Tournament Time: SuperBracketology – First Round Class B

The next installment of this crazy man’s quest to determine the best team of this century continues here with Class B.

Thanks to an overwhelming response on Twitter this week to the SuperBracketology project — the quest to find the Best Section 1 Boys Basketball Teams of the 2000s in bracket form — we continue with the opening round of (simulated) competition.

Please, remember this is all for the sake of entertainment during this stressful and agonizing period of our lives. It’s supposed to be fun and debate-provoking. My goal is simply to distract and entertain you. In the end, this bracket doesn’t mean anything.

With that said, we are off to my career-defining exercise!

Here’s the pre-tournament bracket that I posted on Selection Sunday. All 21 of the Section 1 championships from Class C (and D from 2000-2003 when there was only four classes) earned automatic bids. I also chose 11 at-large teams to fill out a 32-team field.

SuperBracketology of the 2000s: Class B First Round Results

Nelligan Region

No. 1 Kennedy Catholic 2004 vs. No. 8 Woodlands 2001

Kennedy Catholic 2004 (25-2):
Won Class B state and Federation championship
Woodlands 2001 (18-4): Reached the Section 1 final as the No. 1 seed

Starting lineups

Kennedy ’04
G – Dan O’Connell
G – Matt Maher
G – Tyrell Thompson
F – Dan Gumb
F – Peter Courtney
Coach – Tom Nelligan

Woodlands ’01
G – Rashad Bilal
G – A.J Stewart
G – George Langhorn
F – Marshall Jones
F – Darnell Banks
Coach – Dave Vandiver

The buildup: The most accomplished team of the century so far, Kennedy Catholic was a monster in 2013-14. We saw the emergence of two superstar sophomores in Tyrell Thompson and Dan O’Connell, who meshed well with veteran bigs Dan Gumb and Peter Courtney. Gumb was the toughest matchup on the roster but Courtney was the one who put this team over the top in the playoffs. Woodlands was led by Rashad Bilal, who left for prep school and then went on to play Division 1 basketball. The Falcons were a stacked, deep team that couldn’t slow down Kyl Jones and Pleasantville in the 2001 sectional final.

KDJ’s Pick: As good as this Woodlands team was, it’s hard to go against the Gaels. The late Tyrell Thompson would post similar matchup issues that Kyl Jones did and top seed Kennedy would advance.

FINAL SCORE: KENNEDY CATHOLIC 64, WOODLANDS 59. Dan Gumb muscles his way around the paint for a 12 point, 12 rebound game and Thompson hits five 3s in the win.

No. 4 Lourdes 2013 vs. No. 5 Pleasantville 2010

Lourdes 2013 (17-6):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in first round of state tournament
Pleasantville 2010 (20-2): Reached Section 1 Class B final

Starting lineups

Lourdes ’13
G – Kyle Santoro
G – Nick Porter
G – Mike Donnell
F – Jack Kolosky
F – Justin Rhynders
Coach – Jim Santoro

Pleasantville ’10
G – Nolan Robinson
G – Robbie Delle Bovi
G – Matt Nicolai
F – Matt Miller
F – Jack Bramswig
Coach –
Bob Delle Bovi

The buildup: This Lourdes team was solid from top to bottom. No real star. No real weakness. The Warriors defended well, did all the little things and won one of the great games of the 2010s by beating Dobbs Ferry and Eric Paschall in OT of the 2013 Class B final. Pleasantville 2010 might be the best Class B team not to win a championship. The Panthers suffered heartbreaking losses in the final seconds of the section finals, including Woodlands in 2010. Like Lourdes, Pleasantville also had great balance and any one of their starters could lead in scoring on a given night

KDJ’s Pick: These are two incredibly evenly matched teams and this is a game that would go beyond 32 minutes. The key would be how Rhynders would match up in the paint against Bramswig, and how Santoro and Porter would defend the 3-point shooters of the Panthers.

FINAL SCORE: LOURDES 64, PLEASANTVILLE 63 OT. You can’t teach the late-game mettle that this Lourdes team had. The Warriors don’t miss a free throw in the fourth quarter or overtime, get a stop on the final possession and survive to the next round.

