The Class A Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments resume on Friday night with opening round games. The field will be narrowed to eight as teams move one step closer to, yes it’s true, the Westchester County Center.
Here’s a look at the eight games on the boys side with my picks to advance;
BOYS BASKETBALL – Section 1 Class A Opening Round
Friday, February 16
No. 17 Pearl River (9-12) at No. 1 Rye (17-3)
The Garnets managed to beat Pearl River back in the first half of the season and is primed to do so again. They’ve steadily improved, learned from a couple of late-season defeats and have too many weapons offensively.
Check out the outstanding work for the Rye Basketball twitter account (by Kyle Gardner)
KDJ’s Pick: Rye 60, Pearl River 50
No. 9 Somers (13-8) at No. 8 Ardsley (14-7)
The most even matchup of the bracket pits a Somers team that hit a late-season skid against an Ardsley team that posted wins over Greeley and Rye in the final two weeks. Zeke Blauner has the potential cause serious havoc defensively against the Somers backcourt. As long as Lorenzo Bicknese doesn’t go off, Ardsley will be tough to beat at home.
KDJ’s Pick: Ardsley 52, Somers 50
No. 12 Nyack (11-10) at No. 5 Byram Hills (14-6)
The Indians finally are healthy and are coming off a strong all-around showing in the Outbracket round against Lakeland. But no team has had their season disrupted by injuries as Byram, which could get Willy Samsen back from a broken wrist. Whether the junior star returns for this game, Skylar Sinon and Ben Leff should lead the Bobcats into the quarterfinals.
KDJ’s Pick: Byram Hills 58, Nyack 49
No. 13 Beacon (12-9) at No. 4 Hen Hud (16-4)
The league rivals meet in a dangerous matchup. Hen Hud and Beacon split their season meetings. The Sailors are a confident group after two late-season wins over Poughkeepsie and will be able to match the uptempo of Beacon and keep them off the glass.
KDJ’s Pick: Hen Hud 58, Beacon 55
No. 14 Albertus Magnus (13-8) at No. 3 Saunders (16-4)
The consensus favorite to win the tournament, Saunders enters this matchup against an Albertus team playing loose and confident. Cameron McGrath and Baylen Rodriguez have been a terrific scoring tandem all season for the Falcons. Saunders’ depth and balance will prove to be too much in the end.
KDJ’s Pick: Saunders 75, Albertus Magnus 60
No. 11 Pelham (12-9) at No. 6 Tappan Zee (16-4)
Tappan Zee is a squad that will hoist plenty of shots from behind the arc. But the Pelicans have been a very good defensive team all season and won’t make anything easy. TZ struggled a bit late in the year and is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Scarsdale on Saturday night. They need to shake that off.
KDJ’s Pick: Tappan Zee 51, Pelham 45
No. 10 John Jay-CR (11-10) at No. 7 Poughkeepsie (14-7)
Perhaps the biggest underdogs of the opening round is John Jay, which faces a Poughkeepsie team that has shown flashes of being a serious title threat. Jay has to slow the game down but even that, on the road, might not be enough to win.
KDJ’s Pick: Poughkeepsie 74, John Jay-CR 62
No. 15 Harrison (10-11) at No. 2 Panas (16-4)
The biggest advantage Panas has had over opponents during its current 11-game winning streak is that it could physically overpower teams. Harrison, however, can match up in that regard and is a legit threat for an upset. Not having Luke McCarthy might make that difficult for the Huskies. Panas duo Brandon Hodge and Brandon Ramos have found a way all year and will navigate the Panthers into the quarterfinals.
KDJ’s Pick: Panas 57, Harrison 50
GIRLS BASKETBALL – Section 1 Class A Opening Round
Friday, February 16
No. 16 Byram Hills at No. 1 John Jay-CR
The quest for a title begins for Jay and it’s hard to imagine they will struggle here. Jay faces a Byram team that lost six in a row to close the year before winning its Outbracket.
KDJ’s Pick: John Jay-CR 54, Byram Hills 41
No. 9 Pearl River at No. 8 Brewster
The best game of the opening round is a rematch from a Dec. 19 matchup, which Brewster won 48-43. Meagan Beal and Maggie DePaoli have been at the forefront all season. Pearl, though, has improved all season and is primed for the road upset.
KDJ’s Pick: Pearl River 51, Brewster 50
No. 13 Pelham at No. 4 Harrison
There’s something scary about league rematches in the postseason, especially for a Harrison team that won both regular season meetings. The matchup of Avery LaBarbera and Samanta Volpe should be entertaining. Harrison takes Round 3.
KDJ’s Pick: Harrison 48, Pelham 43
No. 21 Nanuet at No. 5 Tappan Zee
Nanuet knocked off Saunders on the road in the Outbracket and is pitted against a Tappan Zee team they lost twice two last week. This game shouldn’t be any different.
KDJ’s Pick: Tappan Zee 54, Nanuet 43
No. 14 Eastchester at No. 3 Rye
My pick to win the Class A title, Rye, faces a dangerous Eastchester team they beat twice in the regular season. Cassidy Mitchell won’t let the Eagles go down with a fight and this won’t be another double-digit Rye win.
KDJ’s Pick: Rye 50, Eastchester 45
No. 11 Yonkers at No. 6 Hen Hud
Playoff victories for Yonkers city schools have been rare in recent years and Yonkers broke the string by beating Peekskill in the Outbracket. But Hen Hud is playing confidently and won’t get tripped up here.
KDJ’s Pick: Hen Hud 56, Yonkers 43
No. 10 Panas at No. 7 Ardlsey
Ardsley slumped in the final weeks of the season but should be refocused for the playoffs. Danielle Scapperotta must have a big game for Ardsley return to the form of the first half of the season. But Panas has all the makings of an upset behind Danielle Merante.
KDJ’s Pick: Panas 48, Ardsley 46
No. 15 Lakeland at No. 2 Somers
What a scary first-round matchup for the defending champs, taking on a Lakeland team the Tuskers beat 59-54 in OT in the season finale. Somers hit its stride at this point last year and is zeroed in on a repeat Gold Ball.
KDJ’s Pick: Somers 60, Lakeland 53