Breakdown, KDJ picks for state basketball regional finals

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Four boys and two girls basketball teams from Section 1 are a win away from a berth in the state final four. Five of those six games are scheduled for Pace University this weekend, starting with tonight’s Class AA boys and girls doubleheader.

Road to a State Title: NYSPHSAA Tournament Results and Schedule of how each team advanced to this point after regional semifinal victories on Tuesday night.

Here’s a look at how I think the six NYSPHSAA Regional finals will play out this weekend:

BREAKDOWN AND KDJ’S PICKS
NYSPHSAA REGIONAL FINALS

Class B Boys
Briarcliff (21-4) vs. Center Moriches (21-3)
Where/When:
 Saturday, 3:30 p.m. at Pace University
How Briarcliff advanced: The Bears knocked off Blind Brook in the Section 1 title game before defeating Marlboro in Tuesday’s regionals.
Who’s Center Moriches? The Long Island champion for the second year in a row, Center Moriches is searching for a return trip to the state final four. They beat Spackenkill (which beat Pleasantville) in last year’s regional final and are a team, led by three stars in Tyiquon Nix, Troy Goode and Sean Brathwaite, who dropped 30 in the Long Island final win over Malverne. Read about Center Moriches’ win over Malverne in Newsday here.
KDJ’s Pick: Center Moriches 62, Briarcliff 59. The Bears will have their hands full here with a team that’s so difficult to prepare for and one with state tournament experience. If Briarcliff is going to pull this off, they must shoot the ball as well as they have in the postseason and limit a relentless Center Moriches team on the glass.

What’s next: The winner will face either Canton (Section 10) or Mekeel Christian (Section 2) in the state semis in Binghamton on March 16 at 6:45 p.m.

Class B Girls
Irvington (23-1) vs. Carle Place (17-6)
Where/When:
 Saturday, 1:45 p.m. at Pace University
Who’s Carle Place? The Long Island champions are in the state tournament for the first time in four seasons and enter off a sting of dominant defensive performances. In their last 10 games, they’ve held opponents to 40 or less seven times and under 30 four times. Abigail Selhorn, a 6-foot junior, and Erin Leary, a freshman forward, are a solid tandem for a Carle Place team that will outsize Irvington in the paint.
KDJ’s Pick: Irvington 57, Carle Place 46. Height doesn’t scare Irvington. The Bulldogs stretch the floor, pressure and run the break as well as any team in Section 1 outside of Ossining. They blew past Briarcliff in the section final and upended Highland in Tuesday’s regional. The trend continues here as Irvington is headed back to the final four for the second year in a row.

What’s next: The winner will face either Section 2’s Voorheesville or Section 7’s Northeastern Clinton in the state semifinals on Friday in Troy at 1:30 p.m.

Class C Boys
Hamilton (18-5) vs. Greenport (21-3)
Where/When:
 Saturday, Noon at Pace University
Who’s Greenport? The Section 1 team with the toughest odds to advance past the regionals is Hamilton. Greenport, the Long Island champions, is a small-school powerhouse from the East End. Two of its three losses came to Class B champion Center Moriches and they’re a team that consistently scores in the 80s. Sophomore guard Ahkee Anderson averages 22.5 points per game while Julian Swann scored 15.8 and Jaxan Swann contributes 15.4. Greenport has the balance and quickness in the backcourt to compete with Hamilton.
KDJ’s Pick: Greenport 74, Hamilton 68. This game will likely be playing at a dizzying pace. Hamilton is blessed with depth in the backcourt and has the ability to run and score with most teams. But Greenport is a team that seemingly doesn’t wear down. Anderson is a special talent. Unless he is held in check by Hamilton senior David Cousin, Greenport should advance to Binghamton.

What’s next: The winner will play either Lake George (Section 2) or St. Lawrence (Section 10) in the state semifinals on Friday in Binghamton at 3 p.m.