No. 3 Hastings 2020 vs. No. 6 Woodlands 2014

Hastings 2020 (23-2):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, reached state regional final before tournament was suspended
Woodlands 2014 (19-6): Won Section 1 Class B championship, reached state semifinals

Starting lineups

Hastings ’20
G – Chris Rotiroti
G – Rob Kennedy
G – Josh Thigpen
F – Liam Hopwood
F – Alex Grossman
Coach – Bob Delle Bovi

Woodlands ’14
G – Pierre Lys
G – Brandon Johnson
F – Denzel Small
F – Jamil Gambari
F – Ross Joseph
Coach – Bob Murphy

The buildup: Like I said about Hamilton in the Class C/D SuperBracketology breakdown, Hastings is a team that could very well be in Glens Falls this weekend. The Yellow Jackets roster just fit so well together with Hopwood and Grossman inside, the depth of guards and Thigpen posing matchup problems all over the floor. Woodlands was a bit of surprise in 2014 winning the title as a No. 6 seed and with a core of underclassmen. Jamil Gambari, a junior MVP, exploded in the postseason and guided this group to the state final four.

KDJ’s Pick: Woodlands knocked off Putnam Valley in the section final behind hot second-half 3-point shooting and then overwhelmed its first two state tournament opponents defensively. A major strength of this Hastings team, however, is an area of Woodlands’ weakness – interior size.

FINAL SCORE: HASTINGS 56, WOODLANDS 54. Great basketball game between two well coached and explosive teams. Hopwood and Grossman do enough to keep the feisty Falcons off the glass and Thigpen scores 21 to lead the Yellow Jackets to the Sweet 16.

No. 2 Albertus Magnus 2011 vs. No. 7 Briarcliff 2016

Albertus Magnus 2011 (18-5):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regionals to eventual state champion Burke Catholic
Briarcliff 2016 (23-2): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regionals to state finalist Marlboro

Starting lineups

Albertus Magnus ’11
G – Pat McGuinness
G – Jack Sullivan
F – Tom McConnell
F – Arnell Dandridge
F – Tyler Sayre
Coach – Pat McFadden

Briarcliff ’16
G – Nick Reish
G – Jack Ryan
G – Josiah Cobbs
F – Nick Beninati
F – Sean Crowley
Coach –
Cody Moffett

The buildup: Albertus Magnus had been building around this core of players and aiming for multiple runs as section titles. This was the first of back to back crowns for the Falcons, who knocked off Dobbs Ferry in the final as Tyler Sayre and Pat McGuinness established themselves among the section’s top tandems. Briarcliff was a team built around a star inside in Crowley and a strong stable of guards. They were unbeaten in Section 1 and their only losses for the year were to Marlboro; in early December and then in the state playoffs.

KDJ’s Pick: Sayre vs Crowley and Reish vs. McGuinness would be worth the price of admission alone. Crowley had a strong frame but Sayre was more versatile, which would have been a matchup issue for the Bears. The way this Albertus Magnus team got after it defensively and shared the basketball was very underrated appreciated.

FINAL SCORE: ALBERTUS MAGNUS 51, BRIARCLIFF 47. The. Bears would find a way to slow the game down to their pace but the Falcons were a resilient and poised group that would adapt. McGuinness scores 24, Sayre 18 and 11 rebounds and the Falcons survive.

