Albertus Magnus cruises into championship
Follow Section 1 boys basketball on Twitter @MSGVarsityKDJ
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Westchester County Center bills itself as “Westchester’s most famous arena.” That title plus the bright lights and big stage of the Section 1 final four usually means nerves and a little tightness for teams coming in.
Not for Albertus Magnus.
The Falcons’ clash with Croton-Harmon on Wednesday afternoon was the sixth game in the County Center in the past two years and it showed as Albertus Magnus cruised to a 72-44 victory.
“We’ve played here enough the last two years that we were definitely comfortable,” Tyler Sayre said. “We just wanted to come out and blitz them early.”
Sayre led the charge for Albertus Magnus with 33 points and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-5 forward used every aspect of his game to dominate a much smaller Croton-Harmon team. Sayre scored from the perimeter, baseline, in the paint, at the free throw line, off the offensive glass, and even above the rim. He was nearly unstoppable, shooting 13-for 20 for the game.
“Tyler was the hot hand and we rode him right off the bat,” Albertus junior Jack Sullivan said. “He got us off to a great start and everything rolled from there.”
In addition to Sayre, Sullivan shot 7-for-11 and scored 16 points. In fact, every one of the Falcons shot well. The team connected on 56% of its shots.
Croton-Harmon threw different defenses at the Falcons and defenders at Sayre but couldn’t slow them down. When the Tigers pressed in the third quarter, Sullivan and point guard Pat McGuinness broke it easily and found senior guard Arnell Dandridge open for easy shots. Dandridge scored all nine of his points in the third quarter when Albertus Magnus increased its lead to as much as 36.
Croton-Harmon was led by Wes Turner’s 12 points and four steals. The sixth-seeded Tigers upset No. 3 Woodlands in the quarterfinals, but the surprise opponent didn’t faze the Falcons.
“We prepared for Croton the same way we would’ve prepared for Woodlands,” Sayre said. “They beat Woodlands and they’re a good team. We practiced just as hard for them.”
Now Albertus Magnus, the reigning section champions, will defend its title against last year’s foe, No. 1 Dobbs Ferry on Saturday at 5 p.m. It’s a game that everyone has had circles since the preseason.
“After last season we fully expected to be back here,” Sullivan said. “The goal is to win every game no matter what, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Emai John Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone