Tournament Time: SuperBracketology – First Round Class AA

Mount Vernon’s undefeated 2000 championship squad

The final first round of matchups in the SuperBracketology tournament has arrived. It’s the Mount Vernon-dominated field: Class AA. It features a lot of championship teams of the stories program, including one of the great images in Section 1: the tuxedo championship photo for the Federation champions.

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 AA First Round Results

Cimmino Region

No. 1 Mount Vernon 2000 vs. No. 8 Suffern 2006

Mount Vernon 2000 (28-0):
Won Class A NYSPHSAA and Federation championship
Suffern 2006 (21-3): Reached Section 1 Class AA championship game

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’00
G – Ben Gordon
G – Jomo Belfor
G – Will Cherry
F – Greg Jenkins
F – John Plenty
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Suffern ’06
G – John Oakes
G – Kevin Buono
G – Evan Shreck
F – Stanley Francois
F – Wes Poppe
Coach – Bob Buono

The buildup: The Knights returned to the top in a major way in 1999-2000, assembling one of the greatest seasons in the program’s illustrious history. Ben Gordon became a national star, Greg Jenkins and Jomo Belfor emerged as Division I prospects, and the Knights never lost. Suffern in 2006 was in the section final and eyeing its first ever Section 1 title. And that 71-40 final score was not indicative of the game; against a Mount Vernon that won a Federation title, the Mounties within a couple of possessions in the third quarter before the Knights blew the doors open in the fourth. Suffern lost two regular season games; by two points to Spring Valley and by three to North Rockland. Suffern won the rematch against each. In the postseason, the Mounties turned heads by defeating Poughkeepsie 60-58 at the County Center behind 27 points from Oakes

KDJ’s Pick: This Suffern team has great balance and versatility. But we are talking Ben Gordon and a nationally-ranked Mount Vernon team here. The Mounties would have a game plan from the great Bob Buono but it wouldn’t be enough to slow down the 2000 Knights.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 70, SUFFERN 58. Ben Gordon gets harassed by Kevin Buono and Evan Shrek for four quarters. But Ben still gets his 26 points and six assists and Mount Vernon moves on.

No. 4 Mount Vernon 2010 vs. No 5 White Plains 2004

Mount Vernon (17-6):
Won the Section 1 Class AA championship; lost in regionals
White Plains (20-4): Reached Section 1 championship game, lost to eventual Federation champ Mount Vernon

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’10
G – Jabarie Hinds
G – Khalid Samuels
F – William Robinson
F – Horace Copeland
F – Brandon White
Coach – Bob Cimmino

White Plains ’04
G – Devon Austin
G – David Boykin
F – Mike deVere
F – Spencer Ridenhour
F – Quentin Martin
Coach – Spencer Mayfield

The buildup: This season was the start of a new era in Mount Vernon as Sherrod Wright graduated and Jabarie Hinds assumed the role of the torch-bearing Division I star. Hinds had a mostly inexperienced unit around him in a group that would win a state and Federation title the following season. This Knights squad beat a 20-1 Poughkeepsie team in the section final and saw its run end to talented Newburgh team in the regionals for the second year in a row. This White Plains squad was among the best teams of the decade not to win a Gold Ball, falling to a Mount Vernon team that won everything.

KDJ’s Pick: Tough matchup for this Mount Vernon squad given the size and skills of the White Plains front line. Quentin Martin was a two-time All-County post player and went on to play at St. Peter’s. Mike deVere and Spencer Ridenhous (Penn State and UMass football) was rugged down-low players and then-sophomore Devon Austin (Manhattan basketball) broke out as a dangerous 3-point specialist in 2004. Hinds could carry this group when needed. But as long as the Tigers bench holds its own against the depth of Mount Vernon, they have a strong core of players

FINAL SCORE: WHITE PLAINS 54, MOUNT VERNON 50. Martin has 18 points and 11 rebounds and Austin hits five 3-pointers in the Tigers victory.

