On the eve of the Section 1 Class B girls basketball quarterfinals, Briarcliff senior Maddie Plank made her commitment to play Division I basketball.
The 5-foot-10 junior guard announced on Twitter that she will continue her career at Princeton University.
— Maddie Plank (@mplank14) February 20, 2018
If nothing more, the commitment validates Briarcliff even more as the front-runner to win the Gold Ball in Class B. Remember, two-time champion Irvington knocked off Briarcliff in their highly-anticipated showdown on Dec. 21 in a 58-54 nail-biter. But Plank didn’t play in that championship rematch.
Neither of those teams can worry about meeting again for a Section 1 title just yet. They each have to get through their quarterfinals on Tuesday first. Here’s my breakdown of the four games and my picks:
SECTION 1 CLASS B QUARTERFINALS
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
No. 9 Hastings (12-8) at No. 1 Irvington (19-1)
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Scouting report: You think this was the team Irvington wanted to meet in the postseason? Not after Hastings took the two-time champs to overtime in their second meeting in the regular season. The Bulldogs are dealing with significant injuries heading into the postseason, which their senior nucleus of Olivia Valdes, Kelly Degnan, Heather Hall and Mary Brereton can make up for. Hastings, despite being a young group. shouldn’t be taken lightly. But at home in the postseason is where the Bulldogs shine brightest.
KDJ’s Pick: Irvington 64, Hastings 54. Irvington takes care of business and heads back to the County Center yet again.
No. 5 Bronxville (15-6) at No. 4 Valhalla (14-6)
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Scouting report: These are two programs that consistently win double-digit games every year but get overshadowed by the powerhouse programs in the conference like Irvington and Briarcliff. It’s somewhat justice that they’ll get to meet each other for the right to play at the County Center. While they’re evenly matched at most positions, Valhalla’s advantage in the interior with Samantha Morillo, a recent 1,000-point scorer, could be daunting for the Broncos. As long as Valhalla gets her the ball in the post, Bronxville could be in trouble.
KDJ’s Pick: Valhalla 50, Bronxville 43. Valhalla slumped in the second half of the season but won’t get tripped up here.
No. 7 Dobbs Ferry (12-9) at No. 2 Briarcliff (19-1)
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Scouting report: The Bears have been climbing for three years towards winning a Section 1 championship, nurturing a young nucleus of stars. And now they’re just three wins away. Maddie Plank, Kacey Hamlin (photo above by Lonnie Webb), and Alana Lombardi make as balanced and cohesive a trio as you’ll find in the region. Dobbs Ferry has overcome a lot this season to get to this point. But the Eagles could have trouble plugging all of the holes on defense.
KDJ’s Pick: Briarcliff 68, Dobbs Ferry 56. The Bears are headed back to the County Center and will likely have to go through Put Valley and Irvington to win that coveted Gold Ball.
No. 6 Edgemont (16-5) at No. 3 Putnam Valley (19-1)
Time: 5 p.m.
Scouting report: Statistically, there isn’t a better defensive team in Section 1 girls basketball than Put Valley. Or in all of Section 1 basketball, for that matter. Or maybe on planet Earth. The Tigers have devoured opposing teams in the second half of the year and enter the postseason a confident team with something to prove. Dora Rippon, Ny’Asia Reeves, Arianna Stockinger and Kelli Venezia headling at Tigers roster loaded with scoring options and depth.
KDJ’s Pick: Putnam Valley 54, Edgemont 39. Tough matchup for the Panthers to go on the road and play in this environment. Put Valley just seems like a team on a mission.