Inside the Opening Round: Suffern upsets New Ro, Greeley awaits, more from AA boys

Almost every coach religiously follow the Bracketology playoff projections throughout the season, refreshing the page on the final days of the season an extra hundred times or so to figure out what exactly their first-round matchup will be.

Suffern coach Scott Wright had an eye on the No. 12 spot in the final hours, knowing he’d lose a tiebreaker with Mahopac for 11. At 11, Mahopac would get Spring Valley in the first round. At 12, Suffern got New Rochelle.

Neither one was exactly coveted.

“We believed and had an ‘Us Against the World’ mentality,” Wright said. “The guys absolutely killed themselves in practice this week preparing and I told the kids if they played like they practiced, we will win.”

Wright’s words proved as he and Mounties held their breath until the final second to pull off the program’s biggest playoff victory in a decade.

Suffern went on the road and stunned No. 5 New Rochelle in a Section 1 Class AA opening round, 51-49. Tarius Edney’s 3-pointer for New Rochelle bounced off the rim as the Mounties advanced to the quarterfinals on Friday at No. 4 Horace Greeley.

Edney had hit a game-winning 3-pointer earlier in the season against Fox Lane and Suffern was prepared to contest the final shot.

“We switched our best defender Jimmie Warren on him while (Nathan) Emanuel was taking his free throws with six left,” Wright said. “Sure enough it went exactly as scripted. Edney drove up the right side of the court and missed in the same exact spot with Warren’s hand in his face.”

Warren led Suffern with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists. Dan Kenny had 11 points and seven rebounds and Will Krebs contributed nine points, six rebounds and five assists. A true team effort for the Mounties also saw Shawn Robinson chip in with seven points and five assists and Emmanuel grabbed 14 rebounds and scored six points.

One of Emmanuel’s rebounds came after Edney’s final shot missed.

Suffern (12-9) is one of four Rockland teams to advance to the final eight in Class AA.

“We knew we were battle tested playing in such a tough league,” Wright said. “That certainly prepared us”

Next: No. 12 Suffern (13-8) at No. 4 Horace Greeley (16-5) on Friday. The teams did not meet in the regular season


HORACE GREELEY 63, ARLINGTON 45

Greeley lost to Arlington in the first week of the season, a four-point victory that was part of a three-game losing streak for the Quakers.

Saturday showed just how far this group has come in the past two months. Greeley seized control early in the Class AA opening round game and never relented, rolling to a 63-45 win to advance to the quarterfinals.

“I told the team that the keys to tonight were going to be defensive pressure, hard contesting against a very good shooting team and outworking the other team for 32 minutes,” said Greeley first-year coach Felix Nicodemo, whose team surrendered 72 points in the first matchup with Arlington. “We were fortunate enough to execute that.”

Greeley held Arlington to single-digit points in three out of four quarters in the win.

Christopher Melis led Greeley with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremy Block added 17 points and Brandon Gecaj added 13 for the Quakers, who’ll host No. 12 Suffern on Friday for the right to play at the Westchester County Center against either Mount Vernon or Scarsdale.

“Our defense led to our offense which was balanced and unselfish,” Nicodemo said. “Other guys stepped up with one of our starters struggling with the flu. I️t was a great team win.

“They are extremely grateful and hungry to have a chance to make it to the County Center.”

Next: No. 12 Suffern (13-8) at No. 4 Horace Greeley (16-5) on Friday. The teams did not meet in the regular season


MAMARONECK 74, OSSINING 55

If Mamaroneck is feeling any pressure in the postseason as a 16-win No. 3 seed, they sure didn’t show it on Saturday.

The Tigers took care of No. 14 Ossining 74-55 in the Class AA opening round before a strong crowd at Mamaroneck. Will Sarkozi scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed six rebounds and Jared Bader and Isiah Thomas each scored 12.

“We played extremely hard but I thought the key to the game was the way we ended the second quarter and started the third,” said Mamaroneck coach Tyrone Carver, whose team blew the game open in that stretch. “Sarkozi was a monster inside the paint which allowed Bader, Thomas and Manetta to penetrate and get quality shots for one another.”

Carver, who was recently voted the Conference I Coach of the Year, and Mamaroneck will host Spring Valley in the Class AA quarterfinals on Friday at 5 p.m. A win and the Tigers make their long-awaited trip to the semis at the County Center.

“We didn’t play our best basketball, should’ve played a lot smarter and with more poise,” Carver said. “But I’m glad I can say that with time to fix it. Best part is we get to practice on Monday.”


STORY/VIDEO: Ramapo stuns No. 2 Clarkstown South in AA opening round

STORY/VIDEO: Scarsdale beat North Rockland, gets another date with Mount Vernon

SCOREBOARD: Section 1 Boys and Girls Basketball Results, Schedules (KDJMedia)

BRACKET CENTRAL: Section 1 Boys and Girls Basketball Brackets (PDF and Interactive)


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CLARKSTOWN NORTH 54, FOX LANE 52

Perhaps the wildest game of the day saw No. 10 Clarkstown North have a big lead, blow it, take it back and then hold on as a last-second Fox Lane shot missed at the buzzer.

Michael Louzada scored a game-high 22 points as No. 10 North beat the Foxes for the second time and will now host No. 18 Ramapo in the quarterfinals.

Nick Ovchinnikoff added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Rams.

Josh Olsen had a half-court shot at the buzzer for Fox Lane miss at the buzzer.


MOUNT VERNON 87, WHITE PLAINS 54

PHOTOS: Lonnie Webb Photography

Mount Vernon did that thing on Saturday that they always seem to do in the playoffs: The Knights took their game to a completely different level.

After a pair of close games with White Plains in the regular season, top-seeded Mount Vernon (19-2) clamped down defensively and steamrolled to a 87-54 victory at over.

The defending state champs will take on No. 9 Scarsdale in the quarterfinals in a rematch of last year’s Section 1 final. Scarsdale beat Mount Vernon at home last week.

Mount Vernon was missing star point guard Demetre Roberts in that game. Roberts returned on Saturday and dished out eight assists to go along with five rebounds and five steals. Chase Johnson scored a game-high 23 points with four rebounds and Jason Douglas-Stanley and Lovett each recorded 13 points and four assists.

Miles Hardy led White Plains with 20 points.

Follow the Section 1 Basketball Tournament on KDJMedia.com and on Twitter: @KDJMedia1

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