No. 3 Horace Greeley 2020 vs. No. 6 Mount Vernon 2009

Horace Greeley 2020 (20-3):
Won Section 1 Class AA championship, beat Newburgh at the buzzer to reach NYSPHSAA regional final before tournament was suspended
Mount Vernon 2009 (20-4): Won Section 1 Class AA championship, reached NYSPHSAA state final four, lost to Newburgh on halfcourt shot

Starting lineups

Horace Greeley ’20
G – Chris Melis
G – Christoph Sauerborn
G – Sean Dunleavy
F – Will LaFortezza
F – Nick Townsend
Coach – Matt Simone

Mount Vernon ’09
G – Jabarie Hinds
G – Jordan Lessane
G – Sherrod Wright
F – Kadeem Dinham
F – Odayne Clarke
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: It’s not too early to truly appreciate how great this past year’s Greeley squad was. When they were at full strength, nobody in the section could touch them. Nick Townsend won Mr. Basketball as a sophomore, Chris Melis would be a lock All-County player given a full season of health, and the way Christoph Sauerborn, Sean Dunleavy, Will LaFortezza, Conor Melis and the rest complemented the two main stars was special. Greeley beat New Rochelle in the semis, Mount Vernon handily in the final and then defeated Newburgh at the buzzer in regionals before the virus ended the state tournament. This team could have contended for a state title. Mount Vernon won the section for the fourth straight time but suffered a defeat to Newburgh at the buzzer on a halfcourt shot at Pace University.

KDJ’s Pick: First question in a matchup like this is how the Knights would defend Townsend inside. The Knights struggled mightily with that this season as the 6-foot-7 sophomore dominated in two games. The 2009 team would have a little more ability to patrol the interior with burly big men Dinham and Clarke. What could be a challenge for Mount Vernon would be giving the attention to Townsend and is still containing the perimeter shooting of Sauerborn and Melis. Sherrod Wright and Jabrie Hinds would certainly pose matchup problems on the other end of what would be a high scoring, back and forth matchup.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 71, HORACE GREELEY 68. People remember the shot Mount Vernon lost on. But they neglect to recall that Newburgh went on to win a state championship in dominant fashion and only lost in overtime to Rice in the Federation final. Sherrod Wright drops 27, Chris Melis has 25 but the Knights find a way in the end.

No. 2 Mount Vernon 2012 vs. No 7 New Rochelle 2013

Mount Vernon (23-3):
Won NYSPHSAA Class AA championship, lost in Federation championship
New Rochelle (16-11): Won Section 1 Class AA title, lost in state final

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’12
G – Qadere Lovell
G – Isaiah Cousins
G – Randy Stephens
F – Jerrel Marshall
F – Givvion Jones
Coach – Bob Cimmino

New Rochelle ’13
G – Derek Dorn
G – Sean Fener
G – Drew Peterson
F – Alex Tuci
F – Joe Clarke
Coach – Rasaun Young

The buildup: Mount Vernon was coming off a state and Federation title in 2011 and repeated as NYSPHSAA after a dominant run. Isaiah Cousins, NYS Mr. Basketball as a senior, guided the Knights through the section, including an overwhelming win over largely this same New Rochelle group, in the quarters. In states, they plowed through Middletown and CBA Albany before outlasting a loaded Aquinas team in the final. Mount Vernon ultimately was dethroned as Federation champs by Boys & Girls. New Rochelle in 2013 went on the most magical ride of our generation, beating Mount Vernon on “The Shot” by Khalil Edney and reaching the state title game before losing to Bishop Kearney of Rochester.

