Tournament Time: SuperBracketology – First Round Class A

Scroll down to content
Byram Hills star Jeff Lynch. Photo: Patch.com

We move on in our SuperBracketology tournament with what will be by far the most difficult bracket to forecast: Class A.

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 A Play-In Results

No. 8 Tappan Zee 2018 vs. No. 8 Byram Hills 2013

Records
Tappan Zee 2018 (19-5):
Reached Section 1 Class A final, lost at buzzer to Ardsley
Byram Hills 2013 (19-2): Reached Section 1 Class A final, lost to Poughkeepsie

Starting lineups

Tappan Zee ’18
G – Sean Peterson
G – Jon Weissberg
F – Oziah Deloatch
F – Jackson Muncan
F – Aidan Cunney
Coach – George Gaine

Byram Hills ’13
G – Jeff Lynch
G – Brian Skelly
G – Ryan Golden
F – Mike Giacomo
F – Andrew Groll
Coach – Ted Repa

KDJ’s Pick: BYRAM HILLS 52, TAPPAN ZEE 49. This Tappan Zee squad pulled off one of the great upsets in the postseason of the decade, shocking favorite Saunders in the quarterfinals. But they face a veteran Byram Hills team here with plenty of big game experience. Jeff Lynch scores 24 and the Bobcats play on.

No. 8 Lakeland 2002 vs. No. 8 Eastchester 2014

Records
Lakeland 2002 (19-4):
Reached Section 1 semifinals (then Class B)
Eastchester 2014 (19-3): Reached Section 1 championship game

Starting lineups

Lakeland ’02
G – Jason Weltman
G – Andy Mackiewicz
G – Tom Fazio
F – Tom Jennings
F – Ryan Schneider
Coach – Henry Weltman

Eastchester ’14
G – Jack Daly
G – Benny DiMirco
F – Mike Milo
F – Nick Campana
F – Andrew Schultz
Coach – Fred DiCarlo

KDJ’s Pick: LAKELAND 58, EASTCHESTER 57. As talented as this Eastchester squad was with Jack Daly, this is not a great matchup. The Eagles got out and ran in 2014, pouring in points and doing it against a rigorous schedule. Lakeland played a similar style but was a strong defensive unit. Their size and toughness on the perimeter would be the difference.

No. 8 Byram Hills 2017 vs. No. 8 Pearl River 2011

Records
Pearl River 2011 (17-4):
Reached Section 1 championship game, lost to Byram Hills
Byram Hills 2017 (21-2): Reached Section 1 semifinals, lost to eventual state finalist Lourdes.

Starting lineups

Pearl River ’11
G – Luke Houston
G – Joe Clinton
G – Austin O’Toole
F – John Donovan
F – Anthony Calise
Coach – Jerry Houston

Byram Hills ’17
G – Skylar Sinon
G – Matt Milone
G – Willy Samsen
F – Ben Leff
F – Matt Groll
Coach – Ted Repa

KDJ’s Pick: BYRAM HILLS 52, PEARL RIVER 50. The Bobcats beat Pearl River again in another hotly contest, defensive battle. Byram’s ability to make every shot difficult for Houston would be replicated here with Matt Milone and Willy Samsen doing the defensive damage. Pearl River would also have a tough time inside against the size of the Bobcats.

No. 8 Tappan Zee 2017 vs. No. 8 Tappan Zee 2011

Records
Tappan Zee 2017 (21-2):
Reached Section 1 Class A championship
Tappan Zee 2011 (16-5): Reached Section 1 Class A semifinals

Starting lineups

Tappan Zee ’17
G – Kieran Gibson
G – Matt McGivney
F – Matt McCleary
F – Ryan Holder
F – Kevin Lynch
Coach – George Gaine

Tappan Zee ’11
G – Joe Letizia
G – Ryan O’Rourke
F – Tahj Vines
F – Pat Peterson
F – Brendan Donohue
Coach – George Gaine

KDJ’s Pick: TAPPAN ZEE (2011) 50, TAPPAN ZEE (2017) 48. The Tappan Zee nucleus that paved the way for teams like the 2017 squad meet head to head in this matchup. The 2017 team is still bitter about their championship game loss to Lourdes. This matchup would prove to be a bit tougher given how relentless this 2011 squad was defensively. Joe Letizia delivers 21 points and Donohue does just enough to contain Kevin Lynch (19 points and 14 rebounds) in the paint as the old men move on.


