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The basketball season in Section 1 officially ended on Sunday afternoon. Mount Vernon played the last meaningful game, losing to Boys & Girls in the Federation title game in Albany. And the top outgoing seniors suited up for the final time, participating in the Exceptional Senior All-Star Game at Sleepy Hollow.
A fun, entertaining, unpredictable and especially memorable 2011-12 season is in the books.
It’s never too early to look to next season. So here it is.
MSG Varsity basketball expert Kevin Devaney Jr. makes his pre-spring predictions for the 2012-13 season in Section 1:
See you at the County Center: Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, North Rockland and Mahopac
Title favorite: Mount Vernon. The Knights are still in a state of mourning after falling to Boys & Girls in the AA Federation final. But things are looking up for next season despite arguably the biggest roster turnover in program history. The Knights will lose eight seniors, including all five starters. But c’mon, this is Mount Vernon. They have pieces to build around in Joshua Doughty, Jamal Lewis and Brandon Martin. Gold Ball No. 30 is within reach.
Watch out for: Horace Greeley. The Quakers were in position to win so many games this past season that they couldn’t pull out, including a crushing loss to Arlington in the opening round of the playoffs. But there solid talent returning, led by Harrison Brown and Teddy Graves. They could be a sleeper.
Top 10 Players
Joshua Doughty, G, Mount Vernon
Brendan Hynes, G/F, Mahopac
Joe Clarke, F, New Rochelle
Harrison Brown, G/F, Greeley
Jamal Lewis, F, Mount Vernon
Gio Rodriguez, G, Arlington
Malvin Rosario, F, North Rockland
Carlito Carvalho, G, Fox Lane
Jack Hewitt, F, Scarsdale
Dane Williamson, F, Gorton
Championship pick: New Rochelle over Mount Vernon. Yup, I think the Huguenots are finally going to get back over the hump. The JV was very solid this past season, and they will start four solid veterans in Joe Clarke, Terrence Holden, Derek Dorn and Onye Onwukanjo.
See you at the County Center: Poughkeepsie, Byram Hills, Spring Valley and Rye
Title favorite: Poughkeepsie. Give the Pioneers a slight nod here over Byram Hills, although they really are neck-and-neck in terms of talent. Poughkeepsie returns four starters from a team that reached the Section 1 final as a No. 11 seed and will slide D’Andre Smith into the lineup. Smith was awesome in the postseason and could be a breakout star. With Jemar Dancy, Ray Knight, Devin Lawrence and Brandon Weir, this is a championship squad.
Watch out for: Harrison. The Huskies played quality basketball down the stretch and have a young nucleus of talent returning. Coby Lefkowitz is guy who could emerge as a star next season.
Top 10 Players
Jeff Lynch, G, Byram Hills
Ryan Golden, G/F, Byram Hills
Jack Daly, PG, Eastchester
Jermar Dancy, G, Poughkeepsie
Joe Letizia, G, Tappan Zee
Max Twyman, F, Rye
Kevin Degnan, F, Pearl River
Devin Lawrence, G/F, Poughkeepsie
D’Andre Smith, G, Poughkeepsie
Ian Parker, G/F, Riverside
Championship pick: Poughkeepsie over Byram Hills. Next season could really be a great one in Class A. Jeff Lynch and Ryan Golden are bonafide stars, and much will hinge on how Brian Skelly and Andrew Groll progress this offseason. Still, the Pioneers have the depth to finally break through and win a Gold Ball.
See you at the County Center: Briarcliff, Woodlands, Blind Brook, Pleasantville.
Title favorite: Briarcliff. This is an extremely tough conference to call. Briarcliff, though, seems to be the best team on paper. Brian Daniels, Ryan Huegel and Jared Jones is a very good trio to build around. The Bears have tremendous potential.
Watch out for: North Salem. The Tigers are victimized by a brutal schedule this past season yet finished strong. Umar Singh is the best player nobody really knows about, and the youth on this roster bodes well for next year.
Top 10 Players
Eric Paschall, F, Dobbs Ferry
Brian Daniels, F, Briarcliff
Jack Sullivan, G, Albertus Magnus
Sam Adler, G, Blind Brook
Andre Scipio, G, Woodlands
Ian Thom, G, Croton-Harmon
Umar Singh, F, North Salem
Charlie Montgomery, F, Pleasantville
Jack Eisenberg, G, Pleasantville
Terrence Tribble, F, Valhalla
Championship pick: Briarcliff over Blind Brook. Class B could be the most exciting conference in Section 1 next season, so this is really a blind guess at this point. The Trojans have a nice trio of their own coming back next season in Sam Adler, Brennan Schaenman and Ben Seguljic. Both teams will be filling spots in the starting lineup. Depth will dictate which team wins a title.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org