KDJ’s Pick: Brutal seeding by the committee to give a state finalist team like New Rochelle a No. 7 seed and this first-round matchup. But it’s hard to ignore the fact this team lost 10 games in the regular season, albeit against a difficult schedule. They also face a Mount Vernon team that was impossible for them to matchup with thanks to the versatility of the 6-foot-4 Cousins (who helped Oklahoma reach the NCAA Final Four) and two D1 recruits in Randy Stephens and Jerell Marshall. And when you consider the talent Mount Vernon brought off the bench with Josh Doughty, Brandon Martin and William Robinson, this game tilts heavily to Mount Vernon’s favor.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 59, NEW ROCHELLE 56. Joe Clarke was an unbelievable force who rose to every occasion his senior year in football and basketball. Clarke would have 27 and 15 rebounds in this game. But the guard play of Cousins, Lovell and Doughty would be too much to handle.

Mayfield Region

No. 1 Mount Vernon 2011 vs. No 8 Saunders 2016

Mount Vernon 2011 (23-5):
Won Section 1, NYSPHSAA and Federation Class AA championships
Saunders 2016 (16-7): Reached Section 1 semifinals, lost to Mount Vernon

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’11
G – Jabarie Hinds
G – Khalid Samuels
G – Damani Ashton
F – Horace Copeland
F – Jamell Walker
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Saunders ’16
G – Anthony Miller
G – Derek Felder
G – Sean Bresnan
F – Vaughn Lennon
F – Niko Potiris
Coach – Anthony Nicodemo

The buildup: This Mount Vernon team before the season was thought to be a favorite in the section and a solid contender to win the state. But Federation champs? That game somehow was a surprise. The explosion of juniors Isaiah Cousins and Randy Stephens had a lot to do with it. Once the focus was off Hinds, everyone on the team flourished as Mount Vernon beat Poughkeepsie in the section final, beat Hills West in the state semis and ran past Jamestown for the state crown. The followed that up by beating two nationally-ranked teams in Boys & Girls and Christ the King behind MVP performances by Hinds. Saunders had a strong run in the mid 2010s around the nucleus of players on the 2016 squad, led by Mr. Basketball Derek Felder. This team had a quality pieces all around their star with Miller at point guard, Bresnan on the perimeter and big men Potiris and Lennon inside.

KDJ’s Pick: As good as Saunders was this season, reaching the Class AA final four and posting a commanding win over eventual section champ Fox Lane, they’d struggle head to head with this Federation champion Mount Vernon team. Depth would be the main problem as the second unit the Knights would overwhelm as they did all of 2011.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 78, SAUNDERS 70. High scoring game as the Blue Devils fought to keep pace. Jabarie Hinds and Isaiah Cousins each scored 22 points as the Knights move on.

No. 4 Mount Vernon 2002 vs. No. 5 Fox Lane 2016

Mount Vernon 2002 (25-2):
Won Section 1 title (then Class A) and reached NYSPHSAA semis, losing to eventual champion Henninger
Fox Lane 2016 (22-3): Won Section 1 Class AA title, reached regional and lost to Middletown

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’02
G – Jomo Belfor
G – Will Cherry
G – Troy Carr
F – Randy Brunson
F – Dexter Gray
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Fox Lane ’16
G – Emmett Robin
G – Sean New
G – Jamal Jackson-Blake
F – Alex Olsen
F – Matt Redhead
Coach – Mike Tomassi

The buildup: Mount Vernon said goodbye to Ben Gordon in 2001-02 but maintained their dynasty in Section 1, capturing a third straight Gold Ball. They were eventually ousted handily in the state tourney by future champion Henninger. Fox Lane won one of the more remarkable championships of the era, knocking off Mount Vernon in the sectional before losing in the regional championship to Middletown.

KDJ’s Pick: Love trying to compare two teams from completely different eras, 14 years a part. Fox Lane was such a confident team in 2012 and boasted so much size and versatility. Mount Vernon no doubt would have the best player on the floor in Jomo Belfor, who averaged 18 points and four assists as a senior and played his best late in games. But so did this Fox Lane squad. The Foxes rise to the challenge again.

FINAL SCORE: FOX LANE 57, MOUNT VERNON 55. The Foxes pull off another upset over Mount Vernon. Like the 2016 Knights squad, the 2002 team can’t suffocate the Foxes with their pressure and Matt Redhead goes off for 24 points and 13 rebounds. Sean New adds 15 points in the win and does everything he can to contain Belfor.