Delle Bovi Region

No. 1 Blind Brook 2002 vs. No. 8 Briarcliff 2008

Blind Brook 2002 (28-1):
Won NYSPHSAA championship (then Class C) and lost in Federation championship
Briarcliff 2008 (18-5): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

Blind Brook ’02
G – John Michael Grzan
G – Kevin Aughavin
G – Chris Greco
F – David Stockel
F – Jason Stein
Coach – Jeff Charney

Briarcliff ’08
G – Alex Gulotta
G – James DeAlto
F – Garth Muratori
F – Kyle Beechum
F – Joe Lombardi
Coach Matt Evangelista

The buildup: It’s a little difficult pushing this Blind Brook team to our B bracket when they were actually a D team in 2001 and then jumped to C in 2002 by only a few students in enrollment. But, if any team can match up win a larger class, it is this Blind Brook squad. Stein and Grzan were a terrific inside-out duo. Stein was such a talented interior player with his blend of strength and smoothness while Grzan handled the point as well as any body in this era. Aughavin, Greco and Stockel took turns being that third scoring threat and cemented this team as the best in program history. If you ask anybody on the 2008 Briarcliff squad, they’ll admit they underachieved by not going back-to-back as section champs. This team had its sights set on so much more.

KDJ’s Pick: While this is a 1 vs. 8 matchup, these are two teams that mirror each other in so many ways. Alex Gulotta and John Michael Grzan are separated-at-birth point guard talents. Beechum gives the Bears that second post presence. But what ultimately, Blind Brook may have been the best defensive team on this bracket, and maybe any bracket, with its heralded matchup zone. Defense travels, even through time.

FINAL SCORE: BLIND BROOK 47, BRIARCLIFF 43. The Bears struggle to get shots, score mainly when Gulotta hits from deep or Lombardi imposes his will. But the Trojans control the game and grind out the victory.

No. 4 Woodlands 2010 vs. No. 5 Pleasantville 2017

Woodlands 2010 (19-3):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in regional semifinals to state finalist Burke Catholic
Pleasantville 2017 (17-8): Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in regional semifinals

Starting lineups

Woodlands ’10
G – Malik Atkins
G – Derrick Banks
G – Samon O’Neil
F – Davonne Henry
F – Reese Williams
Coach – Bob Murphy

Pleasantville ’17
G – Mike Manley
G – Charlie McPhee
F – Jeremy Stone
F – Quentin Lupo
F – Nick Salzarulo
Coach – Chris Welsh

The buildup: These were two teams that, before the season, were not in the championship conversation. Woodlands had two transfers enter the picture in combo guard Davonne Henry and point guard Malik Atkins, who were terrific talents. Woodlands surged through the second half of the season and beaten Pleasantville in a thriller in the Class B final. The 2017 Panthers had their ups and downs through the season before hitting their straight in the playoffs, highlighted by their commanding win over rival Briarcliff in the championship.

KDJ’s Pick: Two teams with a severely contrasting styles. Woodlands was a team that only knew how to play with tempo and Henry was unrivaled jumper and dunker. Pleasantville had a pair of sharpshooting stars in Quentin Lupo and Mike Manley and relied on the physical, steady presence of their state championship football players to round out the roster. This Woodlands squad is remembered for the transfers, which is fair. But you cannot discount how good of a team they actually were. The Falcons match up well here.

FINAL SCORE: WOODLANDS 60, PLEASANTVILLE 55. Davonne Henry was practically un-guardable when he wanted to be. He’d drop 25 and come up with seven steals as Woodlands knocks off the Panthers.

No. 3 Pleasantville 2000 vs. No. 9 Pleasantville 2009

Pleasantville 2000 (19-5):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class C) and lost in regional final to state finalist Malverne
Pleasantville 2009 (16-8): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

Pleasantville ’00
G – Kyl Jones
G – Brian Sondey
G – Ryan Linehan
F – Dan Zane
F – Robert Nugent
Coach – Glenn Jensen

Pleasantville ’09
G – Nolan Robinson
G – Robbie Delle Bovi
G – Matt Nicolai
F – Scott Tierney
F – Jack Bramswig
Coach – Bob Delle Bovi

The buildup: Nothing like a good Pleasantville vs Pleasantville matchup. The 2000 version of the Panthers were loaded and had something the 2001 team did not: a healthy Kyl Jones. The 6-foot-5 wing was unstoppable for a Pleasantville team that survived arguably the most competitive small-school field back in 2000 (it was Class C then since there was only four classifications). This team was a stellar defensive unit. Pleasantville 2009 was a team that arrived a year ahead of schedule into the sectional final as a No. 7 seed, and faced a Lincoln Hall squad that they beat three times in the regular season.

KDJ’s Pick: The four three-year starters on the 2009 Pleasantville team of Bramswig, Robinson, Delle Bovi and Nicolai was a strong, well assembled core. But the question in this showdown is this: who defends Kyl Jones. Nobody for two years in Section 1 had an answer to that. And this team doesn’t either.

FINAL SCORE: PLEASANTVILLE (2000) 56, PLEASANTVILLE (2009) 48. Jones goes for 28 points and 16 rebounds in a dominant performance. Nugent and Sondey chip in 12 each in the win.

No. 2 North Salem 2008 vs. No. 7 Hastings 2003

North Salem 2008 (23-2):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional final
Hastings 2003 (21-1): Reached Section 1 semifinals (then Class C) as No. 1 seed and lost to champion Tuckahoe

Starting lineups

North Salem ’08
G – Josh O’Neill
G – Greg Shea
G – Karl Miras
F – Tom Kruze
F – Marc Miller
Coach – Henry Sassone

Hastings ’03
G – Jimmy Sugrue
G – Joe Flaherty
G – Chris Skrelja
F – George Skrelja
F – Dan Blake
Coach – Chris Ward

The buildup: This is the most difficult matchup of the opening round to forecast. Combined these teams went 39-1 in the regular season. North Salem never got the respect it deserved in the regular season with all the attention going to reigning champ Briarcliff. But they impressed behind the tandem of point guard Josh O’Neill and big man Marc Miller. They won an epic overtime championship game against Briarcliff, which I deemed the Class B Game of the Decade in 2009, and I’m not sure I’ve seen one quite as good in the conference since. Hastings took Section 1 by storm in 2002-03 as first-year coach Chris Ward lit a fire in the program from Day 1. The Skrelja brothers were a force because of their versatility and shooting prowess, and Sugrue ran the show with ease. All three of them went on to play college basketball. Their year ended in crushing fashion with a loss to Tuckahoe where they shot below 50% from the free throw line.

KDJ’s Pick: Interesting contrast here with a North Salem team nobody expected to win against a Hastings team with all the pressure in the world in 2003. Miller would be able to control the interior in this matchup and North Salem coach Henry Sassone would come up with a defensive scheme to slow down this Hastings uptempo style. It will all come down to making shots in the end and handling the bright lights of the County Center.

FINAL SCORE: NORTH SALEM 63, HASTINGS 61. Even talent and a tight game down to the wire, give me the tough-as-nails North Salem team that just knew how to win. They played so unselfish and had such great chemistry. They may not be the more talented team here but they are one that knew how to play together and how to win.

McFadden Region

No. 1 Pleasantville 2001 vs. No. 8 Woodlands 2007

Pleasantville 2001 (19-7):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class C) and lost in regional final
Woodlands 2007 (17-6): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

Pleasantville ’01
G – Ryan Linehan
G – Rich Cacciato
F – Matt DeBalsio
F – Kyl Jones
F – Anthony DeCandido
Coach – Glenn Jensen

Woodlands ’07
G – Rudolph Lys
G – D’Andre Vandiver
G – Larry Grant
F – Justin Person
F – Bryan Early
Coach Dave Vandiver

The buildup: The Panthers returned only two starters, lost star Kyl Jones for part of the season to injury and still managed to capture another championship. Jones, even at three-quarters speed, was still so dominant. Woodlands had been coming off a loss to Kennedy in the section final the previous season and believed 2007 was their time with a senior-laden roster. But the Falcons ran into a surging Briarcliff squad in the championship.

KDJ’s Pick: Larry Grant vs Kyl Jones would been a marquee matchup. Grant went on to have a strong career at Millersville and was among the section’s most underrated players in high school. Woodlands would give this Pleasantville team a challenge but wouldn’t be able to contain Jones enough to win

FINAL SCORE: PLEASANTVILLE 55, WOODLANDS 50. Jones and the depth of the Panthers roster dig deep in the fourth quarter and hold off Larry Grant and Co.

No. 4 Briarcliff 2018 vs. No. 5 Tuckahoe 2003

Briarcliff 2018 (22-5):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in state semifinals in 2OT to eventual champ Mekeel Christian
Tuckahoe 2003 (20-5): Won Section 1 championship (then Class C), lost in state regional semifinals

Starting lineups

Briarcliff ’18
G – Jack Ryan
G – Miles Jones
G – A.J. Panarese
F – Spencer McCann
F – Jackson Gonseth
Coach – Cody Moffett

Tuckahoe ’03
G -Eliot Melendez
G – Brandon Murray
F – Jamal Webb
F – Mike Gates
F – Ronnie Strand
Coach – Dennis Kirkland

The buildup: This Briarcliff team might not ever get the due it deserves. Two of the Bears’ regular season losses were to Poughkeepsie and Spring Valley, and they suffered a heartbreaking loss to 2OT in the state semis to a Mekeel Christian squad that won it all. This team meshed unbelievably well with the bigs inside in McCann and Gonseth, a versatile backcourt in Ryan and Jones and a player in Panarese who did all the little things to win. Tuckahoe had the best player in Section 1 in 2003 in Jamal Webb, a Mr. Basketball recipient, and survived one of the great small-school final fours of this century. Strand and Gates were great interior players, Melendez was a dynamic athlete and Murray was a lethal 3-point shooter. As 5 on 5s go, this game ranks among the most loaded of the first round.

KDJ’s Pick: Player for player, these teams match up so evenly. If there’s a team and a coach in this bracket that would devise a way to slow down Webb, it would be the Bears and Cody Moffett.

FINAL SCORE: BRIARCLIFF 65, TUCKAHOE 62. Jack Ryan and Miles Jones each score 17 points, McCann and Gonseth control the boards and, despite 29 from Webb, the Bears prevail down the stretch.

No. 3 Briarcliff 2007 vs No. 6 Dobbs Ferry 2019

Briarcliff 2007 (20-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional semifinals
Dobbs Ferry 2019 (21-5): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional final

Starting lineups

Briarcliff ’07
G – Alex Gulotta
G – Brendan Mitchell
F – Kyle Beechum
F – Joe Lombardi
F – Brendon Holland
Coach – Matt Evangelista

Dobbs Ferry ’19
G – Patrick Baglieri
G – Lester McCarthy
G – Dimaunie Meredith
F – Zach Holzman
F – Damani Fraser
Coach – Scott Patrillo

The buildup: A pair of section champions — coached by former college roommates — features a Briarcliff team that thrived in the halfcourt against a Dobbs team that was at its best when they got out and ran. Briarcliff had a young nucleus of stars in Alex Gulotta, Joe Lombardi and Kyle Beechum, plus a huge lift when 6-foot-6 forward Brendon Holland returned from Kennedy Catholic to turn this squad into a title contender. Dobbs Ferry had been knocking on the door for a decade before finally breaking through with a deep, athletic squad led by the explosive Dimaunie Meredith.

KDJ’s Pick: This is a game I would actually pay to see. Both won thrillers in their championships; Briarcliff surviving Woodlands while Dobbs Ferry beat Blind Brook in overtime. This one would go down to the wire as well and ultimately would get decided by the play-making of Gulotta and the Bears’ ability to slow down the pace.

FINAL SCORE: BRIARCLIFF 59, DOBBS FERRY 58. Joe Lombardi was so versatile and had the ability to put the Bears on his back when they needed him most this season. Lombardi gets 24 and 13 here and the Bears move on.

