Championship Week: Top 50 Games of the 2010s: The Top 10

It’s here. No need for a long introduction. The Top 10 games of a decade unlike any have ever witnessed. And all captured below. Enjoy.

If you have missed it, here’s a look back at the Top 50 so far:

Nos. 50-41 – READ HERE
Nos. 40-31 – READ HERE
Nos. 30-21 – READ HERE
Nos. 20-11 – READ HERE

Top 50 Games of the 2010s: The Final 10


“The Showdown”

Date: March 5, 2017
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlights courtesy of News 12 Varsity:

Game recap: Albertus knocked off Ossining in their home gym in a regular season classic. But the Pride took the rematch. Albertus led 15-13 after the first despite Ossining scoring at the buzzer on an Adriana McFadden basket. The game remained one possession through the second quarter until the Falcons closed the half strong, going into the break ahead 34-27.

Andra Espinoza-Hunter was kept in check in the first half, scoring just eight points. Ossining stormed out in the third and tied it, and went ahead, on back to back Kelsey Quain 3-pointers as part of an 18-4 run. Albertus answered late in the third to re-took the lead. The back and forth action saw Ossining with a 50-49 advantage entering the fourth, setting the stage for the best one quarter of girls basketball of the decade.

Albertus trailed by 5 midway through the fourth as Ossining seemingly scored on every possession behind Espinoza-Hunter, who had 24 second-half points. The Falcons started draining 3s before McFadden drained a 3-pointer and Espinoza-Hunter hit two FTs to Ossining up 6 with under a minute to go. But Dani LaRochelle’s two 3-pointers kept Albertus alive. Down by 3, Albertus had two shots in the final 3 seconds but the last was rejected by Espinoza-Hunter as time expired.

The Heroes: Kailah Harris and Andra Espinoza-Hunter. AEH scored, who now plays at Mississippi State, dropped 32 and blocked the shot at the buzzer. Harrison, then a sophomore, dominated the interior. Harris posted 27 points and 20 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end.

Why it’s Top 50: Did you read the recap? When these two teams broke the huddle and walked out onto the court for the opening tip, it really hit you how much talent these two programs had assembled. Ossining’s starting five of Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Kailah Harris, Kelsey Quain, Jaida Strippoli and Helem Ishmael against the Albertus Magnus starting unit of Dani LaRochelle, Mairead Durkin, Kate Mager, Maeve MacNeill and Lizzy Benedetto was among the greatest collection of girls basketball talent in one game in the decade. And then they played the game. It was everything you would have wanted it to be, the type of game I wish my daughters were old enough to really experience and understand.

Lasting image: If this game proved anything for Ossining fans and players during their historic nine-year run as champs, it’s that win a Gold Ball should never be an expectation. There’s so much that goes into winning one title, let alone nine at the highest level of competition. Ossining claimed the seventh in what would be nine straight Gold Balls.



Date: March 2, 2013
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlights courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Game recap: Most remember this game as Eric Paschall vs. Lourdes. Watch the highlights. Yes, Paschall was maybe at his best on this night. But the group around him was fantastic, as well, making this game an edge-of-your-seat classic.

The game was a see-saw thriller. Lourdes used a 13-0 run in the second quarter to take a lead before Paschall made an incredible layup through traffic and then spotted up from NBA range. Dobbs Ferry led 24-22 before another Lourdes run behind Mike Donnelly. The game was tied 32-32 at the half as the Warriors contained Paschall to 12 points.

Lourdes, which only had eight players in uniform, ran into some foul trouble in the third but still managed to take a 50-49 lead into the fourth. With fans constantly chanting and trying to harass Paschall, he took his game to another level. He opened the fourth with a long 3 and later hit a mile-long pull up to give the Eagles a 57-55 lead with 5:22 to go. Lourdes went on a run to go up 7 with 1:48 left before Nick Kost hit two crucial shots, including a 3 to pull Dobbs back within 1 with under a minute in regulation.

