Tournament Time: SuperBracketology – Second Round Class B

We continue to unveil the next round in the SuperBracketology tournament. Below is the second round of the ultra-competitive Class B bracket.

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 second round of (simulated) competition.

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.

The updated bracket through the first round results:

SuperBracketology of the 2000s: Class B Second Round Results

Nelligan Region

No. 1 Kennedy Catholic 2004 vs. No. 4 Lourdes 2013

Kennedy Catholic 2004 (25-2):
Won Class B state and Federation championship
Lourdes 2013 (17-6): Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in first round of state tournament

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: What made the Lourdes team of 2013 so good was how they were able to mix and match defenders on elite scorers and disrupt their rhythm. The Warriors would need to be at their best in order to contain Tyrell Thompson, the late standout guard who played at Army. But even if they did slow Thompson, the bigs on this Kennedy team would be difficult to body up with. Dan Gumb was built like a defensive end and was a force in the paint, and Peter Courtney’s ability to take opposing forwards off the dribble is what ultimately put this Kennedy team over the top.

FINAL SCORE: KENNEDY 53, LOURDES 48. Courtney starts to build another MVP case in this postseason, pouring in 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Matt Maher connects on three second-half 3-pointers in the win.

No. 2 Albertus Magnus 2011 vs. No. 3 Hastings 2020

Hastings 2020 (23-2):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, reached state regional final before tournament was suspended
Albertus Magnus 2011 (18-5): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regionals to eventual state champion Burke Catholic

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: The newly-minted Class B champs take on an Albertus team on the front-end of its dominant two-year reign. This is a brutal matchup here for the Yellow Jackets, who have no clear advantage at any position. Kyle Sullivan l was an extremely underrated player on both ends and would revel in defending the explosive Josh Thigpen. Albertus didn’t have as much front-line size as Hastings but they had a smooth interior player in Tyler Sayre and a relentless inside defender in Arnell Dandridge.

FINAL SCORE: ALBERTUS MAGNUS 61, HASTINGS 59. The Yellow Jackets are in it until the end but the incredible resolve and maturity of this young Albertus team shines through. Tyler Sayre puts the Falcons on his back in the final two minutes, scoring eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to go along with 11 rebounds against the bigs of Hastings.

Delle Bovi Region

No. 1 Blind Brook 2002 vs. No. 4 Woodlands 2010

Blind Brook 2002 (28-1):
Won NYSPHSAA championship (then Class C) and lost in Federation championship
Woodlands 2010 (19-3): Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in regional semifinals to state finalist Burke Catholic

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: One thing that really separates these two teams is familiarity. Blind Brook had a nucleus of players who had come up through the ranks together and performed on the County Center stage for three years together. In 2002, they broke through and won it all. Woodlands had probably better talent overall but was a group that assembled together late with Malik Atkins and Davonne Henry transferring in this season. They had a Hall of Fame coach in Bob Murphy. But competing against Blind Brook and this matchup zone after never seeing it before would be a major challenge. The Falcons would have their runs. But ultimately would struggle to score enough to beat this Blind Brook squad.

FINAL SCORE: BLIND BROOK 54, WOODLANDS 49. One of the great small school teams to come through this area in decades advances. Jason Stein and John Michael Grzan each scored 16 points and Chris Greco contributes 10 points in the second half for the victory.

No. 2 North Salem 2008 vs. No. 3 Pleasantville 2000

Pleasantville 2000 (19-5):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class C) and lost in regional final to state finalist Malverne
North Salem 2008 (23-2): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional final

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: North Salem took down a juggernaut in their section final in 2008 thanks to a terrific defensive effort by Tom Kruze. As great as Joe Lombardi and Co. were for Briarcliff in that game, Kyl Jones poses a whole different challenge. The Panthers junior guard had such a dangerous mid-range game and was unstoppable in the postseason going to the basket. Marc Miller gives the Tigers an advantage in the low post, and Josh O’Neill was such a steady, turnover-free point guard. But the overall length of the Panthers would also be an issue for North Salem.

FINAL SCORE: PLEASANTVILLE 61, NORTH SALEM 58. Jones doesn’t have an easy time getting his 19 points and 11 rebounds, but it was the play of the rest of the backcourt that proves to be the difference. Brian Sondey and Ryan Linehan each scored 13 as Pleasantville advances.