SuperBracketology of the 2000s:
Class A First Round Results

Panzanaro Region

No. 1 Tappan Zee 2012 vs. No 8 Byram Hills 2013

Records
Tappan Zee 2012 (25-1):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, reached NYSPHSAA final
Byram Hills 2013 (19-2): Reached Section 1 Class A final

Starting lineups

Tappan Zee ’12
G – Joe Letizia
G – Brian McLaughlin
G – Pat Peterson
F – Billy O’Shea
F – Eric Casey
Coach – George Gaine

Byram Hills ’13
G – Jeff Lynch
G – Brian Skelly
G – Ryan Golden
F – Mike Giacomo
F – Andrew Groll
Coach – Ted Repa

The buildup: The best TZ team in school history went on a wild ride in 2012, going undefeated into the state final and pulling off the greatest upset in my time following high school sports, beating Jamesville-Dewitt (YouTube video here) in the state semis. Tappan Zee knocked off a short-handed Byram team in the Section 1 semis before beating Poughkeepsie in the final. Byram Hills won a section title in 2011, lost in the semis in 2012 and reached the title game in 2013 but lost to loaded Poughkeepsie squad. The defeat ended the run of the dynamic tandem of senior guards Jeff Lynch and Ryan Golden.

KDJ’s Pick: The two programs that defined the 2010s square off in this heated opening round showdown. Few know that these teams did not like each other when they had their annual meetings, evidenced by the handshake snubs at the opening tip before the 2012 final. Tappan Zee had a special nucleus of players from 2010-2012 and this was their best team, mainly because of the growth of Billy O’Shea. The 6-foot-3 senior was such a matchup problem in the postseason that year and would create one in this game, as well.

FINAL SCORE: TAPPAN ZEE 51, BYRAM HILLS 46. The Dutchmen get past a hot shooting Byram team in the opening round as O’Shea goes for 21 and 11 rebounds. Jeff Lynch and Ryan Golden each make four 3-pointers but Pat Peterson makes a couple of deeeeeeep 3s in the final minutes to seal it.


No. 4 Rye 2020 vs. No 5 Kennedy Catholic 2002

Records
Rye 2020 (20-4):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, state tournament suspended
Kennedy Catholic 2002 (19-3): Reached Section 1 semifinals (then Class B) and lost to eventual champion Peekskill

Starting lineups

Rye ’20
G – Quinn Kelly
G – Matthew Tepedino
G – Rafael Velasquez
F – Alec Volbrecht
F – James Mackle
Coach – John Aguilar

Kennedy ’02
G – Donnie McGrath
G – Phil DiBuono
G – Dan Robstad
F – Colin McKeon
F – Frank Kessler
Coach – Tom Nelligan

The buildup: Rye ended a 31-year title drought by capturing the Gold Ball this past season. The Garnets had a few bumps along the way but played as close to a perfect game as possible in the Section 1 final, blowing past reigning state champ Poughkeepsie. Rye’s state title dreams ended with the cancellation of the state tournament. As great a talent as Donnie McGrath was at Kennedy, his senior year ended in the semifinals of a stacked final four bracket. The Gaels lost 64-52 to Peekskill, which went on to play for a state title. Kennedy had a dominant run in the early 2000s under coach Tom Nelligan. But even with McGrath, the program was in a bit of a transition.

KDJ’s Pick: Does Rye have one defender who could match up with Donnie McGrath and lock him down? No, but either did Peekskill in 2002. Rye is a terrific defensive team and would scheme to contain McGrath and force somebody else on this Kennedy roster to beat them. Matthew Tepedino is a superior athlete, evidenced by his MVP awards in the Section 1 football AND basketball championship games. And Rye’s depth would be a problem.

FINAL SCORE: RYE 61, KENNEDY CATHOLIC 58. The deeper team wins. Rye was peaking at the right time and would control this game from the start. Four Rye players score in double figures, Velasquez drills a 3 pointer. with a minute to go and Rye advances despite 28 points from McGrath.


No. 3 Fox Lane 2004 vs. No 6 Lourdes 2017

Records
Fox Lane 2004 (21-5):
Won Section 1 Class A championship; lost in NYSPHSAA semifinals to eventual champ Jamesville-DeWitt
Lourdes 2017 (20-7): Won Section 1 Class A championship; lost in NYSPHSAA final to Irondequoit

Starting lineups

Fox Lane ’04
G – Mike Tomassi
G – Jesse Freedman
G – Brian Sun
F – John Alexander
F – Taj Finger
Coach – George Masters

Lourdes ’17
G – Kevin Townes
G – Brady Hilderbrand
G – Joe Heavey
F – Aidan Hilderbrand
F – James Anozie
Coach – Jim Santoro

The buildup: Fox Lane was considered a contender for a Section 1 title in 2004 but certainly not expected to win it. And the same could be said about Lourdes in 2017. These teams have strikingly similar profiles with steady point guard play, a dominant post player, versatile wings, and a mix of youth and veterans. Fox Lane upset defending champ Beacon in the semis and then shocked top seed Port Chester in the final. Lourdes upset defending champ Byram Hills in the semis and then beat No. 2 seed Tappan Zee in the final. Both teams had extended runs in the state playoffs, losing heartbreakers to the eventual champs.

