Final Four breakdowns: Section 1 girls
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Championship Week Schedule
at the Westchester County Center
Tuesday, Feb. 28
Class C Girls semifinal: No. 2 Solomon Schechter vs. No. 3 Keio, 3 p.m.
Class C Girls semifinal: No. 1 Hamilton vs. No. 4 Haldane, 4:45 p.m.
Class B Girls semifinal: No. 2 Blind Brook vs. No. 3 Dobbs Ferry, 6:30 p.m.
Class B Girls semifinal: No. 1 Irvington vs. No. 4 Kennedy, 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 1
Class AA Girls semifinal: No. 10 Carmel vs. No. 3 Lourdes, 3 p.m.
Class AA Girls semifinal: No. 4 John Jay-EF vs. No. 1 Ossining, 4:45 p.m.
Class A Girls semifinal: No. 2 Tappan Zee vs. No. 6 Sleepy Hollow, 6:30 p.m.
Class A Girls semifinal: No. 1 Pearl River vs. No. 4 Albertus Magnus, 8:15 p.m.
Saturday, March 3
Class C Girls championship, noon
Class B Girls championship, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 4
Class AA Girls championship, 2 p.m.
Class A Girls championship, 5 p.m.
PLAYOFF BREAKDOWN: SEMIFINALS
No. 1 Ossining Pride (20-0) vs. No. 4 John Jay-East Fishkill Patriots (16-4)
Coaches: Dan Ricci (Ossining). Larry Brooks (John Jay-EF)
Road to the semis: Ossining defeated Mahopac 73-34 in the first round and beat Horace Greeley 82-47 in the quarterfinals, John Jay-EF defeated Scarsdale 75-56 in the first round and beat Ursuline 59-55 in overtime in the quarterfinals
Ossining’s top players: Saniya Chong (Jr., PG); Destini Walker (Fr., F/G); Jalay Knowles (Fr., C); Danielle Gervacio (Jr., G)
John Jay-EF’s top players: Brittney Gullo (Sr., F); Calli Balfour (Sr., F); Brittany Gregory (Sr., G)
Key match-up: Ossining’s Jalay Knowles and Destini Walker vs. John Jay-EF’s Calli Balfour and Brittney Gullo. Everyone knows that Saniya Chong is going to get her points. If John Jay-EF has hopes of an upset, it will have to dominate the paint with Balfour and Gullo.
X-Factor: Ossining guards not named Chong. With opponents so focused on stopping Chong, the rest of the guards are usually left wide open from 3-point range. Ossining certainly has capable shooters in Kathryn Polletta, Danielle Gervacio and Andra Espinoza-Hunter.
How Ossining can win: Just keep doing what they’re doing, which is create turnovers, push the pace and get easy looks in transition. Chong has excellent court vision and draws so much attention that she creates so many open looks for her teammates, who are much better finishers this season.
How John Jay-EF can win: Opposing teams have tried everything it takes to stop Saniya Chong, but nothing seems to ever work. Chong lit up John Jay for a career-high 61 points in the quarterfinals last season, but the Patriots did have the lead at halftime. If they can recreate the first half from last year, limit turnovers, slow down Chong as much as humanly possible and control the boards, they have a shot.
No. 3 Our Lady of Lourdes (17-3) vs. No. 10 Carmel (15-5)
Coaches: Al Viani (Lourdes) vs. Dan O’Hare (Carmel)
Road to the semis: Lourdes defeated Suffern 51-25 in the first round and beat New Rochelle 57-29 in the quarterfinals, Carmel defeated Clarkstown South 65-55 in the first round and beat Arlington 52-46 in the quarterfinals
Lourdes top players: Paige Decker (So., G); Emily Ferreri (Fr., G/F); Kelly Kubala (Jr., G)
Carmel’s top players: Sabrina Diaz (Sr., PG), Alyssa D’Apice (Sr., G); Nicole Oliver (Sr., F)
Key match-up: Lourdes’ Paige Decker vs. Carmel’s Sabrina Diaz. The new kid on the block vs. the seasoned veteran. Diaz’s experience and savvy gives her the edge here.
X-Factor: Carmel’s experience. The trio of Diaz, Alyssa D’Apice and Nicole Oliver has been here before. They almost upset Mount Vernon in the semifinals two years ago. Last year, they were the top seed and lost to Mount Vernon in the quarterfinals. They’re definitely looking to go out on a high note.