Kost came up with a steal and layup with 45 seconds to go to give Dobbs a 69-68 lead. Nick Porter followed with a three-point play for Lourdes to make it 71-69 but Dan Foresti scored on a beautiful feed from Dan Riefenhauser as time expired, sending the game to OT. Paschall and Kost (25 points) continued to shine. Kost, a senior, scored 14 of 19 points during one stretch for Dobbs, which had two leads in the extra session.

But Lourdes took advantage of its free throw opportunities and Kyle Santoro sealed it at the line, where he went 13 of 14 in the game.

The Hero: Mike Donnelly. Eric Paschall won the MVP in a losing effort, which was the only time that’s happened in my 22 years of covering the event. He was deserving. But for Lourdes, Donnelly led with 21 points and Santoro was clutch at the line down the stretch.

Why it’s Top 50: This was a shot-makers games. Lourdes had a handful of talented perimeter threats and Dobbs Ferry obviously had Paschall, the best player to come through the section in the decade. But the way the supporting cast for the Eagles rose to the challenge here was inspiring. Kost had the biggest basket of the game on his steal and layup, and it was Foresti who came through to force OT.

Lasting image: My fear after this game was that we’d never see Eric Paschall in uniform at Dobbs Ferry, which proved to be true. Many like me were disappointed when he transferred to a prep school in the offseason. But looking back, it was certainly the right move for him. And looking back, it was probably the best thing for us fans. Paschall’s performance in this game was show-stopping and is a fond final memory of his time in Section 1. He rightfully won Mr. Basketball as a junior, won a National Championship at Villanova and is now enjoying a strong rookie season with the Golden State Warriors. And we have a story to tell of his final game.



Date: March 5, 2017
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlights courtesy of News 12 Varsity:

Game recap: This game should never have been a game. Mount Vernon beat Scarsdale 67-39 in the first meeting before a 12-point victory in the second. Then came this matchup where the Knights opened up a commanding 44-18 lead in the third quarter. The boxes of championship t-shirts might as well have been handed out because Scarsdale was getting blown out of the arena.

Then came Max Bosco.

The senior delivered what could be the best individual performance by any player at the Westchester County Center. Bosco scored 28 of his 34 points after halftime. Bosco pulled Scarsdale within three in the closing seconds with the basketball. Will Hoffman then delivered a 3-pointer for the ages, a shot that bounced around the rim a few times before falling through with 2.7 seconds left, sending this to OT. Mount Vernon took control from the start of overtime and not only went on to win their 16th title in 19 years, but the Knights went on and won the NYSPHSAA title, too.

Watch the game in its entirety:

The Hero: Max Bosco. I didn’t think this was possible in a championship game. But Bosco was better than Eric Paschall in the 2013 B final. And if you look at any Section 1 boys game for the decade, it was second only to Pat Peterson of Tappan Zee in the state semifinals shocker of Jamesville-DeWitt. Bosco became a Scarsdale legend that afternoon. Two months later, the Greenwich Stars AAU program retired his jersey.

Why it’s Top 50: All four games at the Westchester County Center on March 5, 2017 made the Top 50, and this is the third in the top 14. Mount Vernon was never supposed to be challenged by this Scarsdale team and they were running away with it. In a decade where it seems like Mount Vernon’s most memorable games are defeats, this is a victory that, looking back, sometimes feels like a defeat.

Lasting image: Max Bosco and his Scarsdale teammates were naturally crushed after the defeat. I made it a point to run down from the balcony where we broadcasted for News 12 Varsity so I could shake Bosco’s hand as he walked off, which he did with his head down. The crowd in that corner was lined up and serenading him and his teammates to the point where you wondered who actually won the game. Soon he was smiling. What he and his team did that day was incredible.



Date: March 2, 2011
Site: Westchester County Center

Watch the game replay of the semifinals courtesy of BobcatTV:

Game recap: A near-capacity crowd filled the County Center on this night and I’m not sure anyone sat the entire game. An upset for the ages saw Kennedy Catholic seemingly take control of this game on several occasions, only to see Byram rip it right back.