KDJ’s Pick: The primary matchup here is with the big: the powerful play of Lourdes 6-6 forward James Anozie against the versatile, longer 6-9 Taj Finger. Both had unforgettable Section 1 tournaments in their run. But it was the play of their wings that would determine this game. John Alexander of Fox Lane and Aidan Hilderbrand of Lourdes were matchup problems in their playoff runs because they could take opposing guards down low or pull big men to the perimeter.

FINAL SCORE: FOX LANE 54, LOURDES 49. Low scoring, defensive contest that ultimately favors the Foxes. Few people realize the level Taj Finger was playing at in the final days of his senior year before going off to Stanford, stuffing stat sheets and directing this unselfish Fox Lane squad to Glens Falls. Lourdes was a few stops away from winning a state title, and this seeding and matchup was probably a bit cruel for them. Finger goes for 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocks and the Foxes survive.


No. 2 Peekskill 2008 vs. No 7 Beacon 2003

Records
Peekskill 2008 (25-1):
Won Section 1 Class A championship; lost in NYSPHSAA semifinals to champ Jamesville-DeWitt
Beacon 2003 (20-5): Won Section 1 championship (then Class B) and reached NYPSHSAA final four, losing to eventual champion Amityville

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’08
G – Daquan Brickhouse
G – Mookie Jones
G – Ralph Watts
F – Darien Thomas
F – Elliott Watson
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Beacon ’03
G – Colin Powers
G – Josh Fullerton
G – Roberto Macklin
F – Darnell Randolph
F – Bryan Ortquist
Coach – Tom Powers

The buildup: Many would say this was the best Peekskill team of the century, yet they didn’t even reach the state final. The Red Devils tore through Section 1, beating Port Chester in the final by FIFTY-THREE points and defeating their playoff opponents by a staggering average of 41.3 points. The Red Devils had veteran state champs Mookie Jones and Elliott Watson, Ralph Watts transferred from Lakeland, and Daquan Brickhouse was a star in the making on a team with absurd depth. Beacon won its Section 1 title by stunning Peekskill in the final on Josh Fullerton’s 12-foot jumper at the buzzer. Beacon had lost to Peekskill twice during the regular season in 2003. The Bulldogs went on to beat Red Hook in regionals before falling by 10 to four-time state champion Amityville.

KDJ’s Pick: The lone Beacon team in this bracket has a brutal first-round matchup against this Peekskill squad. The Red Devils not only dominated Section 1 but they won their state regional game over Oneonta by 57 points. Mookie Jones and Roberto Macklin would be a fantastic head-to-head matchup, and Colin Power vs. Daquan Brickhouse would be a fun backcourt showdown. But the Bulldogs would struggle against the depth of Peekskill roster over the span of four quarters, like most did in 2008.

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL 75, BEACON 63. Mookie Jones scores 24, Ralph Watts added 17 and Elliott Watson has his usual 12 points and 14 rebounds as Peekskill cruises into the second round.


Gaine Region

No. 1 Peekskill 2006 vs. No 8 Lakeland 2002

Records
Peekskill 2006 (28-1):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, NYPSHAA title and Federation championship
Lakeland 2002 (19-4): Reached Section 1 semifinals (then Class B)

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’06
G – Tyrone Murphy
G – Philip Oliver
G – Andre Jacobs
F – Mookie Jones
F – Derek Dennis
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Lakeland ’02
G – Jason Weltman
G – Andy Mackiewicz
G – Tom Fazio
F – Tom Jennings
F – Ryan Schneider
Coach – Henry Weltman

The buildup: The second state championship team of Peekskill’s run came came with a young core of stars, led of course by Mookie Jones. He became a national recruit this season, averaging 14.9 points and taking home MVP honors in the state tournament as a sophomore. Lakeland had a dynamic group of talent in 2002, reaching the sectional semis and losing in the final seconds to Nyack, 68-66, at the County Center. The senior trio of Jason Weltman, Tom Jennings and Tom Fazio lit up the scoreboard that season and took turns carrying the scoring load. Ryan Schneider, a sophomore in 2002, was just emerging as a star and would eventually play at Vermont.