How Lourdes can win: Avoid the County Center jitters. Lourdes has a very young squad and it may take them a little time to feel comfortable on the big court in front of a decent crowd. If they keep up their defensive intensity (allowed less than 30 points in both playoff games) that will be a major plus.
How Carmel can win: Play with confidence from the start. If the Rams start strong and build an early lead, it’ll be difficult for an inexperienced Lourdes squad to rally on such a big stage. The Rams are very tested and are much better than their No. 10 seed.
No. 1 Pearl River (18-2) vs. No. 4 Albertus Magnus (16-4)
Coaches: Lorraine Moylan (Pearl River). Pat Buckley (Albertus Magnus)
Road to semis: Pearl River defeated Nyack 60-36 in the first round and beat John Jay-CR 70-52 in the quarterfinals, Albertus Magnus defeated Brewster 54-44 in the first round and beat Nanuet 49-32 in the quarterfinals
Pearl River’s top players: Christa Scognamiglio (Sr., F/G); Allison Cook (Sr., G); Kerry Sullivan (Sr., F); Christy Carty (Sr., F)
Magnus’ top players: Maeve Parahus (Jr., F); Kelly Guarino (So., G)
Key match-up: Pearl River’s forwards Kerry Sullivan and Christy Carty vs. Albertus Magnus’ Maeve Parahus. The duo of Sullivan and Carty held Parahus to just 18 points total in two meetings during the regular season (both won by Pearl River). If they hold Parahus to 10 points or less Pearl River will win again.
X-factor: Pearl River’s Allison Cook. When Cook is hot, the Pirates are very tough to beat. She made six 6-pointers in their quarterfinal win over John Jay-CR.
How Pearl River can win: Push the pace, force turnovers and get easy baskets in transition. The Pirates are definitely the more experienced and tested team. After giving up a big second half lead in the section final to Peekskill last season, they’re more focused than ever this year.
How Magnus can win: Break the Pearl River press. It’s almost as simple as that, but it’s definitely easier said than done. The Pirates get a bunch of their points off turnovers created by the press. If point guard Kelly Guarino and the rest of Magnus handles the pressure, they can pull off the upset.
No. 2 Tappan Zee (18-2) vs. No. 6 Sleepy Hollow (15-5)
Coaches: Tom Cromer (Tappan Zee). Nick Romeo (Sleepy Hollow)
Road to semis: Tappan Zee defeated Poughkeepsie 66-35 in the first round and beat Byram Hills 56-52 in the quarterfinals , Sleepy Hollow defeated Beacon 57-55 in the first round and beat Ardsley 54-43 in the quarterfinals
Tappan Zee’s top players: Devona Paul (Sr., F); Regina Argenzio (Sr., PG); Val DiMuro (Sr., F); Kristen McLaughlin (So., F)
Sleepy Hollow’s top players: Jamie Bucci (Sr., G); Grace Carr (So., F); Daniella Carissimo (Jr., F)
Key match-up: Tappan Zee’s Regina Argenzio vs. Sleepy Hollow’s Jamie Bucci. Both players are experienced floor generals and are strong 3-point shooters that have the ability to stretch the opposing defense. Neither, however, has ever played in a big game at the County Center. Whoever gets out the nerves first will get her team out to a sizeable lead and a probable victory.
X-Factor: Sleepy Hollow’s Daniella Carissimo. Carissimo is a strong shot blocker and she’ll need to be against Tappan Zee (she had six blocks in quarterfinal win). With the Dutchies possessing a big advantage in the paint with Devona Paul and Val DiMuro, Carissimo will have to stay out of foul trouble and do as much as she can to limit the duo.
How Tappan Zee can win: Get the ball inside early and often. Tappan Zee has a huge size advantage on a small Sleepy Hollow team. If the Dutchies flex their muscles early on, dominate the paint and stay out of foul trouble, they have a strong chance of advancing. Tappan Zee is a senior laden squad so I don’t see the big stage really bothering them.
How Sleepy Hollow can win: Play at a frantic pace and create turnovers. Tappan Zee only really goes six players deep so if Sleepy can get them into a track meet they have a shot. The faster tempo will wear down Tappan Zee’s forwards and make them less effective.
