Playoff Preview: Mount Vernon and 3 Cinderella’s in Class AA field; KDJ’s boys and girls picks

JDSNobody really knew what to expect in Class AA this season outside of Mount Vernon. Few could have anticipated the three teams that will join the defending state champs at the County Center on Wednesday night.

Upstart Horace Greeley, No. 18 seed Ramapo, a Mamaroneck team making its first County Center playoff appearance in 46 years round out the final four field in search for the Gold Ball.

Mount Vernon, of course, is the heavy favorite.

But you could make a long-shot case that any of the other three could make history over the next four days. Any of them winning would be considered one of the biggest upsets in Section 1 tournament history.

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

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

Before you check out the previews and picks below, watch my video of what the County Center means to the 12 boys teams traveling there this week:

Section 1 Class AA Boys Semifinals
Wednesday, February 28
at Westchester County Center

No. 1 Mount Vernon (20-2) vs. No. 4 Horace Greeley (17-5)
Time: 4:15 p.m.
How they got here: Mount Vernon beat No. 17 White Plains 87-54 and No. 9 Scarsdale 87-79. Horace Greeley defeated No. 13 Arlington 63-45 and No. 12 Suffern 55-41.
Regular season meetings: Did not meet.
Players to Watch: Horace Greeley — Christopher Melis, Soph., G/F; Brandon Gecaj, Sr., F; Jeremy Block, Sr., G. Greg Karr, Sr., G/F. Mount Vernon — Jason Douglas-Stanley, 6-2, Sr., G; Demetre Roberts, 5-7, Sr., PG; Brandon Scott, 6-3, Sr., F; Chase Johnson, 6-1, Sr., F.
Scouting report: Without question, the biggest underdog of the week at the County Center is Horace Greeley. The Quakers will surely use that in their pregame talk on Wednesday afternoon as a turnaround season will get overshadowed by the Mount Vernon dynasty. Greeley is one of the streakiest 3-point shooting teams in the area and they’ll need everyone of them here. As long as the Quakers can handle the full-court pressure of Mount Vernon, they’ll extend the game into the fourth quarter. But the Knights will impose their will late and pull away.
KDJ’s Pick: Mount Vernon 74, Horace Greeley 59. The Knights have a history of starting slow in semifinals at the County Center. But their speed is going to be too much for the Quakers to handle from the jump. Jason Douglas-Stanley should put on a show here and lift Mount Vernon to another title game.

No. 3 Mamaroneck (18-4) vs. No. 18 Ramapo (9-14)
Time: 7:45 p.m.
How they got here: Mamaroneck beat Ramapo 64-47 on Jan. 20
Regular season meetings: Ramapo beat No. 15 Ketcham in the outbracket, 60-56, in overtime, beat No. 2 Clarkstown South 49-40 and No. 10 Clarkstown North 68-65. Mamaroneck defeated No. 14 Ossining 74-55 and No. 6 Spring Valley 49-42.
Players to Watch: Ramapo — Franc Wilson, G; Elijah Fenton, G; Brian Aldeus, G. Mamaroneck — Isiah Thomas, 5-10, Sr., G; Jared Bader, 6-3, Sr., G; Will Sarkozi, 6-5, Jr., F; James Manetta, 6-0, Sr., G.
Scouting report: Ramapo ended a 19-year County Center drought on Friday afternoon, hours before Mamaroneck ended a 47-year absense later that evening. These two teams might struggle early as they get adjusted to the section’s biggest stage. Nobody expected Ramapo to get this far and the emotion of the postseason will carry them. Mamaroneck, however, poses matchup problems that didn’t exist in the first three games for the Gryphons, most notably on the glass. The Tigers will not allow Ramapo as many second opportunities as they’ve had the last three games, which could significantly stall Ramapo. The Gryphons must have one of their best shooting games of the season in order to advance.
KDJ’s Pick: Mamaroneck 54, Ramapo 50. Forget what happened the first time around because that was a month ago. Mamaroneck, though, did a nice job against Spring Valley of boxing out and limiting transition. They should be able to do that again and reach the Class AA final.

Highlights: Mamaroneck 49, Spring Valley 42 (KDJ Media)

Highlights: Ramapo 68, Clarkstown North 65 (KDJ Media)

Section 1 Class AA Girls Semifinals
Wednesday, February 28
at Westchester County Center

No. 1 Ossining (19-3) vs. No. 5 Ketcham (17-5)
Time: 6 p.m.
How they got here: Ossining beat No. 16 Clarkstown North 98-31 and No. 8 White Plains 97-54. Ketcham defeated No. 12 Mahopac 56-49 and upset No. 4 Ursuline 53-51.
Regular season meetings: Ossining beat Ketcham 85-57 on Jan. 27
Scouting report: Ketcham pulled off one of the great upsets of the postseason, defeating an Ursuline squad they lost by 32 points to back in late December. This, however, is a far greater challenge. Ossining will zero in on Ketcham star guard Katie Wall and try to drown her out by hoisting 3-pointers and getting out in transition. If Kelsey Quain is hot from behind the arc, Ossining is almost impossible to beat.
KDJ’s Pick: Ossining 70, Ketcham 56. Great opportunity to see Ossining stars Aubrey Griffin and Kailah Harris, who will post major matchup issues for the Indians.

No. 2 Lourdes (22-0) vs. No. 3 Albertus Magnus (21-1)
Time: 7:45 p.m.
How they got here: Lourdes beat No. 15 Mount Vernon 87-43 and No. 7 Clarkstown South 77-39. Albertus Magnus knocked off No. 19 Horace Greeley 79-40 and No. 11 Arlington 69-49.
Regular season meetings: Lourdes beat Albertus Magnus 73-66 on Dec. 27.
Scouting report: One of the most dynamic players in the Hudson Valley in Maddie Siegrist squares off against arguably the most complete and deep team in Albertus Magnus. The Falcons are going to throw a variety of defenses at Siegrist, a prolific scorer who has overcome constant focus all season. Dani LaRochelle, Kate Mager and Mairead Durkin could all see time defending her. Albertus has to go on the road to Dutchess and not the County Center, which will be a significant advantage as Lourdes intended it to be. Or could it be motivation?
KDJ’s Pick: Albertus Magnus 62, Lourdes 59. Albertus will head into this game believing their opponent couldn’t beat them on a neutral floor and had to host them in their home gym. That alone should galvanize a veteran Falcons group.

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

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