No. 3 Mount Vernon 2007 vs. No. 6 Poughkeepsie 2008

Mount Vernon 2007 (24-5):
Won Section 1 Class AA title and NYSPHSAA crown, lost to Rice in Federation semis
Poughkeepsie 2008 (20-4): Reached Section 1 title game

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’07
G – Michael Coburn
G – Ketema Brooks
G – Sherrod Wright
F – Kortney Parker
F – Kevin Jones
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Poughkeepsie ’08
G – Duane Clark
G – Dayvonne Whitaker
G – Malik Dennard
F – Antonio Williams
F – Brandon James
Coach – Brian Laffin

The buildup: Michael Coburn became one of the great attractions in Section 1 his senior season, leading the Knights to a second straight section and state championship run. Coburn nurtured a group rich with underclassmen talent and depth, proving to be what I would call the best leader on a basketball court in my 20 years. This team also won one of the great state playoff games I’ve ever seen, knocking off Newburgh on a late Kevin Jones 3-pointer at SUNY New Paltz before a standing-room only crowd. The Knights later beat Bishop Maginn in the state final before losing to Rice (and Kemba Walker) in the Federation semis. Poughkeepsie in 2008 lost to Mount Vernon in the section final but dreamed about what could be with a young group of phenoms. Duane Clark, a sophomore guard, never played a varsity game again despite being one of the section’s top players. Whitaker and Co. reached the final four two more times but couldn’t solve Mount Vernon.

KDJ’s Pick: Coburn vs. Clark could be among the best 1v1 battles in this entire bracket. Clark was fearless and had an incredible ability to take defender to the basket and finish. As great as Coburn was, these two cancel each other out. The rest of the lineup favors a loaded Mount Vernon team as Kevin Jones and Sherrod Wright emerged this season as megastars.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 63, POUGHKEEPSIE 57. The Knights control the game from the start, as all their teams in this era did, and Coburn leads the way. The guard scores 26 points and dishes out six assists, and Kevin Jones posted 14 and 12 in the win.

No. 2 New Rochelle 2005 vs. No. 7 Mount Vernon 2014

New Rochelle 2005 (26-2):
Won Section 1 Class AA title, lost in NYSPHSAA final to Federation champion Niagara Falls
Mount Vernon 2014 (21-2): Won Section 1 Class AA title, lost in regional final to Union-Endicott

Starting lineups

New Rochelle ’05
G – Ray Rice
G – Anthony Gill
G – Geoff McDermott
F – Brandon Henderson
F – Terrance Parkes
Coach – Bill Murphy

Mount Vernon ’14
G – Devonte Banner
G – Akeem Krubally
G – Jordan Gregory
F – Brandon Martin
F – Judah Alexander
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: This great New Rochelle team split with Mount Vernon in the regular season and then won when it mattered most, beating the five-time champ in an unforgettable game before a capacity crowd at the County Center. The Huguenots rolled into the stat final before losing to Niagara Falls (with Johnny Flynn and Paul Harris) in another epic showdown. Geoff McDermott was the area’s top player, Terrance Parkes was a terrific inside threat, and Ray Rice returned to basketball midseason after not playing as a junior and completely changed the program. Mount Vernon in 2014 came back after losing on The Shot and held off Spring Valley in the section championship. The team, however, lost in regionals to Union-Endicott, their lone loss to a Section 4 opponent of this century.

KDJ’s Pick: New Rochelle has an advantage at every position and a bench that could more than match the annual depth Mount Vernon fields. Geoff McDermott, who went on to play at Providence, was a 6-foot-6 point guard who completely controlled a game when he had the ball in his hands. Anthony Gill handled the offense, as well, and had no shortage of options to distribute the ball to.

FINAL SCORE: NEW ROCHELLE 70, MOUNT VERNON 60. McDermott fills the stat sheet as he did game in, game out, to the tune of 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, five steals and four blocks. Ray Rice hits all three 3-pointers he takes. New Ro rolls.

Murphy Region

No. 1 Mount Vernon 2004 vs. No. 8 Mount Vernon 2019

Mount Vernon 2004 (27-3):
Won Section 1, NYSPHSAA and Federation Class AA champoionships
Mount Vernon 2019 (19-5): Won Section 1 Class AA title, lost in regional final to Kingston

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’04
G – Chris Lowe
G – Michael Coburn
F – Jonathan Mitchell
F – Shanty Robinson
F – Dexter Gray
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Mount Vernon ’19
G – Charles Lovett
G – Irvin Patrick
G – Joel Cooper
F – Orlando Dawkins
F – Troy Hupstead
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: Best Mount Vernon team from the era? Well, we’ll find out soon enough. The 2004 Knights did everything they were set out to, beating the likes of Niagara Falls in the state final and then St. Raymond and Lincoln (with Sebastian Telfair) in a forever Federation final. Bob Cimmino made what I still believe is the best coaching decision in my time, taking Pittsburgh-bound guard Keith Benjamin out of the lineup and swapping in Shanty Robinson. Benjamin was all-state was injured mid-season (falling on a basketball during warmups before a loss to St. Pat’s) and the team played exceptional without him in the following weeks. Benjamin didn’t reclaim his starting spot but was the difference maker down the stretch, playing with an unrivaled hunger. His second-half versus St. Raymond was one of the best I can ever remember. Then Chris Lowe shut down future NBA draft pick Sebastian Telfair and the rest is history. The 2019 Mount Vernon squad beat Clarkstown South in the final before losing handily to Kingston in the regional final.

KDJ’s Pick: Dexter Gray and Troy Hupstead would wrestle for four quarters inside while the 2004 guards ran the show. Those Knights had a different level of focus and cohesiveness. And their bench never let down.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON (2004) 74, MOUNT VERNON (2019) 59. Biggest score disparity in the bracket and for good reason. The 2004 team was just that special. Sophomore Jonathan Mitchell scores 17, freshman Michael Coburn has 15 and Mount Vernon barely sweats.

No. 4 Mount Vernon 2008 vs. No. 5 Mount Vernon 2015

Mount Vernon 2008 (23-4):
Won Section 1 Class AA championship, lost in NYSPHSAA semis to eventual champ Bishop Maginn
Mount Vernon 2015 (19-4): Won Section 1 Class AA championship, lost in NYSPHSAA semis to eventual champ Shenendehowa

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’08
G – Ketema Brooks
G – Jordan Lessane
G – Jabarie Hinds
F – Sherrod Wright
F – Kevin Jones
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Mount Vernon ’15
G – Jamie Wiltshire
G – Marco Morency
G – Noah Morgan
F – Justin Alleyne
F – Greg Calixte
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: Both of these teams ran through the section and region before falling to the eventual state champion in the state semifinals. The 2008 Knights were coming off a state championship run and had three Mr. Basketball winners in the starting five. Ketema Brooks was an unselfish point guard, and Jordan Lessane was a terrific perimeter shooter. Mount Vernon in 2015 knocked off Clarkstown South for a title and lost to Kevin Heurter and Shen in the state semis. But this nucleus of players would return and win the state title two years later.

KDJ’s Pick: To think that this 2008 squad is a No. 4 seed is a testament to how many great teams Mount Vernon had this century. Kevin Jones, Sherrod Wright and Jabarie Hinds actually combined for four Mr. Basketball and all played Division I basketball. As good as this 2015 Knights team would become, they were not quite there yet mentally as sophomores.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON (2008) 66, MOUNT VERNON (2015) 58. Kevin Jones as a senior was an unstoppable force. He pours in 22 points and 17 rebounds as the veteran Knights dominate inside for the victory.

No. 3 Mount Vernon 2003 vs. No. 6 White Plains 2001

Mount Vernon 2003 (26-1):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class A), lost to Rochester McQuaid
White Plains 2001 (22-2): Reached Section 1 championship game, lost to Mount Vernon

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’03
G – Bryan Browne
G – Ernie Brown
G – Keith Benjamin
F – Jonathan Mitchell
F – Dexter Gray
Coach – Bob Cimmino

White Plains ’01
G – Jason Bayuk
G – Markus Austin
G – Jeff Lee
F – Darron Hogg
F -Dino Dwyer
Coach – Spencer Mayfield

The buildup: The 2003 Mount Vernon team was my first as the main boys basketball beat writer, taking over the great Peter Abraham. This team was unbelievably fun to cover, on and off the court. Bryan Browne was a floor general and Ernie Brown could shoot 3s with the best of them. We saw the emergence of Keith Benjamin, Dexter Gray, freshman Jonathan Mitchell and eighth-grader Michael Coburn splash on to the scene. The team went undefeated, and largely untested, through the state tournament before meeting a 27-0 and nationally ranked No. 3 Rochester McQuaid team in the state final. Mount Vernon was within striking distance down to the final minutes before NYS Mr. Basketball Tyler Relph survived. White Plains in 2001 had the late Markus Austin, a 6-5 guard bound for Eastern Michigan, and a very underrated point guard in Jason Bayuk. This team was big and deep inside and had host of forwards they shuffled in and out of the lineup.

KDJ’s Pick: It would have been fun to see two greats — Austin as a senior and Mitchell as a freshman — square off head to head. Austin was so dangerous and skilled. The Knights’ balance would have given the Tigers issues with a roster where any one of five players could lead in scoring. Mount Vernon was also so overwhelming defensively in the early 2000s.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 57, WHITE PLAINS 52. Keith Benjamin scores 20 points, Dexter Gray adds 14 and 12 rebounds and Mount Vernon overcomes Austin’s 25 to advance.

No. 2 Poughkeepsie 2000 vs. No. 7 New Rochelle 2010

Poughkeepsie 2000 (23-1):
Reached Section 1 championship game, lost to eventual Federation champion Mount Vernon
New Rochelle 2010 (19-2): Reached Section 1 Class AA semifinals, lost to eventual champion Mount Vernon

Starting lineups

Poughkeepsie ’00
G – Bishme Allah
G – Deshawm Allah
G – Brian Muse
F – Charles Spencer
F – Yamar Diene
Coach – Bob Murphy

New Rochelle ’10
G – P.J. Torres
G – Craig Dorn
G – Eric Watson
F – Antoine Mason
F – A.J. Burton
Coach – Bill Murphy

The buildup: The Poughkeepsie team was one that you had to take notice of the second they walked into the gym. Yamar Diene was 6-foot-9 and Charles Spencer was a mammoth 6-5 forward who later played offensive line at Pitt and was third-round draft pick by the Houston Texans. The Allah’s were terrific guards for a Poughkeepsie squad that went undefeated against largely a Class B schedule in the regular season and then into the A playoffs. The Pioneers lost a heartbreaker to Ben Gordon and an undefeated Mount Vernon squad in the section final. New Rochelle in 2010 had one of the decade’s best tandems in Antoine Mason and P.J. Torres. Mason was just touching his potential and later went on to lead the NCAA in scoring. This team beat Mount Vernon twice in the regular season and losing to the Knights in semis at the County Center.

KDJ’s Pick: Both of these teams had legitimate title dreams dashed by Mount Vernon. You could make a case they were the teams of their respective decades not to win a championship. New Ro had star power and two dynamic scoring guards. But the bigs on Poughkeepsie would be a major problem for an undersized Huguenots front line.

FINAL SCORE: POUGHKEEPSIE 60, NEW ROCHELLE 56. Diene and Spencer dominate and the Pioneers pull away late.