KDJ’s Pick: This Lakeland team was so difficult to gameplan for because they were so balanced and versatile. But do they have a way to contain Mookie Jones on the perimeter and Derek Dennis destroying anyone his path in the paint? The Red Devils were a machine in 2006. Lakeland would give them a run but run out of gas in the fourth quarter.

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL 64, LAKELAND 58. Derek Dennis, now a veteran professional offensive linemen in the CFL and XFL, was creating space in the lane since high school. He’d get 22 and 16 rebounds this and Tyrone Murphy would hit four 3s in a Peekskill victory.


No. 4 Nyack 2002 vs. No. 5 Poughkeepsie 2013

Records
Nyack 2002 (22-1):
No. 1 seed in the sectional playoffs, lost to Peekskill in the final
Poughkeepsie 2013 (19-3): Won Section 1 Class A championship, lost in regionals to eventual state finalist Burke Catholic

Starting lineups

Nyack ’02
G – Nigel Morris
G – Johnny Baez
G – Robinson Jean-Baptiste
F – Justin Jones
F – James Smith
Coach – Gary Gray

Poughkeepsie ’13
G – Jahleel Carter
G – Jermar Dancy
G – Devin Lawrence
F – Ray Knight
F – Brandon Weir
Coach – Brian Laffin

The buildup: These matchups just get tougher and tougher. This Nyack team, which steamrolled through the regular season as an undefeated reigning champ and state finalist, as a No. 4 indicates how loaded this bracket is. Three regulars returned with Nigel Morris, perhaps the best athlete in the section for the decade outside of Ray Rice, 6-foot-10 center James Smith and a versatile post player in Justin Jones (who is now a successful high school coach at Watkins Mill, Maryland and just won a Region Championship). Poughkeepsie finally broke through and won a championship in 2013, defeating Byram Hills in the final. This team was blessed with depth and anybody on the floor could beat you in a given night.

KDJ’s Pick: Insanely difficult matchup here. Nyack didn’t quite have the depth of Poughkeepsie, and they square up well in the backcourt with Morris and Jahleel Carter. The athleticism Poughkeepsie has in the front court around Brandon Weir, who played offensive line on the Fordham football team, could give the Indians some fits. Nyack, though, is just a slightly more polished team and one with plenty big game experience.

FINAL SCORE: NYACK 71, POUGHKEEPSIE 70. This would be the most head-spinning game of the opening round in Class A. These are two teams that could get out in the open floor and trade baskets from start to finish. Poughkeepsie. Nigel Morris hits a big shot in the final seconds, Jones and Smith each go for 18 and the Indians survive.


No. 3 Peekskill 2009 vs. No. 6 Peekskill 2001

Records
Peekskill 2009 (24-2):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, reached NYSPHSAA title game and lost to Jamesville-DeWitt in overtime
Peekskill 2001 (20-4): Reached Section 1 championship game, lost to Nyack

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’09
G – Daquan Brickhouse
G – Ralph Watts
G – Darien Thomas
F – Malcolm McDonald
F – Kenny Bradshaw
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Peekskill ’01
G – Rashard Turner
G – Keith Staton
G – Wayne Smith
F – Brandon Speights
F – Hilton Armstrong
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

The buildup: There’s going to be plenty of Peekskill vs. Peekskill matchups in this bracket so we might as well start in the first round. The 2009 Peekskill squad began the post-Mookie Era. The Red Devils ran through Section 1 for a fifth straight Gold Ball behind the fearless play of Daquan Brickhouse and the imposing front line of Malcolm McDonald and Kenny Bradshaw. Ralph Watts really came into his own as the leader this season, and this Peekskill squad gave Jamesville-DeWitt their toughest game of their dynasty in the OT classic in Glens Falls. The 2001 Peekskill team was building for a championship run the following season, and suffered a defeat to a stacked Nyack squad in the final. Rashard Turner and Hilton Armstrong were a terrific tandem that would take huge steps the following the season.

KDJ’s Pick: Like many Peekskill fans have debated over the year, I would literally pay to watch Rashard Turner go head to head with Daquan Brickhouse. While there were more established and successful players in the program’s great history, Turner and Brickhouse defined everything that made Peekskill basketball so special. This game, though, would ultimately come down to the interior play. Armstrong would go on to UConn, win a National Championship and have a solid NBA career. This game, though, when he was a junior, would have been a challenge with the depth of bigs Peekskill had. The 2009 Red Devils were deeper and had a roster full of players who had won big games before.

