ready to play,” Casey said. “Every time we started to pull away, they clawed back. I believed in our kids and they came through.”
Next: No. 14 Ossining (11-10) plays at No. 3 Mamaroneck (16-4), Saturday at 5 p.m. They did not meet in the regular season.
INSIDE THE OUTBRACKETS: CLASS A
ARDSLEY 42, NANUET 23
As a group that suffered an early postseason exit last year, the Panthers entered Wednesday as a team focused. And one with a plan.
Eight-seeded Ardsley spent a few days leading into the matchup with No. 25 Nanuet installing a zone defense geared to containing senior big man Anthony Serrano.
“It was a standard zone,” Panthers coach Sean Cappiello said. “It was Julian McGarvey’s job to stay behind (Serrano) and it was Zeke Blauner‘s job to front him wherever he went, and we trapped him whenever he caught the ball. It became more of a halfcourt trap.”
The gameplan produced one of the best defensive halves of basketball Ardsley has played all season. They allowed just eight points in the first two quarters en route to a 42-23 win at home.
Sean Casey had 13 points and Julian McGarvey added 11 as Ardsley coasted to a fifth straight win.
“Most of the credit goes to the guys,” Cappiello said. “The kids did a great job of being coachable and executing the game plan. It was kind of something we just drew up and said ‘Let’s stay in it as long as it works.’ We wound up playing it most of the game.”
Next: No. 9 Somers (13-8) at No. 8 Ardsley (14-7), Friday. Expect a tough and physical matchup here between these two teams that did not meet in the regular season.
SOMERS 57, SLEEPY HOLLOW 43
Injuries to any starter hurt. But losing a point guard can wreck an entire season.
Somers is trying to avoid that this postseason. A team with high expectations in December, the Tuskers suffered a huge blow when senior point guard Gio Tradito was lost for the season with a broken ankle.
“When Gio went down we were 9-4 but we were rolling on both sides of the ball,” Somers coach Chris DiCintio said. “The defense was strong. The offense looked like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, when he went down, we had no time to recover.”
Somers slumped down the stretch without Tradito, losing four out of five to close the year, including losses to Panas, John Jay-CR and Mahopac — all teams they beat with Tradito earlier in the season.
“We had five games in the next eight days after he got hurt and our offense lost its fluidity,” DiCintio said. “But then we had time to recover and practice.”
But the Tuskers took a positive step on Wednesday, beating Sleepy Hollow, 57-43, at home. Lorenzo Bicknese scored 17 as the rest of the lineup contributed in a balanced effort.
“I believe we righted the ship, but I don’t think our offense will ever look as smooth as it did with Gio at the helm,” DiCintio said. “With that being said, our defense is as strong as ever and that is how I see this team winning the playoffs.”
Next: No. 9 Somers (13-8) at No. 8 Ardsley (14-7), Friday. These teams that did not meet in the regular season.
BEACON 70, YONKERS 54
Beacon showed again on Wednesday night that, when its offense is in rhythm, they can be a scary team in the postseason.
The Bulldogs knocked off Yonkers, 70-54, thanks to 27 points in the third quarter and 22 in the fourth to run away with the victory.
“We just had to wear them down and we were able to put on that final push,” Beacon coach Scott Timpano said. “They threw everything they had at us. Armend Rraci (27 points) played phenomenally and carried them until they ran out of steam.”
Aaron Davis had 21 points, Dayion Thompson added 15, Jemond Galloway had 14 and Manny Garner added 12 in the win. Beacon gets Hen Hud in what could be the best opening round game of the Class A bracket. The teams split their regular season league matchups.
“Being league opponents, we understand how the other plays and we have had two amazing games so far this season,” Timpano said. “(Hen Hud coach) Jordan Hirsch and I have a little joke going on that we never seem to be able to separate by more than 10 points and that has been pretty constant over the past 3 or 4 years.”
Next: No. 13 Beacon (12-9) at No. 4 Hen Hud (16-4), Friday, 5 p.m. Beacon defeated Hen Hud 47-45 on Feb. 2. Hen Hud won the first meeting 55-48 on Jan. 19. Expect this game to have the best playoff atmosphere on Friday night in Donovan Gym.
JOHN JAY-CR 75, EASTCHESTER 68
Two weeks ago, John Jay-Cross River was a team angling to be a Top 5 seed in the Class A playoffs. Instead a late-season slide dropped them down into the outbrackets and with a difficult road through the postseason.
“The guys were disappointed about the finish,” said first-year Indians coach Patrick Heaton, whose team lost 5 of 7 to close the schedule. “As a team, the guys decided to refocus and dedicate themselves to the second season.”
Jay’s playoff mantra of “Play Hard, Play Defense” rang true in a 75-68 win over visiting Eastchester. Sean Nolan scored 19 points, Dean Ford had 16 and Shane Martinsen added 13 for the typically-balanced Jay offense.
“We had double-digit leads in each quarter, we just didn’t finish them off,” Heaton said. “Finishing games all season has really been our Achilles Heal all year. If we don’t improve our game management on Friday, the quarters will be hard to reach.”
