Iona Prep wins Slam Dunk, Byram salvages split, Ossining girls survive

After winning at the buzzer on Wednesday night, Iona Prep held its breath on the final shot in Thursday’s Slam Dunk Tournament final.

The Gaels hung on for a 65-62 win over Newburgh at the Westchester County Center as the Goldbacks’ buzzer-beating attempt from 3-point range fell short of the rim.

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Will Rubin took home MVP honors for Iona Prep (5-2). The senior guard posted 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Aidan Hilderbrand added 16 points and four rebounds, connecting on 7 of 14 from the floor.

J.R. Greene, whose tip-in at the buzzer lifted Iona Prep past Byram Hills, 43-41, on Wednesday, also earned all-tournament honors with Hilderbrand.

Slam Dunk Tournament consolation: Byram Hills 57, White Plains 42
by Eugene Rapay

Byram Hills didn’t need any extra motivation in Thursday night’s consolation game with White Plains. After losing to Iona Prep by a buzzer-beating tip-in the night before, the Bobcats were determined to leave the County Center with a victory.

After a closely contested first half, the Bobcats finished the third quarter with a strong 13-3 run. Once they pushed their lead into double figures, they hardly looked back at the Tigers, as they went on to win 57-42.

Byram Hills’ Ben Leff, who was handcuffed to the bench for a majority of the Iona Prep game due to foul trouble, had no such restriction this time around. He thrived in the paint and spearheaded the Bobcats’ winning effort, finishing with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. 11 of his points came in the second quarter alone, as he helped Byram Hills take a 29-22 lead at halftime.

Meanwhile, White Plains tried to counter with its athleticism and defense, generating turnovers and creating fast break opportunities.

However, Byram Hills would settle in and Leff was able to get some assistance from fellow senior forward Mike Caporale, who added 19 points to the win.

Byram’s 1-2 frontcourt punch — combined with a strong defensive effort that limited White Plains to shooting just 28.6 percent on the floor for the whole game — paved the way to victory. While the Bobcats mostly bullied their way inside and let their interior play set the tone, they also got some timely shooting from Willy Samsen, who spurred the decisive third quarter run with back-to-back three-pointers.

The fourth quarter was a quieter showing for both teams–just a combined 16 points between them–allowing Byram Hills to maintain its comfortable lead.

Eisaiah Murphy led White Plains with 12 points, seven boards, and three assists. Quion Burns chipped in nine points, seven rebounds, and three steals.

Slam Dunk Girls First Round: Ossining 76, Albertus Magnus 65
by Eugene Rapay

For a while, it seemed like neither team was going to let up. Both Ossining and Albertus Magnus were knocking down their shots at a rate that seemed like it would never slow down.

When one team seemed like it was going to pull away, the other would respond and battle back into the game. However, in the fourth quarter, the defending Class AA champion Ossining relied on its experience and veteran savvy, finishing the game on an 18-7 run to pull away and win 76-65 to advance to Saturday’s championship game.

Magnus got out to an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to take the lead, until the Pride responded with an 8-0 run of its own and it was the spark Ossining needed to bury its opponents. 

Jaida Strippoli’s playmaking, coupled with Kailah Harris’ physical play inside, set the tone coming down the stretch. It helped having Julia Iorio return to the game after a first-half injury. She knocked down a few 3-pointers to help secure the win.

The Pride certainly stepped up, as it played without UConn commit Aubrey Griffin, who was sidelined with an ankle injury. Strippoli had a team-high 23 points and nine assists. Harris finished with a 22-point, 17-rebound double-double. Iorio added 19 points and six rebounds.

For Albertus Magnus, it found much success from long range, knocking down 16 three-pointers as a team. Freshman Sierra Linnin tied a program record for most points scored in a Slam Dunk Tournament game, scoring 23 points and matching the mark set by former Falcon Kelly Guardino in 2013. Linnin also made seven three-pointers. Paulina Paris chipped in 18 points, while Tanasha Mills had 15 points.

Ossining will play the winner of Ketcham-Baldwin in Saturday’s championship game, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Albertus Magnus will play in the consolation game, which is scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

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