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL (2009) 58, PEEKSKILL (2001) 54. There’s no doubt that the hard core Peekskill fans will likely raise their eye brows to this. But I don’t think the 2009 team gets quite enough credit for how mentally tough they were with Brickhouse and Watts. Nobody gave them a chance against Jamesville-DeWitt after getting crushed the year before, and they nearly pulled off the upset. No upset here. A veteran Peekskill team beats a young squad in a nail-biter.


No. 2 Kennedy Catholic 2000 vs. No. 7 Port Chester 2006

Records
Kennedy Catholic (24-1):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class B) and reached the NYSPHSAA final four, losing to Utica-Notre Dame
Port Chester (18-5): Reached the Section 1 championship game, lost to eventual Federation champion Peekskill

Starting lineups

Kennedy ’00
G – Donnie McGrath
G – James Gray
G – Sean Corgan
F – Mike Courtney
F – Brian O’Donnell
Coach – Tom Nelligan

Port Chester ’06
G – Lou Larizza
G – Rob Parker
G – Steve Cordero
F – Greg Avila
F – Mohammed Lo
Coach – Derek Vincent

The buildup: Many believe this is the best Kennedy team in program history, edging out the 2004 team that won the Federation title. This Gaels squad, however, went unbeaten in Section 1 and then got knocked off the semis with a talented roster of mostly underclassmen stars. Big man Brian O’Donnell was one of the section’s best athletes, and Kennedy had a stellar backcourt with sophomore sensation Donnie McGrath and junior James Gray. Port Chester in 2006 had the fortune of two big time transfers, 6-9 forward Mohammed Lo and bruising 6-6 forward Greg Avila, who was built like an NFL linebacker and handled like a point guard. The guards complemented them well as the Rams were primed to dethrone Peekskill in the championship. A tight game through the fourth quarter, Peekskill pulled away late to repeat.

KDJ’s Pick: As talented as Lo and Avila were, the Port Chester front court would have a tough time matching up with Gray and McGrath. Their size and ability to shoot over defenders, as well as defending the Rams’ ability to get the ball into the post, would create problems.

FINAL SCORE: KENNEDY CATHOLIC 67, PORT CHESTER 60. Rough matchup for Port Chester against this championship Kennedy squad. McGrath scores 25, Gray adds 22 and the Gaels advance.


Santoro Region

No. 1 Poughkeepsie 2019 vs. No. 8 Tappan Zee 2011

Records
Poughkeepsie 2019 (25-4):
Won Section 1 Class A championship and NYPSHAA title, lost in Federation semifinals
Tappan Zee 2011 (16-5): Reached Section 1 Class A semifinals

Starting lineups

Poughkeepsie ’19
G – Jamik Carter
G – Niyal Goins
F – Jaquan Pearson
F – Tremell Reaves
F – Davontrey Thomas
Coach – Cody Moffett

Tappan Zee ’11
G – Joe Letizia
G – Ryan O’Rourke
F – Tahj Vines
F – Pat Peterson
F – Brendan Donohue
Coach – George Gaine

The buildup: Poughkeepsie and Tappan Zee have certainly had their battles the last two seasons, making this an intriguing first-round showdown. Poughkeepsie hit a gear in the middle of last season and simply could not be stopped as Davontrey Thomas and Co. dominated in Cody Moffett’s first year as head coach. What made Thomas so great was that he could lead this team as a big man and without commanding many shots. The Pioneers were so deep and overwhelmed opponents in the fourth quarter every game. Tappan Zee in 2011 was coming off a historic championship run. But, despite returning all five starters, never met the 2010 heights. They lost to Luke Houston and Pearl River in the semis before PR was beaten by Byram in the final.

KDJ’s Pick: TZ enters this matchup with a ton of big game experience. But the Pioneers are a team whose depth and speed would wear the Dutchmen down in the end. As long as TZ didn’t shoot the lights out, Poughkeepsie could limit them on the glass, contest shots and wear this Dutchmen squad down.

FINAL SCORE: POUGHKEEPSIE 61, TAPPAN ZEE 56. Given the defensive intensity and effort TZ plays with, the top-seeded state champs would certainly have their hands full more than any other No. 1 seed. Thomas, though, would hit a big 3 in the final minutes and finish with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the win.