McFadden Region

No. 1 Pleasantville 2001 vs. No. 4 Briarcliff 2018

Pleasantville 2001 (19-7):
Won Section 1 championship (then Class C) and lost in regional final
Briarcliff 2018 (22-5): Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in state semifinals in 2OT to eventual champ Mekeel Christian

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: Many of the players on the 2018 Briarcliff team weren’t even born when this Pleasantville team was winning its second straight title. One thing that gets overlooked for 2001 Pleasantville was the health of Jones, who labored through injuries all season before taking the Panthers on another title run. One area where the Bears have an edge is down low with the versatile post players of Spencer McCann and Jackson Gonseth. And they wouldn’t need to take either bigs to the perimeter to defend Jones. Briarcliff coach Cody Moffett would mix and match to fluster the Panthers.

FINAL SCORE: BRIARCLIFF 57, PLEASANTVILLE 56. To beat Jones in his senior year would be an upset. But it would take a certain type of team to win a game like this and Briarcliff was it. Disciplined defensively, a big front line, versatile guards and the ability to stretch the floor. I also don’t think enough people appreciate what a cohesive, unselfish and determined team this Briarcliff squad was. Mekeel Christian was supposed to be an unstoppable force in the state playoffs two years ago and Briarcliff took them to double overtime. The Bears were the best public school team in the state in Class B. There’s no disputing that.

No. 2 Woodlands 2015 vs. No. 3 Briarcliff 2007

Woodlands 2015 (22-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in NYSPHSAA title game
Briarcliff 2007 (20-4): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional semifinals

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Pick: This is a good matchup of teams that centered around a ‘Big 3’ of stars. Briarcliff’s was certainly talented as Joe Lombardi, Alex Gulotta and Joe Lombardi led this 2007 team to a title as juniors. The trio of Jamil Gambari, Ross Joseph and Brandon Johnson could each light it up any given night, making Woodlands so difficult to plan for. So we have to go down the list. Brendon Holland gave the Bears a 6-6 post presence, which would be crucial here. But the Falcons had an underrated front line that defended so well with Denzel Small and Kyle Smith off the bench. Pierre Lys, the Woodlands point guard, could prove to be the difference in this matchup of an up-and-coming Briarcliff team and a veteran Woodlands squad.

FINAL SCORE: WOODLANDS 67, BRIARCLIFF 63. Lys contributes a quiet 11 points, six assists and five steals but makes a few key defensive plays late to steal the spotlight. Jamil Gambari scored 21 and the Falcons are moving on in this bracket with a full head of steam.

Jensen Region

No. 1 Albertus Magnus 2012 vs. No. 4 Lincoln Hall 2009

Albertus Magnus 2012 (20-3):
Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regional semifinals to Burke Catholic
Lincoln Hall 2009 (17-7): Won Section 1 Class B championship; lost in regionals to Burke Catholic

Starting lineups

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

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

KDJ’s Breakdown: Here we have an Albertus Magnus team that returned four starters and had an interlocking roster with clearly-defined roles. And then there was a Lincoln Hall team that defined unpredictability. It’s what made them so good and allowed them to beat Pleasantville in the section final after losing to them three times in the regular season. This is a far different order, however, for the United. Tyler Sayre was so savvy inside and find ways to fluster Lincoln Hall big man Tysean Saigo. And the Falcons could match the athleticism on the perimeter and have a suitable body to muscle up with Sir Aaron Taylor, who is on a short list of the most physically gifted athletes I ever covered. Both of these teams had their state playoff runs ended by Burke Catholic. One finally survives here.

FINAL SCORE: ALBERTUS MAGNUS 51, LINCOLN HALL 50. The Falcons control the pace and hold their own enough on the glass against the 6-7 Saigo and the middle linebacker skills of Taylor. Pat McGuinness drops 24 in the win.

No. 3 Kennedy Catholic 2006 vs. No. 7 Dobbs Ferry 2012

Kennedy Catholic 2006 (23-4):
Won Section 1 Class B championship, lost in state title game
Dobbs Ferry 2012 (19-2): Reached Section 1 Class B championship game

Starting lineups

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

KDJ’s Pick: Dobbs Ferry upset the 2005 Kennedy team in our first round. Can they do it again versus largely the same roster? Don’t bet on it. This Eagles team had guts and a mental toughness that would rank with any team I covered this decade. But they are facing one of the most polished basketball teams of the era. Kennedy’s 1-3-1 defense in 2006 was a nightmare for opposing teams that didn’t have multiple knockdown shooters. Tyrell Thompson as a senior versus Eric Paschall as a sophomore would have been very fun to watch.

FINAL SCORE: KENNEDY CATHOLIC 58, DOBBS FERRY 53. The Gaels get their revenge after Dobbs’ first round upset and show they are a team to be reckoned with in this SuperBracket. Thompson scores 20, Dan O’Connell adds 15 and Edmond O’Connell contributes 13 off the bench in the victory.

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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