No. 2 Woodlands 2015 vs. No. 7 Croton-Harmon 2000

Woodlands 2015 (22-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in NYSPHSAA title game
Croton-Harmon 2000 (18-5): Reached Section 1 championship game (then Class C) and lost to Pleasantville

Starting lineups

Woodlands ’15
G – Pierre Lys
G – Brandon Johnson
G – Jamil Gambari
F – Ross Joseph
F – Denzel Small
Coach – Bob Murphy

Croton-Harmon ’00
G – Sean Font
G – Greg Muller
F – Tram Whitehurst
F – Bob Gorman
F – Jim Higgins
Coach – Bill Thom

The buildup: Woodlands entered the year with the loftiest of expectations and, in Section 1 play, never faltered. The Falcons had three all-section players in Jamil Gambari, Ross Joseph and Brandon Johnson, who continued to expand their games after reaching the state final four as juniors. Their run ended in the state final this season but capped a remarkable two-year reign. Croton reached the championship in their stacked final four field in 2000, giving Pleasantville everything it could handle before the Panthers pulled away late. Greg Muller was a sensation for the Tigers.

KDJ’s Pick: Croton poses some serious matchup issues to the Falcons here. Muller is a 6-5 wing and Jim Higgins is 6-8 and would tower over the front line of this Woodlands team. The Falcons, though, showed incredible toughness against bigger opponents throughout 2015 and usually neutralized it with their depth and speed.

FINAL SCORE: WOODLANDS 64, CROTON-HARMON 61. The Falcons sweat this one out against a gritty Croton team. But Woodlands combines for 12 3-pointers and the Falcons advance.

Jensen Region

No. 1 Albertus Magnus 2012 vs. No. 8 Valhalla 2020

Albertus Magnus 2012 (20-3):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional semifinals to Burke Catholic
Valhalla 2020 (19-5): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

Albertus Magnus ’12
G – Pat McGuinness
G – Jack Sullivan
G – Tom McConnell
F – Arnell Dandridge
F – Tyler Sayre
Coach – Pat McFadden

Valhalla ’20
G – Sebastian Pacheco
G – Marlin Wise
G – Marco Mazza
F – Drew Dayton-Bey
F – Rahsean Melvin
Coach – Rich Clinchy

The buildup: Albertus Magnus was a dominant force in Class B with their senior-heavy roster coming off a sectional championship. Tyler Sayre and Pat McGuinness returned after stellar junior years and Jack Sullivan took a major stride to make a great team even better. The Falcons were challenged in the section final by Dobbs Ferry but finished the job as expected. Valhalla had a strong two-year run with the core of talent, led by Marlon Wise and Sebastian Pacheco. They suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the final to Hastings, getting stopped on a last-second shot to win it.

KDJ’s Pick: Albertus didn’t have nearly the depth of this Valhalla team, and this is a squad that could actually matchup with the Falcons’ talented backcourt. But the Falcons are too well-rounded and experienced a team to get eliminated in this first round.

FINAL SCORE: ALBERTUS MAGNUS 60, VALHALLA 53. McGuinness and Sullivan do their parts on both ends of the floor and the Falcons roll into the second round.

No. 4 Lincoln Hall 2009 vs. No. 5 Dobbs Ferry 2013

Lincoln Hall 2009 (17-7):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regionals to Burke Catholic
Dobbs Ferry 2013 (15-7): Reached Section 1 Class B final, lost in OT to Lourdes

Starting lineups

Lincoln Hall ’09
G – Curtis Fisher
G – Zach Alston
G – Jonathan Bryant
F – Sir Aaron Taylor
F – Tysean Saigo
Coach – Henry Taylor

Dobbs Ferry ’13
G – George Roca
G – Josh Smith
G – Dan Riefenhauser
F – Nick Kost
F – Eric Paschall
Coach – Scott Patrillo

The buildup: This Lincoln Hall championship is remembered for two reasons: they had Sir Aaron Taylor. And because their students jumped out of the balcony to celebrate on the floor after Lincoln Hall beat Pleasantville in the championship at the County Center. But this was a really strong team Lincoln Hall team and Henry Taylor does not get the credit he deserves as the coach of it. They beat a Pleasantville team that they lost to three times in the regular season and nearly knocked off Burke Catholic in the regionals, falling in OT. Dobbs Ferry took Lourdes to overtime in the sectional final, losing to despite a heroic game from Eric Paschall and Nick Kost.