No. 4 Byram Hills 2011 vs. No. 5 Tappan Zee 2010

Records
Byram Hills 2011 (17-6):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, lost in NYSPHSAA semifinals to Harborfields
Tappan Zee 2010 (17-6): Won Section 1 Class A championship, lost in regional semifinals to Red Hook

Starting lineups

Byram Hills ’11
G – Jordan Pollack
G – Jeff Lynch
G – Andrew Maloney
F – Ryan Golden
F – Charlie Murphy
Coach – Ted Repa

Tappan Zee ’10
G – Joe Letizia
G – Ryan O’Rourke
F – Tahj Vines
F – Pat Peterson
F – Brendan Donohue
Coach – George Gaine

The buildup: Tappan Zee took the section by storm in 2010, assembling one of the wildest rides to a championship; down double-digits in the first round to Panas and in the second round Rye, and then unseating five-time champ Peekskill in the semis and Rockland County royalty Spring Valley in the final. Tappan Zee won the section as a No. 7 seed and if you say you had them in your bracket before the tournament then, well, you’re a damn liar. Byram Hills’ title run as a No. 5 seed was almost as shocking. They beat Pelham at the buzzer in the quarters and then their underclassmen-heavy roster shocked Kennedy Catholic in the semis and then shut down Pearl River in the championship. Byram reached Glens Falls for the state final four while TZ was one and done in the first round.

KDJ’s Pick: When creating this Class A bracket, this was the matchup I created and instantly hated myself for, dreading having to make the pick in the first round. In reality, these two teams changed Section 1 basketball; Tappan Zee for beating Peekskill and Spring Valley in 2010 and capturing a Gold Ball as a once middle-of-the-road program turned power. And then Byram Hills in 2011 for proving that the model for winning in Class A could be replicated and repeated. I loved covering these two teams as much as any in my 22 year career.

FINAL SCORE: BYRAM HILLS 45, TAPPAN ZEE 43. These two teams loved to compete with each other and this game would be a drag-out brawl from the opening tip. Ultimately, a healthy Jeff Lynch makes the big shot down the stretch to lift the Bobcats despite 21 from Pat Peterson.


No. 3 Nyack 2001 vs. No. 6 Byram Hills 2016

Records
Nyack 2001 (24-3):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class B) and reached the NYPSHSAA semifinal, losing to eventual champ Amityville
Byram Hills 2016 (21-6): Won Section 1 Class A championship and reached the NYPSHSAA semifinal, losing to eventual champ Elmont

Starting lineups

Nyack ’01
G – Nigel Morris
G – Kudjo Sogadzi
G – Ronnie King
F – Alvin Carter
F – Jason Alcin
Coach – Gary Gray

Byram Hills ’16
G – Skylar Sinon
G – Matt Milone
F – Lou Filipelli
F – Matt Groll
F – Ben Leff
Coach – Ted Repa

The buildup: If you were going to make a list of the best Section 1 teams that didn’t win a state title, this Nyack team should be on the list. Both Kudjo Sogadzi and Alvin Carter went on to play at Fairfield University from a Nyack roster that had eight college-bound players on it. Nyack ripped through the regular season, knocked off reigning champ Kennedy Catholic and Peekskill at the County Center in a pair of tight games, and took Federation champ Amityville to the brink in the state semis. Byram Hills, with four underclassmen starters, won thrillers in the Section 1 final and the state regional final before falling to Elmont in a heartbreaker in the state semis.

KDJ’s Pick: Byram Hills was such a perfectly assembled team in 2016 with a unit with clearly defined roles. Skylar Sinon was terrific in 2016, taking MVP honors in the section final. But this Nyack team is just a different animal. Alvin Carter is among the most physically dominant high school players I have ever covered, winning a state football title as well. Kudjo Sogadzi was a dynamic all-around player, and this Nyack team could comfortably go five players into its bench. Byram would hang but not for four quarters.

FINAL SCORE: NYACK 64, BYRAM HILLS 57. Alvin Carter goes for 18 and 14 rebounds, Sogadzi scores 15 and the Indians move on.


No. 2 Peekskill 2005 vs. No. 7 Ardsley 2018

Records
Peekskill 2005 (20-7):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, NYSPHSAA title and reached Federation final, losing to St. Anthony’s
Ardsley 2018 (21-8): Won Section 1 Class A championship, reached NYSPHSAA final and lost to Amityville

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’05
G – Rick Cadell
G – Randy Wilson
G – Tyrone Murphy
F – Mookie Jones
F – Derek Dennis
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Ardsley ’18
G – Zeke Blauner
G – Frank Belarge
G – Julian McGarvey
F – Vincent Manzi
F – Sean Casey
Coach – Sean Cappiello

The buildup: Neither of these teams was expected to win a section title… and clearly there are degrees to a statement like that. Peekskill in 2005 hit their stride mid year with freshman Mookie Jones emerging and Rick Cadell and Randy Wilson settling into their roles as the leaders. Derek Dennis established himself among the region’s best big men and there was about seven other players on the roster clawing for playing time. That hunger enabled Peekskill to knock off a 20-1 Port Chester team as the top seed in the semis and then edged Nyack in the final. Ardsley won its section title on what I would conservatively call a 1-in-a-million shot, the McGarvey Miracle to beat Tappan Zee. The Panthers won their next three state playoff games before falling to Amitvyille in the title game.