No. 1 Irvington (19-1) vs. No. 4 Kennedy Catholic (14-6)
Coaches: Gina Maher (Irvington). Al Morales (Kennedy)
Road to semis: Irvington defeated Pleasantville 68-23 in the first round and beat Valhalla 67-31 in the quarterfinals, Kennedy defeated Hastings 60-17 in the first round and beat Woodlands 42-38 in the quarterfinals
Irvington’s top players: Alexis Martins (Jr., C/F); Brittni Lai (Jr., PG); Marley Giddins (Sr., F)
Kennedy’s top players: Leah Greene (So., PG); Sara Dowd (Jr., G); Shayna Gaskins (Jr., F); Tara Cremin (Sr., G)
Key match-up: Irvington’s Brittni Lai vs. Kennedy’s Leah Greene. Lai is one of the top point guards in Section 1, while Greene is definitely on the rise and could be in the mix as soon as next season. Lai’s playoff experience will make a huge difference.
X-factor: Irvington’s Alexis Martins. Kennedy has some size inside but they probably have never seen a player that can rebound and score in the paint like Martins. It’ll have to be a team effort if Kennedy has any hopes of stopping her.
How Irvington can win: Take away Kennedy’s confidence early on. The Gaels pride themselves on defense and if the Bulldogs build a substantial early lead, they may start to get down on themselves. Irvington’s star trio is just simply too good for any other Class B team to match up with.
How Kennedy can win: Don’t be intimidated and go in with a nothing to lose attitude. All of the pressure is on Irvington. Slow down the pace, limit the Bulldogs’ possessions and don’t get into a running game. They also can’t afford to go cold offensively like they did in the second half against Woodlands in the quarters.
No. 2 Blind Brook (14-6) vs. No. 3 Dobbs Ferry (15-5)
Coaches: Manny Martinez (Blind Brook) vs. Erik Bartell (Dobbs Ferry)
Road to the semis: Blind Brook defeated Bronxville 68-39 in the first round and beat Croton-Harmon 54-36 in the quarterfinals, Dobbs Ferry defeated North Salem 40-29 in the first round and beat Briarcliff 40-36 in the quarterfinals
Blind Brook’s top players: Ally Silfen (Jr., F); Lea Saliba (Jr., G)
Dobbs Ferry’s top players: Jeana Corradina (Sr., G); Alyssa Chipelo (G); Kristy Degener (F)
Key match-up: Blind Brook’s Lea Saliba vs. Dobbs Ferry’s Jeana Corradina. Corradina is a solid outside shooter, while Saliba likes to attack the basket. You always have to like the player that goes to the hoop, especially at the County Center where it’s a difficult place to shoot.
X-Factor: Blind Brook’s Ally Silfen. She scored 19 points and was a force in the post when the Trojans beat the Eagles during the regular season. If she does it again the result will probably be the same.
How Blind Brook can win: Get the ball to Ally Silfen. As mentioned, Silfen is the key to Blind Brook’s offense and when she plays well they usually win. Lea Saliba will have to control the tempo and limit turnovers.
How Dobbs Ferry can win: Slow down Silfen. She scored 19 of Blind Brook’s 44 points in the first meeting. Cut that number down a bit and the Eagles can pull out a win. If Jeana Corradina is on from the perimeter, that will also be a big help.
No. 1 Alexander Hamilton (15-3) vs. No. 4 Haldane
Coaches: Ben Carter (Hamilton) vs. Tyrone Searight (Haldane)
Road to semis: Hamilton received a bye into the semifinals, Haldane beat Palisade Prep 57-27 in the quarterfinals
Hamilton’s top players: Maia Hood (Jr., F); Imani Lightbourne (Sr., F); Jasmine Robinson (Jr., G)
Haldane’s top players: Sam Lisikatos (So., G); Rose Mackey (Sr., F)
Key match-up: Hamilton’s Maia Hood vs. Haldane’s Rose Mackey. Hood has been nearly unstoppable this season. Mackey and the rest of the Haldane forwards will definitely have their hands full.
X-Factor: Hamilton’s forwards. Between Maia Hood and Imani Lightbourne, Hamilton will overwhelm Haldane in the paint.
How Hamilton can win: Don’t underestimate Haldane. The Blue Devils have some remaining pieces from last year’s section champion so they won’t be a pushover. But Hamilton just has too much talent to lose this one.
How Haldane can win: Maia Hood is going to get her points. If Haldane can force the rest of Hamilton’s players into a poor shooting game, they have a chance.
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