The game started with a fury as Kennedy took a 20-19 lead after one quarter and then used a 9-0 run to go ahead 31-24. The Bobcats answered with nine straight points, keyed by a Jeff Lynch basket and foul that erupted the crowd, to go back in front 33-32 at the half. Kennedy, which had such a massive size advantage with 6-foot-6 Ryan Hickey and 6-5 Healy, went ahead 43-36 behind that duo before Byram Hill went ahead by fourth late as Ryan Golden sank a pair of free throws and Andy Murphy drained a 3.

Frankie Kelly’s 3 sparked a 7-2 stretch with under a minute to go to put the Gaels back up by 1. Golden was fouled with 16.3 seconds to play and hit both free throws to put Byram ahead before Kennedy missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 on the ensuing possession. Andrew Maloney’s free throw extended the lead and Kennedy’s shot from halfcourt at the buzzer missed.

The Hero: Ryan Golden. The sophomore dropped 18 points, including the go-ahead free throws to move Byram Hills one step closer to its first section title since 1978. Byram Hills went on to defeat Pearl River in the championship.

Video highlights of Byram Hills’ win over Pearl River courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Why it’s Top 50: Before 2010, the idea of Byram Hills competing realistically for a section championship was more like a fantasy. Always tough and competitive. But never a true threat. This game changed everything for the program and signaled the arrival of what’s become one of the premier programs in Section 1. And the crazy part was that at no point did you really believe Byram was going to win the game. Kennedy was a force eyeing a championship in what would become their final County Center appearance before leaving for the CHSAA.

Lasting image: The fans just kept pouring in. There’s a giant grandstand of seats on the stage at the County Center, which are very rarely occupied out of necessity. This game was stacked to the top thanks to the doubleheader of Class A semifinals. But it was also a rally to a community with very little basketball history of the previous two decades. What made that Byram team so remarkable was its youth; Jeff Lynch led the team in scoring as a freshman and sophomore. Golden was a sophomore and Andrew Maloney, Charlie Murphy and Alex O’Brien were all juniors. This team didn’t get to have a three-year run as champs as many expected. But this Championship Week was as special as they come thanks to this Bobcats squad.



Date: February 29, 2016
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlights courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Game recap: The score is misleading – this was the best girls basketball drama of the decade. Teisha Hyman of Woodlands and Lindsay Halpin of Irvington staged the greatest 1-on-1 game of the decade at Championship Week, boys or girls.

Hyman scored 42. Halpin scored 45.

Woodlands, which handed Irvington its only regular season loss, led 18-17 after one and took a 12-point lead into the half as Hyman hit several NBA-range 3’s. Halpin took over in the opening minutes of the third, scored seven third-quarter points as Irvington rallied to take the lead. Halpin fed Nina Valdes for a basket at the buzzer to make it 50-47 Bulldogs entering the fourth. Halpin completely took over in fourth, scoring 21 points in the final period.

Hyman kept Woodlands alive, pulling to within three midway through the fourth on a floater in traffic. But Halpin answered with a dagger, draining a 3-pointer that Woodlands never recovered from. Halpin was the MVP for the second year in a row as Irvington won its sixth title in seven years.

The Hero: Lindsay Halpin. Wrote it earlier in the Top 50 and it was never truer than this game: Halpin is probably the most underrated and underappreciated player of the decade in girls basketball. She was sensational in her time at the County Center, carrying the torch during this stretch of Irvington’s current dynasty. She was never afraid to take the big shot and had a knack of giving up the basketball at the appropriate time. Halpin was so gifted.

Why it’s Top 50: We’ve seen some great games in this decade and some of the most iconic finishes in the history of high school basketball. But this was the duel of the decade. Hyman, a varsity star since she was in seventh grade, never won a title after her first season but still goes down as one of the all-time greats. Halpin leaves a proven winner and one of the most unassuming stars in girls basketball. This game should be cherished.

Lasting image: No championship at Irvington is ever taken for granted. Gina Maher makes sure of it. This was a championship they appreciated greatly after Woodlands gave them their only defeat in the regular season. The respect that Irvington had towards Hyman in their career was immense and it created five amazing years of Star vs. Dynasty.