Laffin Region

No. 1 Mount Vernon 2006 vs. No. 8 Mahopac 2013

Mount Vernon 2006 (23-5):
Won Section 1, NYSPHSAA and Federation Class AA championships
Mahopac 2013 (17-4): Reached Section 1 Class AA semifinals, lost to eventual champ New Rochelle

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’06
G – Michael Coburn
G – Sherrod Wright
F – Jonathan Mitchell
F – Danilio Hutchinson
F – Kevin Jones
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Mahopac ’13
G – Brendan Hynes
G – Anthony Lenahan
G – Ryan Simon
F – Mike Simone
F – Dan Tully
Coach – Kevin Downes

The buildup: The way this Mount Vernon, specifically star Jonathan Mitchell, came back this season after losing to New Rochelle in 2005 makes me respect this team as much as any I’ve ever covered. Mitchell absorbed a lot of criticism and handled it admirably. Mount Vernon reclaimed the section title, beat CBA Albany and Niagara Falls (with Jonny Flynn) in the final before upsetting Lincoln in the Federation championship. Mahopac in 2013 had the best roster in its run under coach Kevin Downes. The Indians had a versatile scorer and playmaker in Brendan Hynes and an imposing front line with the Simones and Dan Tully. Anthony Lenahan was also a knock down shooter who could drop 25 on a given night. The Indians lost to New Rochelle in a heartbreaker in the semis before Edney and New Ro won the title.

KDJ’s Pick: Mahopac would not be intimidated, not even by this Mount Vernon squad. But the depth of talent on this roster — with four future Mr. Basketball recipients in uniform — would not be denied here.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 71, MAHOPAC 61. Jonathan Mitchell puts up 28 points, Michael Coburn adds 17 and six steals and the Federation champs prevail in what would be a physical showdown.

No. 4 White Plains 2007 vs. No. 5 Mount Vernon 2005

White Plains 2007 (21-3):
Reached Section 1 Class AA final as No. 1 seed, lost to Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon 2005 (20-3): Reached Section 1 Class AA final, lost to New Rochelle

Starting lineups

White Plains ’07
G – Jamell Cromartie
G – Rashad James
G – Spencer Smith
F – Sean Kilpatrick
F – Rishawn Johnson
Coach – Spencer Mayfield

Mount Vernon ’05
G – Chris Lowe
G – Michael Coburn
G – David Clark
F – Jonathan Mitchell
F – Johnathan Smith
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: This was a great White Plains team. In the regular season, the Tigers lost two games; splitting with Mount Vernon and the other in an unforgettable showdown with national power Mater Dei at Pace University, falling 80-75. The Tigers were primed to make a run at the Gold Ball, trailing by two at the half before a flat third quarter saw the Knight run away. Mount Vernon in 2005 suffered a disappointment in the section final, losing to New Rochelle after splitting in the regular season. It was the only Gold Ball of the decade Mount Vernon didn’t claim.

KDJ’s Pick: Here you have a hungry, veteran White Plains team against a Mount Vernon squad sandwiched between Federation championships. The 2005 Knight squad had a learning curve in the transition and lacked a little bit of the grit of the previous seasons. They couldn’t afford to play that way against this White Plains team, which was stellar defensively and had a future NBA player in Sean Kilpatrick, an all-time athlete in Rashad James, and future pros in Jamell Cromartie at point guard and Rishawn Johnson at power forward. Spencer Smith and Jordan Griffith were versatile talents, and sophomore Darrell Ward was a solid big man off the bench.

FINAL SCORE: WHITE PLAINS 60, MOUNT VERNON 58. The toughness of this White Plains team prevails. Sean Kilpatrick didn’t have his best game in the 2007 championship but atones for it here, dropping 31 points while the rest of the team holds Mount Vernon in check.

