Playoff Preview: Breaking down the Class A boys quarters, KDJ’s picks
NOTE: The Class A boys quarterfinals have POSTPONED to Friday because of weather
The top four seeds in the Section 1 Class B boys brackets advanced to the semifinals at the County Center on Monday. Don’t expect that to necessarily be the case on Friday night in Class A.
All four Class A quarterfinal contests feature their share of intrigue and no clear favorites in any of the matchups.
If you missed anything from the Opening Round, read the recap of the games here. More coverage from the KDJ Blog here:
As you read the breakdown of the four Class A quarterfinals below, click to the ‘Play’ button on this week’s “KDJ Show” podcast below:
SECTION 1 CLASS A QUARTERFINALS
Friday, February 23, 2018
No. 1 Rye (18-3) vs. No. 8 Ardsley (15-7)
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Rye High School (aka “The Cube”)
Players to Watch: Rye — Max Samberg, 6-2, Sr., G; Quinn Kelly, 5-11, Soph., G; A.J. Thompson, 6-3, Sr., F; Matt Tepedino, 5-10, Soph., G; Will Tepedino, 5-10, Sr., G. Ardsley — Julian McGarvey; Zeke Blauner; Sean Casey.
Scouting report: This was probably not the team top-seeded Rye wanted to see standing in their way of a trip to the Westchester County Center. Ardsley is not only rolling, they own one of the three Rye losses this season. The 57-48 win at Rye on Feb. 6 was arguably the defining moment of the season for Ardsley, which has won six in a row, the last four over teams with a combined 52 victories on the season. Ardsley’s defense has been relentless in the past few weeks, starting in the backcourt with Zeke Blauner and inside with the physicality of Julian McGarvey. Rye has to find a way to protect the ball and limit Ardsley’s second-chances.
KDJ’s Pick: Rye 56, Ardsley 52. The third matchup between the league rivals will unfold similarly to the last meeting. But, at home before what will likely be a capacity gym, Rye’s senior leadership prevails down the stretch,
No. 2 Panas (17-4) vs. No. 7 Poughkeepsie (15-7)
Time: 5 p.m.
Where: Walter Panas High School
Players to Watch: Panas — Brandon Hodge, 5-10, Sr., G; Brandon Ramos, 6-2, Sr., G/F; Peter Anderson, 6-3, Sr., F; Joe Staino, 6-1, Sr., G.
Scouting report: The hottest team in Class A is Panas and the most feared is Poughkeepsie. Winners of 12 in a row dating back to a Jan. 18 loss to Section 9 Class AA champ Pine Bush, the Panthers have bullied opponents over the past month. Brandon Hodge and Brandon Ramos are a dynamic scoring backcourt tandem that is so efficient at getting to the rim and finishing. Poughkeepsie must dial up the pressure and force the ball out of the Brandons’ hands. If they can force Panas to settle for jumpshots and eliminate penetration, the Pioneers have a good chance to win on the road.
KDJ’s Pick: Poughkeepsie 68, Panas 61. The Pioneers won’t approach triple digits but they should be able to get to the basket against Panas and clean up on the glass. Last year’s Section 9 champs will move closer to playing for another title.
No. 3 Saunders (17-4) vs. No. 6 Tappan Zee (17-4)
Time: 5 p.m.
Where: Saunders High School
Players to Watch: Saunders — Keyshawn Miller, 6-3, Sr., PG; Sean Bresnan, 6-4, Sr., G/F; Elijah Galloway, 6-6, Sr., F; Jacob Vasquez-Mena, 6-0, Sr., G; Tyleek Mack, 6-3, Sr., F . Tappan Zee — Aidan Cunney, 6-5, Jr., F; Oziah DeLoatch, 5-11, Jr., G; Sean Peterson, 5-10, Sr., G; Danny Linehan, 6-0, Soph., G.
Scouting report: Saunders has been one of Section 1’s most consistent and explosive offensive teams this season. And they’ll get challenged here by one of the most consistent and disciplined defensive programs Section 1 has seen over the past decade. This TZ squad doesn’t have the star power of years past but is cut from the same mold; they play unselfish and have a commitment to getting in your face and hustling for 32 minutes. The question here is whether they can score enough to win. The longer they stay in this game, the better their chances are. But if the 3-point shot isn’t falling for TZ, it could be trouble.
KDJ’s Pick: Saunders 60, Tappan Zee 55. It’s been a remarkable run for Saunders in their home gym – losing just three times in four seasons, two of which to teams that reached the state final four that season. Saunders hasn’t faced a team in the section this season that will match the defensive intensity TZ is capable of unleashing. Expect them to need time to adjust.
No. 4 Hen Hud (17-4) vs. No. 5 Byram Hills (15-6)
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Hen Hud High School
Players to Watch: Hen Hud —Kyle James, 6-3, Jr., F; Austin Fraser; Mekhi Gray, 6-3, Jr., G; Dylan Fraser, 6-1, Sr., PG; Michael Fasolino, 6-0, Jr., F. Byram Hills — Skylar Sinon, 6-1, Jr., PG; Willy Samsen, 6-4, Jr., G/F; Ben Leff, 6-6, Jr., F; Michael Parrotta, 6-2, Soph., G/F; Dylan Friedman, 6-2, Sr., F; Sam Goldman, 6-2, Soph,, G.
Scouting report: A stellar season at Hen Hud has delivered fifth-year head coach Jordan Hirsch on the doorstep of a potential trip to the County Center. This group has risen to the challenge all season, especially of late with a pair of wins over Poughkeepsie to claim the league title and against Beacon in the opening round as Kyle James took the game over. This, however, is a completely different challenge. Byram Hills has finally rounded back into form with the return of Willy Samsen. His presence alleviates the burden off of Skylar Sinon and allows him return to being the play-making point guard, where he’s at his best. Hen Hud could struggle to match the depth and size of the Bobcats. The Sailors need to be knocking down 3-point shots in order to advance.
KDJ’s Pick: Byram Hills 61, Hen Hud 58. The Bobcats have been snakebitten this season with injuries and are finally all healthy. When on the floor together, this is a versatile and championship-worthy unit. They should be able to handle what will be a raucous atmosphere at Hen Hud and advance to the County Center, where they also have some unfinished business.