Date: March 3, 2010
Site: Westchester County Center

Game recap: Before you can appreciate this game, remember this: In the first round of the playoffs, Tappan Zee was down 18 points and came back to beat Panas. In the quarters, they were down 17 and rallied back to stun Rye at the buzzer.

Then came this game, which nobody truly believe they could actually win. The momentum went back and forth throughout and it seemed like Peekskill seized momentum in the fourth. The Red Devils took a 50-47 lead on a Daquan Brickhouse 3-pointer. Then came a wild sequence as Ryan O’Rourke was fouled and Peekskill assessed a technical on the same play. O’Rourke made all four free throws to put TZ ahead with 3:12 remaining. TZ got the ball and scored on a Tahj Vines basket.

On the next possession, Joe Letizia hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 spurt and put the Dutchmen up 56-50. Peekskill never recovered.

The Hero: TZ’s defense. All effort and guts. Peekskill was an explosive team around Brickhouse yet they never found their groove in this game. It was a testament to the commitment on the defensive end by the Dutchmen, especially in the fourth quarter after losing the lead. They held Peekskill scoreless for three minutes, which put the five-time champs on their heels.

Why it’s Top 50: This was the game that put Tappan Zee basketball and coach George Gaine on the map. Gaine, then in his sixth season, had been dreaming of an opportunity like this, preaching to the players who had come through the program in the years leading up that their time was coming. And they seized it. That’s what you marvel at most with this game. TZ wasn’t a program that had been here before and was waiting to breakthrough. This program busted not just the 2010 bracket as a No. 7 seed, they put a stranglehold on future tournament brackets from then to now to the foreseeable future.

Lasting image: Absolute shock. Tappan Zee’s bench. Their fans. Their coaches. The Peekskill bench. The partisan fans. The refs. And the media. Nobody could believe what was happening. While most of us didn’t believe it was possible, the players on the floor Tappan Zee did. They never backed down. Of all the teams in the decade, I don’t think there’s one I have more respect for than this. Tappan Zee changed Section 1 basketball on this night.



Date: February 28, 2016
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlights courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Game recap: There was really no reason think Fox Lane could compete with Mount Vernon. The Foxes were expected to be overwhelmed by the relentless defensive pressure of the Knights and, even with a surprising seven-point halftime lead, were never thought to be able to sustain it.

Mount Vernon’s run came in the third behind Marco Morency (21 points). Sean New later hit a 3-pointer to give Fox Lane the lead back. Greg Calixte tied the game early in the fourth for Mount Vernon. But the game turned when Jamal Jackson-Blake came off the bench and beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer.

Mount Vernon trailed by five with just over two minutes to go but went cold from the outside. Fox Lane connected on 10 3-pointers, including four by New, who scored a game-high 25. Mount Vernon was not able to make any serious push in the final 90 seconds.

The Hero: Matt Redhead. The dunk to put the punctuation mark on the victory is an epic moment in Fox Lane basketball history, reminiscent to Taj Finger’s late-game slam a decade earlier to beat Port Chester in a similar championship-game shocker. Redhead was so good this season, earning plenty of postseason accolades. But his and Alex Olson’s greatest contributions of this game were how they handed the full court pressure of the Knights. Fox Lane’s gameplan to take the ball out of the guards’ hands and let their large forwards break the press was an incredible coaching decision by the then 28-year-old Mike Tomassi.

Why it’s Top 50: This didn’t have the late-game suspense that most of these Top 10 featured. But this was as memorable a game given Mount Vernon was then a three-time champ and had a roster a year away from capturing a state crown. Fox Lane was largely outmanned but it never backed down from the challenge.

Lasting image: Not only did I have the fortune of attending all these games, but I was able to broadcast the vast majority. This was one of the best games to be under the headset. As time was winding down I said something to my colleague David Resnick that people made fun of me for; “This is going to happen. This is actually going to happen.” It was genuine shock. I never believed Fox Lane had a shot in this game. Yet as it unfolded, you realized Fox Lane was the better team. Could they do it for four quarters? The Foxes stood up against the mighty Mount Vernon dynasty and showed they could do just that.



Date: March 1, 2015
Site: Westchester County Center

Check back soon for video highlights courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Game recap: Arlington was undefeated, the No. 1 seed and aiming for a berth in the championship. But they fell behind big early against a hot-shooting Conor McGuinness. He scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers.

South led by nine after one quarter was up 14 at the half. The Admirals would not relent, mounting a shocking 17-0 run in the third quarter to take a 33-30 lead, a stretch capped by Kyle Connell’s 3-pointer. Arlington had surged in front, 45-44, entering the fourth. Jonathan Girard (18 points) and Brendan Sunday (17 points) exchanged baskets in the fourth with McGuinness and Andrew Bunyan, who drained a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final period and dropped 15.

The game came down to McGuinness an Arlington missed free throw. McGuinness was fouled, and it was ruled a flagrant, with under 30 seconds left. He made both free throws to tie the game. Off the inbound, McGuinness took center stage like no player did in a big moment in the decade.

The senior guard cleared out his teammates, taking his defender 1-on-1 off the dribbled. He pulled up from just inside the 3-pointer line and buried the game-winning shot in the final seconds.

Check out the McGuinness shot from various angles throughout the Westchester County Center:

The Hero: Conor McGuiness. My eyes well up when I even talk to someone about this game. And honestly, I’m having a difficult time just writing this excerpt without getting emotional. McGuinness played the entire season knowing his father, legendary coach and AD Joe McGuinness, was slowly losing his battle with cancer. Conor was forced to see the man so many respected and admired weakened every day by this disease at home. Often, he knew his dad couldn’t be in the gym to watch him play. Joe McGuinness was able to make it to the County Center this evening and was given one of the greatest gifts imaginable before his passing the following February. The shot was every shred of guts and confidence a parent wants to instill in their children. My hope is Joe McGuinness left the County Center that night knowing his son would be OK in life, no matter what challenge he would face. We all were proud of Connor.

Why it’s Top 50: Believe me when I say this: Personally, this is the No. 1 game of the decade. I rank it No. 3 because the first two were viral sensations that brought an unthinkable spotlight to Section 1 basketball around the globe. But as games, and great sports moments and stories go, nothing can touch this one for me. Arlington was undefeated, a rarity in Section 1 basketball, and primed to challenge Mount Vernon for the Gold Ball. They never got that opportunity.

Lasting image: Interviewing McGuinness on the spot on the floor where he hit that shot. He was beaming, totally unable to truly explain the feeling he had as the clock was winding down or in the aftermath. It wasn’t nearly as difficult a shot to win as Julian McGarvey and Khalil Edney. But in the 2010s, it might have been the best shot.



Date: March 3, 2018
Site: Pace University

Video highlights courtesy of KDJ Media and Pace University:

Game recap: The game itself gets to forgotten because of the final shot. But it was a great matchup from the start. Ardsley led 15-8 after one only to see TZ rally behind five first-half 3-pointers. Danny Linehan hit a pair of key 3-pointers in the second quarter to put the Dutchmen up 23-22 at the break.

TZ controlled the tempo in the third but Frankie Belarge knocked down a 3 in the final seconds of the period to keep the Panthers within 38-36 entering the fourth. Linehan and Oziah Deloatch were giving Ardsley fits, combining for 28 of the team’s 38 to that point. Ardsley, behind point guard Zeke Blauner, took a one-point lead with 1:03 remaining.

Oziah DeLoatch put TZ ahead with a putback basket and foul with 14.2 seconds left. McGarvey was fouled but missed the free throw, then missed the second intentionally.

TZ had the ball underneath the Ardsley basket with 2.7 seconds left. Then inbound pass went deep into the backcourt. McGarvey intercepted it. Fired. And he wrote his own chapter in Section 1 basketball history.

The Hero: Julian McGarvey. In the span of a minute, McGarvey went from thinking he choked his team’s chance of winning a title away at the foul line. Then was stumbling backwards through the air and chucking up the most unthinkable shot you’ll ever witnessed. McGarvey had been rather quiet throughout the game, save for a 3-pointer in the second quarter that took a lucky bounce off the rim and in. The all-state quarterback had 11 points, five steals, four assists and four rebounds in the win.

Why it’s Top 50: You couldn’t turn on a TV or scroll through social media for days and not see the blue and gold in the arena at Pace University and miraculous steal and basket by McGarvey. The shot really overshadows with a terrific four quarter effort Ardsley played as a team.

Lasting image: The shot goes in and your heart stops beating for a moment. Did that really just happen? Did that count? Then the sea of fans rush the floor. There’s shock by anyone in red and white. Hands on heads in terror on the Tappan Zee sideline. Immediate tears. And Julian McGarvey was swarmed by what felt like the entire town of Ardsley. Before he knew, McGarvey and his teammates were holding up the Gold Ball. I remember walking off the floor next to McGarvey to head up to the interview room. I stopped him and pulled himself “Trust me dude,” I told him, “this isn’t just a crazy shot. Your life is about to change. Be prepared.” And McGarvey was. He handled his celebrity and the media onslaught as well as any kid could have. Ardsley went on to pull off a few more postseason wins to reach the state championship game. Forever, in their hometown, McGarvey and the boys are heroes. Tappan Zee coach George Gained handled the situation the way an educator should. His words in the day after to me on the phone created an article I think I am most proud of in my career.



Date: March 3, 2013
Site: Westchester County Center

Video highlight of Edney’s shot courtesy of MSG Varsity:

Game recap: New Rochelle was done. Finished. The Gold Ball was staying in Mount Vernon. The Knights were about to finally finish off a Huguenots team that was .500 in the regular season but actually hit their stride in the playoffs.

That stride was gone when New Rochelle was down quickly and trailed by 10 with 3:52 following a Jalen Davis basket. Mount Vernon, which entered 19-1, saw their lead slowly and painfully evaporate. It wasn’t a string of big shots, but a Mount Vernon turnover and New Ro free throws. Davis put Mount Vernon ahead by two on a free throw with 2.9 seconds to play.

Khalil Edney, the state champion quarterback, threw an errant pass towards halfcourt. You know the rest.

For the first time ever, watch the entire fourth quarter of the MSG Varsity broadcast of New Rochelle’s win over Mount Vernon:

The Hero: Joe Clarke. Ok, fine, it was Edney. But Joe Clarke led them back and was probably my favorite athlete to cover in the 2010s, along with McGuinnes, Trill Williams, Saniya Chong and RJ Davis. Clarke had this unbelievable knack for the dramatic in football and basketball. My former colleague Chris Caron and I produced “Top 10 Joe Clarke moments” at MSG Varsity. We could have done 30. In this game, Clarke poured in 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Why it’s Top 50: I had no words then and I have even fewer now. To this day I don’t know who Khalil Edney was throwing the ball to. I don’t know why he ran in that direction to the middle of the court where the ball was tossed back up. I don’t know how he managed to catch it, land and muster the strength to fire off a 60-foot. And I don’t know how it all happened in 2.9 seconds. But it proved to be the defining play of the decade and the most memorable moment in Section 1 basketball history.

Lasting image: Nobody realizes this, but it was the first Section 1 basketball game I had ever broadcasted. I had done plenty of on-air features and interviews, but I had never done live game commentary until this. It was the first of four games I worked at the County Center that day and, even though I knew I had just witnessed an iconic moment, I didn’t really hit me how it was spreading to the outside world until hours later. My wife Donna, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time, tried to explain but it didn’t sink in until 10 hours later. I went to a bar on Mamaroneck Ave in White Plains and sat by myself around 11 pm. As I looked up at the tv in front of me, SportsCenter was about begin. Before even the opening montage, the images of the County Center appeared, then came Edney, then came “I have no words.” Life, at that moment, changed forever.

Thank you for following the Top 50 Championship Week Moments of the 2010s. As fun as it was to write all these recaps, I cannot explain how fortunate I feel to have experienced them all first-hand.

2 replies »

  1. Kevin
    Great job with the top 50. I enjoyed reading about each and every game.

    well done
    Tom Bell
    New Paltz College

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