KDJ’s Pick: The United had a dynamic front line with Taylor and Saigo, who would absolutely control the glass in this matchup. The question is who would defend Paschall? Mr. Basketball of 2013 and the current Golden State Warriors forward would be a major problem for a Lincoln Hall team that doesn’t have anyone with the size or quickness to defend Paschall.

FINAL SCORE: LINCOLN HALL 71, DOBBS FERRY 70. The Eagles can’t pull off the upset despite 40 points from Eric Paschall. Sir Aaron Taylor fills the stat sheet and Tysean Saigo has another double-double.

No. 3 Kennedy Catholic 2006 vs. No. 6 Putnam Valley 2014

Kennedy Catholic 2006 (23-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in state title game
Putnam Valley 2014 (18-4): Reached Section 1 Class B final, lost to Woodlands

Starting lineups

Kennedy ’06
G – Dan O’Connell
G – Chris Caputi
G – Tyrell Thompson
F – Devin Brown
F – Joe Mercurio
Coach – Tom Nelligan

Putnam Valley ’14
G – Zack Nolan
G – Ryan Basso
G – Zach Coleman
F – Kevin Fitzsimmons
F – Jelani Bell-Isaac
Coach – Mike McDonnell

The buildup: Kennedy pulled off the three-peat in 2006 with seniors Dan O’Connell and Tyrell Thompson leading the way again. They deserve to go down among the top tandems of the decade, guiding the program to 70 wins in the final three seasons. This team would reach the state final and get beat by Lackawanna. Putnam Valley had been building toward this playoff run and were beaten by an upstart Woodlands squad in a wild final.

KDJ’s Pick: Really hard to pick against this Kennedy team, especially when the core of players are seniors. This Put Valley group, however, should be regarded among the best to not win a title. Jelani Bell-Isaac, Zach Coleman and Zack Nolan were starters for three years and helped build the Tigers program to what it is today.

FINAL SCORE: KENNEDY CATHOLIC 70, PUTNAM VALLEY. 61. Tyrell Thompson has 18 and seven steals and Dan O’Connell and Chris Caputi each hit four 3-pointers in the win.

No. 2 Kennedy Catholic 2005 vs. No. 7 Dobbs Ferry 2012

Kennedy Catholic 2005 (22-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in state semifinals
Dobbs Ferry 2012 (19-2): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

Kennedy Catholic ’05
G – Dan O’Connell
G – Matt Maher
F – Tyrell Thompson
F – Mickey Warncke
F – Devin Brown
Coach – Tom Nelligan

Dobbs Ferry ’12
G – Eddie Ritch
G – Spencer Avalos
F – John Yozzo-Scaperrotta
F – Eric Paschall
F – Thomas Fleming
Coach – Scott Patrillo

The buildup: We call this the Controversy Bowl. Most remember this Kennedy team as the one that famously got into a brawl with Burke Catholic in the state tournament and had to win the game days after it was suspended. Kennedy was beaten in the state semifinal without Dan O’Connell or else they could have taken back to back state titles. And this is the Dobbs Ferry that reached the section final but lost Eric Paschall after he got two technical fouls in the semifinal. Dobbs lost to Albertus in the final without their future NBA star.

KDJ’s Pick: For the sake of this exercise, we’ll let O’Connell and Paschall participate in this game. Dobbs Ferry would be able to physically match up with the Gaels. And knowing this group, they would not back down from them either. Kennedy has two teams advancing in this bracket. But I’m smelling an upset.

FINAL SCORE: DOBBS FERRY 68, KENNEDY CATHOLIC 66 OT. You didn’t see this one coming, did you? And if you’re still reading this far down the page, I say thanks. Dobbs Ferry was a team playing at such a high level in March 2012 and they truly believed they could take down Albertus Magnus in the final. When they lost Paschall, that took a major hit. I learned better than to bet against Dobbs Ferry in this era. And I won’t do it again here.

Updated Class B Bracket:

Thank you for reading this installment of SuperBracketology. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the simulations. Please feel free to contact me on Twitter @KDJMedia1 or via email kdjmedia1@gmail.com.

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