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS (Publishes March 9, 12:45 p.m.):

Class AA Boys
Mount Vernon (22-2) vs. Pine Bush (19-1)
Where/When: Friday, 4:30 p.m. at Pace University
How Mount Vernon advanced: The Knights beat Ramapo in the Section 1 title game. Read all about the game and watch highlights here
Who’s Pine Bush?: The two-time Section 9 champions meet Mount Vernon again in the state playoffs. The Knights had one of their toughest games in the state tournament against the Bushmen last year, where they pulled away late for a 68-59 win en route to a state title. The core of that team returned this season for Pine Bush, led by Bryan and Brandon Powell and big man Mason Memmelaar. Read more about Pine Bush in today’s Times Herald-Record.
KDJ’s Pick: Mount Vernon 81, Pine Bush 77. The game we’ve been anticipating since last March should live up to the hype. Pine Bush reminds me a lot of the great Newburgh teams that competed, and beat, Mount Vernon in the state playoffs in the 2000s. The Bushmen are versatile, deep and can explode for a 10-0 run at any moment. Pine Bush is a team that will not be in danger of a shot clock violation, has no reservations on how deep they’ll shoot and will not at all be intimidated by Mount Vernon. But they are not a great defensive team. Jason Douglas-Stanley could touch 40 points if he’s on. The Knights survive.

Class AA Girls
Ossining (21-3) vs. Elmira (20-2)
Where/When: Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Pace University
How Ossining advanced: The Pride won an eighth consecutive Section 1 title with a gritty comeback to beat Lourdes in the Class AA title game. Aubrey Griffin scored 46 points in the win.
Who’s Elmira?: The Express is the team that put a legitimate scare into Ossining in last year’s state playoffs — and are primed to beat the Pride this time around. Ossining came away with an 87-80 victory in a game that was a one-possession contest in the fourth quarter after Elmira came back from a double-digit deficit. Elmira has three of its top players, led by sophomore star Kiara Fisher. Read more about Elmira here in today’s Elmira Star Gazette.
KDJ’s Pick: Ossining 82, Elmira 80. Another high scoring game where the Pride will lean heavily on Griffin and junior forward Kailah Harris, who was sensational against Elmira last season. A big difference, however, is the absence of Ossining point guard Jaida Strippoli, who’ll be missed defensively against Fisher. The Pride need to open the floor with Kelsey Quain and keep the game high scoring to advance.

Photos: Check out Dan Carver’s photo gallery from Ossining’s win over Lourdes

Class A Boys
Ardsley (18-7) vs. New Paltz (12-6)
Where/When: Friday, 7 p.m. at SUNY New Paltz
How Ardsley advanced: Ardsley followed up its viral victory over Tappan Zee in the Section 1 final by traveling up to the Binghamton region and defeated Maine-Endwell in the state regional semifinals.
Who’s New Paltz?: While the “McGarvey Miracle” for Ardsley has swept the nation on television and social media, Michael Holoran made three of the biggest baskets of the season to lead New Paltz to a heart-pounding triple-overtime win against Saugerties in the Section 9 title game. New Paltz, which had a bye in the regional tournament, is not a team that’s garnered much attention in the state this season. The Huguenots’ six losses include two defeats to Marlboro, which Briarcliff handled in the regionals on Tuesday, and a 20-point blowout to Poughkeepsie. Read more about New Paltz in today’s Kingston Daily Freeman.
KDJ’s Pick: Ardsley 56, New Paltz 49. The ride of a generation continues for Ardsley to the state final four. Julian McGarvey has garnered all the headlines. But the emergence of Danny Hewitt, Sean Casey and Frankie Belarge, plus the stellar all-around play of Zeke Blauner, has turned this team into one to believe in on the big stage.

Photos: Check out Dan Carver’s photo gallery from Ardsley’s win over Tappan Zee on MaxPrepsDSC_4225

CHECK BACK soon for previews and picks for the Hamilton boys, Irvington girls and Briarcliff boys in Saturday’s regional championships

Follow the NYSPHSAA basketball playoffs on Twitter: @KDJMedia1
Email KDJ at kdjmedia1@gmail.com

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