KDJ’s Pick: Ardsley is the best story of the century so far. The Panthers were probably not the most talented team in Class A that season, but they came together in a way few ever imagined with unselfish team basketball. Know who was the best team in Class A in 2005? It was Peekskill. Once they molded together around January, there was no stopping this unit in the section or at the state public level. The Red Devils blew out Amityville in the semis and the defeated Mexico High School in the final (can still hear the ‘Adios Mexico’ chants from the Peekskill faithful).

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL 71, ARDSLEY 61. The Red Devils cannot be slowed down here. Randy Wilson scores 28, Rick Cadell has 18 and seven assists and Peekskill cruised along to the second round.


Repa Region

No. 1 Peekskill 2007 vs. No 8 Byram Hills 2017

Records
Byram Hills 2017 (21-2):
Reached Section 1 semifinals, lost to eventual state finalist Lourdes
Peekskill 2007 (28-1): Won Section 1 Class A championship, the NYSPHSAA title against Glens Falls and the Federation crown over Cardinal Hayes

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’07
G – Daquan Brickhouse
G – Devon Beaufort
F – Michael Smythe
F – Mookie Jones
F – Elliott Watson
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Byram Hills ’17
G – Skylar Sinon
G – Matt Milone
G – Willy Samsen
F – Ben Leff
F – Matt Groll
Coach – Ted Repa

The buildup: The team that beat Jimmer. That’s what this Peekskill squad is most known for: going to the Glens Falls Civic Center, home of the great Jimmer Fredette before a sold out crowd. Peekskill was already a two-time state champ and survived a heart-stopping section final to Lakeland. The Red Devils ran through the state and then defeated Cardinal Hayes on Mookie Jones’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer. You could make a case that this was the most talented top-to-bottom Byram Hills team of the generation. Four starter and six of the top seven returned to a Bobcats group that went 21-1 before an upset in the section semis to eventual champ Lourdes. That loss is probably the most painful I can remember for any team outside of a championship.

KDJ’s Pick: As good as Byram Hills was in 2017, they’re facing an all-time Peekskill squad here, maybe as good as the Elton Brand years. Mookie was in his prime, Brickhouse was emerging, Elliott Watson came into his own and this roster had an easy 10-man rotation. They slayed Jimmer. They aren’t losing here.

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL 65, BYRAM HILLS 57. The Bobcats give this everything they have and harass Jones into a rough shooting night. But there are too many other weapons on this Peekskill team to contain.


No. 4 Nyack 2000 vs. No. 5 Port Chester 2004

Records
Nyack 2000 (21-3):
Reached the Section 1 final (then Class B) and lost to Kennedy Catholic
Port Chester 2004 (20-2): Reached the Section 1 Class A final and lost to Fox Lane

Starting lineups

Nyack ’00
G – Ronnie King
G – Chantel Ben-Aime
G – Gerry McNair
F – Alvin Carter
F – Jason Alcin
Coach – Gary Gray

Port Chester ’04
G – Melvin Calhoun
G – Chad Charney
F – Ronald Miles
F – Leon Hill
F – Jeremy Thomas
Coach – Jeff Charney

The buildup: Rare matchup of two supremely talented non-section champions. Nyack reached the final and probably would have beaten Kennedy Catholic had transfer Kudjo Sogadzi been deemed eligible to play. This group was emerging quickly with Jason Alcin and Alvin Carter dominating inside and Gerry McNair knocking down everything from the perimeter. The 2000 Nyack team would be great but wasn’t quite there yet. Port Chester was loaded in 2004 with a group that played so well together from a young age. The starting five all averaged around 10-12 points per game and understood their roles. They beat Fox Lane handily in the regular season before falling the title game.

KDJ’s Pick: Love this matchup. Nyack had some of the best multi-sport athletes of the decade in what was truly a golden era for the athletics program. Port Chester had a gifted point guard in Melvin “Porky” Calhoun, a knock-down 3-point shooter in Chad Charney, a slasher and scorer in Leon Hill, and a pair of gritty, tough bigs in Jeremy Thomas and Ronald Miles. Both teams were committed to the matchup zone, and Port Chester played it slightly better schematically. That would be the difference in the end.