Next: No. 10 John Jay-Cross River (11-10) at No. 7 Poughkeepsie (14-7). The teams did not meet this season.
NYACK 68, LAKELAND 57
Nyack was one of the hottest teams in Class A in the second half of the year before a late-season despite a daunting bout with illness and injuries.
“It really effected the entire second half of the season,” said Nyack coach Ethan Smith, whose teams still managed to win 7 of 9 from Jan. 11-Feb. 6, highlighted by a victory over Hen Hud. “(Wednesday) was the first game really since early January where we had everyone available to play.”
Nyack looked like a vastly different team than the one that closed the season with back-to-back ugly losses to Albertus and Saunders. The 12th-seeded Indians beat No. 21 Lakeland 68-57 to advance to Friday’s opening round.
Winning on Wednesday was a boost for a Nyack team that should be regarded as better than its record. They now head to Byram Hills in the first round on Friday.
“My words to the team tonight were to play hard, enjoy the moment and win or lose have no regrets,” Smith said. “(Byram Hills) is very talented and well coached. We are going to have to play really to have a chance to win.”
Next: No. 12 Nyack (11-10) at No. 5 Byram Hills (14-6), Friday, 7 p.m. The teams did not meet in the regular season.
POUGHKEEPSIE 107, ROOSEVELT 51
No. 7 Poughkeepsie was the highest seeded team in the section that was forced to play an outbracket. The Pioneers showed why they probably deserve a bye into the next round.
For the second time in two weeks, Poughkeepsie rang up triple digits, beating Roosevelt 107-51 at home. Last year’s Section 9 champs — who returned to Section 1 this school year — have won four in a row.
Poughkeepsie should be regarded as a very feared team at this point. They’re 8-4 in Section 1 this season with losses coming to Spring Valley, Saunders and two to Hen Hud. Those three teams have a combined 45-15 record.
Next: No. 10 John Jay-CR (11-10) at No. 7 Poughkeepsie (14-7), Friday. The teams did not meet in the regular season.
HARRISON 74, LINCOLN 61
In this year’s postseason, Harrison wasn’t going to catch the world off-guard like they did 12 months ago. The Huskies were a 25-seed that won two playoff contests and put a scare into a third.
Making another deep run for Harrison, however, got tougher this week when they learned star guard Luke McCarthy, who has been sensational all season, was ruled out indefinitely because of illness.
“We knew everyone had to step up,” Huskies coach Gary Chiarella said. “We had a 10th grader, Josh Cooper, step in and played a great game tonight. He was composed and did a good job of running the offense.”
Harrison rolled over Lincoln in the outbracket, 74-61, as Alex Siapanides scored 31 points and Tyler Menniti added 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
“Alex was awesome tonight, right from the start,” Chiarella said. “Alex and Tyler knew they had to take the lead and both of them did. We stayed in attack mode the entire game.”
Next: No. 15 Harrison (10-11) at No. 2 Panas (16-4), Friday, 5 p.m.. These teams did not play in the regular season. Panas enters winners of 11 in a row.
PEARL RIVER 61, GORTON 46
Pearl River went on the road and took care of Gorton, 61-46. Brendan Tarsnane led the Pirates with 17 and Denis Fleming added 15 as the Pirates built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never faultered the rest of the way.
Next: No. 17 Pearl River (9-12) at No. 1 Rye (17-3), Friday, 7 p.m. Rye beat Pearl River in the regular season but only by a 54-47 margin. It was a close game throughout, so don’t expect the No. 1 seeded Garnets to take this one lightly.
PELHAM 61, PEEKSKILL 45
Pelham broke away in the third quarter of this game and advanced to the opening round.
Next: No. 11 Pelham (12-9) at No. 6 Tappan Zee (16-4), Friday, 7 p.m. TZ and Pelham did not meet in the regular season.
ALBERTUS MAGNUS 64, BREWSTER 53
Cameron McGrath and his Albertus Magnus teammates heard and saw who the experts predicted to win the Class A title before the tournament began. And it was even more motivation to go out and win on Wednesday.
The Falcons took care of Brewster in their Outbracket matchup, advancing with a 64-53 win over visitng Brewster. Albertus moves on to Friday’s Opening Round against the consensus tournament favorite Saunders on the road.
“We love the underdog spot here,” McGrath said. “We have been doubted since the beginning of the season and we’re ready to show people what we are made of.”
McGrath led Albertus with 19 points against Brewster and Baylen Rodriguez added 18. The duo has had a handful of monster games this season for an Albertus Magnus squad that has wins on its resume over Tappan Zee, Spellman, Nyack and Ossining and has won 4 out of 5 overall.
“We have a special group of guys in this locker room,” McGrath said. “We’re ready to go out and compete on Friday night.”
Next: No. 14 Albertus Magnus (12-7) at No. 3 Saunders (16-4), Friday at 5 p.m. These teams did not meet in the regular season.