No. 3 Mount Vernon 2017 vs. No. 6 White Plains 2003

Mount Vernon 2017 (23-5):
Won Section 1 and NYSPHSAA Class AA title, lost to Long Island Lutheran in Federation semis
White Plains 2003 (20-4): Reached Section 1 final, lost to Mount Vernon

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’17
G – Jason Dougas-Stanley
G – Demetre Roberts
F – Brandon Scott
F – Noah Morgan
F – Greg Calixte
Coach – Bob Cimmino

White Plains ’03
G – Devon Austin
G – Hassan Washington
F – Spencer Ridenhour
F – Mike deVere
F – Quentin Martin
Coach – Spencer Mayfield

The buildup: Mount Vernon last run to a state championship is now three years removed as this group of quiet, unselfish and hard working Knights reclaimed the top prize. Marco Morency left the program but Noah Morgan stepped up to win Mr. Basketball, Greg Calixte was the region’s top big man and junior guards Demetre Roberts and Jason Douglas-Stanley flourished in full-time roles. The Knights survived a scare from Scarsdale and Max Bosco in the section final and then dominated in the state tournament, including a decisive performance over a Fairport team that entered No. 1 in the state rankings. White Plains had a talented core of mainly underclassmen outside of Hassan Washington. The senior point guard was a terrific floor general who guided the Tigers past Carmel in the semis before falling handily to Mount Vernon in the championship.

KDJ’s Pick: White Plains had promising talent but it wasn’t quite where it would in a year. Meanwhile, the Knights had been building for this state title run and delivered. Greg Calixte and Quentin Martin would be an intriguing matchup inside and on the glass. But the Tigers wouldn’t be able to contain the mid-range games of Douglas-Stanley and Morgan, who played the best basketball of their careers in that postseason.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON 67, WHITE PLAINS 60. Jason Douglas-Stanley hit five 3-pointers and Noah Morgan scores 25 as another Mount Vernon squad moves on to the second round.

No. 2 Mount Vernon 2001 vs. No. 7 Mount Vernon 2018

Mount Vernon 2001 (20-7):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class A), lost in NYSPHSAA semis to Hempstead
Mount Vernon 2018 (23-3): Won Section 1 Class AA championship, lost in NYSPHSAA semis to eventual champ Liverpool

Starting lineups

Mount Vernon ’01
G – Ben Gordon
G – Jomo Belfor
G – Will Cherry
F – Randy Brunson
F – Troy Carr
Coach – Bob Cimmino

Mount Vernon ’18
G – Demetre Roberts
G – Jason Douglas-Stanley
G – Chase Johnson
F – Derrick Simpson
F – Troy Hupstead
Coach – Bob Cimmino

The buildup: Ben Gordon’s senior year saw the Mount Vernon program become a national attraction. Gordon and company competed in several marquee showcase events, which was a rarity for a public school team in the early 2000s. Their six losses dropped them to a No. 6 seed in Section 1 (this was well before Bracketology). But it helped Mount Vernon’s big men Randy Brunson and Troy Carr improve quickly and allowed the Knights to repeat as section champs. After beating top-seeded White Plains in the championship, the Knights went into the state tournament and were tied with Binghamton when Will Cherry drilled a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to advance Mount Vernon to the state final four. The Knights were beaten in the semis by Hempstead by two points. Mount Vernon in 2018 won another section title, knocking off 18-seeded Ramapo in the section final and then advancing to the final four before losing to eventual champ Liverpool.

KDJ’s Pick: The 2018 Knights returned two state championship winning guards in Demetre Roberts and Jason Douglas-Stanley and saw several players emerge inside. But, well, the 2001 team had Ben Gordon and two sensational talents in Jomo Belfor (who played at James Madison) and Will Cherry. There’s no way the 2018 Knights could stop their ’01 elders.

FINAL SCORE: MOUNT VERNON (2001) 74, MOUNT VERNON (2019) 68. Ben Gordon scores a tournament-high 33 points, including an alley-oop dunk from Jomo Belfor off the opening tip – a Mount Vernon staple. The old man Knights move on.


Thank you all again for reading this installment of SuperBracketology. The next rounds will come faster. Please feel free to find me on Twitter at @KDJMedia1 or via email: kdjmedia1@gmail.com.

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