We are a few hours from the start of the Opening Round of the Section 1 Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments.
Here’s a quick look at today’s Class B games with a prediction on each:
Section 1 Boys Basketball Quarterfinals
Bye: No. 1 Putnam Valley (16-4)
No. 9 Palisade Prep (11-9) at No. 8 Westlake (12-8)
The Phoenix have been a nice story this season out of Yonkers as Emmanuel Owusu and Jakye Oliver have come into their own. Pal Prep will need to keep pace with a Westlake team that can be dangerous from behind the arc, especially with senior Terence O’Brien and junior Tyler Tsiakaros. Pal Prep has to limit Westlake’s looks from deep and second chances on the glass.
KDJ’s Pick: Westlake 67, Palisade Prep 60
— Croton-Harmon Bball (@CHHSTigersBball) February 15, 2018
No. 13 Croton-Harmon (8-12) at No. 4 Blind Brook (15-4)
All of the pressure here is on Blind Brook, which had an eight-game winning streak snapped in the finale by Pelham. This team should be reset and focused on a postseason and faces a young Tigers squad. Very cool news this week as Croton coach Benny Martucci told his team manager, sophomore Jason Ahkbari, that he would be suiting up for the game. Ahkbari is a self-proclaimed “Sniper” and 3-point specialist (with a solid sneaker collection).
KDJ’s Pick: Blind Brook 58, Croton-Harmon 48
No. 12 Bronxville (10-9) at No. 5 Dobbs Ferry (15-5)
These teams didn’t meet in the regular season but Dobbs enters a decisive favorite. The Eagles are balance and may be too fast and athletic for Bronxville to contend with for four quarters behind Dimaunie Meredith, Tevaun Holness and Co. Alston Tarry, the third 1,000-point scorer in Bronxville history, will get his points. But Dobbs gets the dub.
KDJ’s Pick: Dobbs Ferry 60, Bronxville 51
No. 11 Woodlands (10-10) at No. 6 North Salem (13-7)
This is a very intriguing matchup of two teams that are both better than their seeds. Woodlands lost a bevy of tight games all year and is a bracket-buster candidate. But the Falcons are stuck with perhaps the championship sleeper for Section 1. Kendrick Tchoua is a dynamic threat and Ryan Donovan and Chris Alterio are primed for big postseasons.
KDJ’s Pick: North Salem 70, Woodlands 65
No. 14 Pleasantville (6-14) at No. 3 Briarcliff (16-4)
The bitter rivals met twice last week and the Bears won two drastically different games. Pleasantville played very physical but struggled mightily from the field and lost a tight, low-scoring game. Then the Bears won handily at home. Which style of game this will be is uncertain. But anything favors Briarcliff, my title pick.
KDJ’s Pick: Briarcliff 52, Pleasantville 44
No. 10 Hastings (10-10) at No. 7 Valhalla (12-8)
The most even first-round matchup for the bracket features a Valhalla team that’s kicked it into a different gear of late offensively as Ethan Bartlett and Orlando Clarke have developed into one of the conference’s best duos. Hastings defends well but it might not be enough on the road.
KDJ’s Pick: Valhalla 53, Hastings 50
No. 15 Rye Neck (6-14) at No. 2 Irvington (17-3)
This has been a year of growth for both programs, albeit on varying scales. Irvington is a legitimate title contender out to prove something in the postseason since many have them losing before the championship game. Colby Martins is a prolific scorer and Rye Neck just won’t be able to matchup inside with Sidney Thybulle.
KDJ’s Pick: Irvington 68, Rye Neck 55
Section 1 Girls Basketball Quarterfinals
Not going to get in-depth on the girls first-round games until the next round. But here are my predictions for today’s contests:
BYES: No. 1 Irvington (19-1), No. 2 Briarcliff (19-1)
No. 14 Rye Neck (7-13) at No. 3 Putnam Valley (18-1)
Put Valley has a laid a hurting on teams defensively of late. Rye Neck has made tremendous strides this season with a nucleus of freshman and sophomores. But the Tigers are just on a different level and playing with confidence.
KDJ’s Pick: Putnam Valley 56, Rye Neck 38
No. 13 Westlake (6-14) at No. 4 Valhalla (13-6)
Valhalla won both regular season games handily and there’s no reason to think Round 3 will be any different. Few schools will be as happy to see Valhalla forward Sam Morillo graduate as Westlake.
KDJ’s Pick: Valhalla 47, Westlake 39
No. 12 Blind Brook (10-10) at No. 5 Bronxville (13-6)
Blind Brook has made good progress as a program under first-year coach Jack Adler. But they were beaten twice in the regular season by Bronxville, including last week. The Broncos should take the third, as well.
KDJ’s Pick: Bronxville 50, Blind Brook 41
No. 11 North Salem (9-14) at No. 6 Edgemont (15-5)
There’s definitely u[pset potential here for North Salem, which beat Edgemont all; the way back in early December. Edgemont didn’t play quite as tough a schedule as North Salem, either. Let’s go with the road team here.
KDJ’s Pick: North Salem 40, Edgemont 39
No. 10 Croton-Harmon (10-10) at No. 7 Dobbs Ferry (11-9)
The Eagles overcame a rigorous schedule and the drama of an in-season coaching change and enter the playoff a refocused team. No reason to think they falter here.
KDJ’s Pick: Dobbs Ferry 56, Croton-Harmon 46
No. 9 Hastings (11-8) at No. 8 Pleasantville (11-9)
Here are two young teams that are looking to make some noise in the playoffs. Pleasantville is among the youngest teams in any level in the sport and are aiming for big things down the line. Hastings is a bit more proven and ready to advance for another shot at Irvington, who they lost in OT to a few weeks back.
KDJ’s Pick: Hastings 62, Pleasantville 56