FINAL SCORE: PORT CHESTER 48, NYACK 45. The Rams are moving on in a mild upset. The Rams struggled against a team with superior size, which this Nyack squad doesn’t have. Chad Charney hits five 3s, Thomas matches up well enough with Carter and the Rams hang on late.


No. 3 Spring Valley 2015 vs. No. 6 Lakeland 2007

Records
Spring Valley 2015 (23-2):
Won Section 1 Class A championship, reached the NYSPHSAA semifinal to eventual champ Scotia-Glenville
Lakeland 2007 (18-5): Reached the Section 1 Class A final, lost to eventual Federation champ Peekskill

Starting lineups

Spring Valley ’15
G – Rickey McGill
G – Marc Dorsainvil
G – Jamarr Joseph
F – Devan Lawson
F – Kai Mitchell
Coach – Willy Worsley

Lakeland ’07
G – Lou DeMello
G – Wayne Everett
G – Ralph Watts
F – Joe Mostafa
F – Victor Lulgjuraj
Coach – Henry Weltman

The buildup: In creating this bracket, I matched these two teams up for a reason: they both got screwed. Spring Valley captured the Section 1 title, won at the buzzer on a Rickey McGill jumper against Saugerties in regionals and had state power Scotia-Glenville on the ropes before a string of questionable officiating calls against them. They were just as good as Scotia. Lakeland, meanwhile, suffered an agonizing defeat in the section final to Peekskill when Mookie Jones’ shot in the final seconds with the Red Devils never hit the rim, should have been ruled a shot-clock violation, wasn’t, and ended up in the hands of Elliot Watson, who laid in the go-ahead basket. Lakeland lost 57-55 and watched later on TV that the shot never hit the rim.

KDJ’s Pick: As for an actual basketball game between these two, Spring Valley has a matchup advantage in the paint as they had for all of 2014-15. Devan Lawson and Kai Mitchell led a dynamic group of bigs and Rickey McGill was Section 1’s top player in 2015 before a stellar career at Iona College. Lakeland had a gutsy point guard in Lou DeMello and two capable scorers in Wayne Everett and Ralph Watts. But slowing down this Spring Valley squad would be a major challenge.

FINAL SCORE: SPRING VALLEY 64, LAKELAND 58. Kai Mitchell has 22 and 17 rebounds and Spring Valley gets points off the bench to pull away from the Hornets late.


No. 2 Peekskill 2002 vs. No. 7 Panas 2014

Records
Peekskill 2002 (24-3):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class B) and lost in state final to Amityville
Panas 2014 (18-5): Won Section 1 Class A championship, lost in regional semifinals

Starting lineups

Peekskill ’02
G – Rashard Turner
G – Keith Staton
G – Brandon Jackson
F – Brandon Speights
F – Hilton Armstrong
Coach – Lou Panzanaro

Panas -14
G – Timmy McCauley
G – Tom Parish
G – Brandon Collins
F – Tyler Mason
F – Tom Frost
Coach – Shawn Sullivan

The buildup: This Peekskill group put it all together and ended a “title drought” from the Elton Brand Era with a section title and march to the state final. Rashard Turner cemented his legacy with this Gold Ball victory, earning all-state honors. Keith Staton, a 5-8 guard, was unbelievable fun to watch, Brandon Speights never quite got the credit he deserved, and Brandon Jackson was a solid fifth option. It was the maturation of 6-9 forward Hilton Armstrong that ultimately put this team over the top, and he outplayed Jason Fraser of Amityville in the state final defeat. Panas was an unexpected section champ, knocking off Eastchester in the final behind the heroics of Timmy McCauley. This was a balanced, unselfish group that had its state tourney run end in the opening round to Red Hook.

KDJ’s Pick: Panas was such a tough, physical team. But there’s no matchup for Hilton Armstrong and Brandon Speights. Rashard Turner would get the up close view of what made McCauley so special. But in the end, Peekskill would just outman the Panthers.

FINAL SCORE: PEEKSKILL 56, PANAS 48. Armstrong dominates with 28 points and 17 rebounds and Staton adds 14.


Updated Bracket:

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read through this marathon of fake basketball. It’s fun to reminisce. If you don’t agree with my predictions, feel free to email me at kdjmedia1@gmail.com or message me on Twitter at @KDJMedia1. Or you can just curse me to your family during quarantine. Whatever works.

One Reply to “Tournament Time: SuperBracketology – First Round Class A”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: