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SECTION 1 BOYS BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS
Breaking Down the Bracket: Class B
Gold Ball Favorite: Briarcliff. The Bears crept into the No. 1 spot thanks to a final month where they won six of seven games. They haven’t done it convincingly throughout and are a hard sell as a clear cut favorite. But talent-wise with Brian Daniels, Jared Jones, Spencer Seabrook and Ryan Huegel leading the way, Briarcliff are the best team.
Putnam Valley: The Tigers are a heavy favorite to a win championship — next year. This year they may as well take home the Gold Ball, too. Jelani Bell-Isaac controls the interiot and they have four talented guards in Ryan Basso, Zach Coleman, Zack Nolan and Andre Soto.
Lourdes: The drop down from Class A was well-timed as the Warriors have their strongest roster in the several years. However, they don’t have many of them with only eight players on the roster late in the season. But the long layoffs between games should help. Nick Porter and Justin Rhynders are strong inside and Mike Donnelly and Kyle Santoro are a solid shooting tandem.
Dobbs Ferry: When you have the best player in the tournament, you always have a chance to win a championship. The Eagles have Eric Paschalla, Section 1’s Mr. Basketball recipient, and a group around him that’s gained confidence in the last month. Had they not lost to Edgemont in the season finale, they may have been a title favorite.
Bracketbuster: North Salem. The Tigers are not in the ideal part of the bracket, needing to beat an underrated Pawling squad — which North Salem beat twice — in the opening round and then top-seeded Briarcliff in the quarters. But the Tigers may have the ideal matchup to pull off the upsets. Umar Singh is one of the few players who can match up with Briarcliff’s Brian Daniels.
Deep sleeper: Pleasantville. In the preseason the Panthers were a serious contender, if not a favorite. But a brutal schedule and bouts with inconsistency have them as a No. 13 seed and a trip to Dobbs Ferry. Never, though, count the Panthers out. They nearly reached the County Center. Don’t be too shocked if they break through this time.
Top 3 First Round Games:
No. 13 Pleasantville at No. 4 Dobbs Ferry: This could end up being the best first round game in any class. Both teams hit some bumps along the way and are poised to make a run at a title in a wide-open class. It’s a fun matchup.
No. 10 Edgemont at No. 7 Croton-Harmon: Most expected Croton to be Top 5 seed before they fell to Hen Hud in the finale. Edgemont was up and down in the final month but closed with a win over Dobbs Ferry, which should be a nice boost.
No. 11 Blind Brook at No. 6 Valhalla: These rivals split in the regular season with Valhalla winning the most recent. Terence Tribble has been so good in the second half for Valhalla. This could go either way.
Upset watch: No. 11 Blind Brook over No. 6 Valhalla. It’s hard to call this an upset given Valhalla won only two more games and they split in the regular season. It’s going to be fun watching Sam Adler matchup with Vikings point guard Joe Lovecchio.
Eye on the Quarterfinals: You can feel confident that Briarcliff, Putnam Valley and Lourdes are getting out of the first round. After that, the other five spots are completely up for grabs. And then the real Class B tournament begins.
10 Players to Watch
Eric Paschall, Dobbs Ferry, 6-5, Jr., G/F
Brian Daniels, Briarcliff, 6-4, Sr., F
Jelani Bell-Isaac, Putnam Valley, 6-3, Jr., F
D’Andre Tilford, Woodlands, 6-1, Sr., G
Umar Singh, North Salem, 6-5, Sr., F
Sam Adler, Blind Brook, 5-11, Sr., G
Jack Eisenberg, Pleasantville, 6-0, Sr., G
Terence Tribble, Valhalla, 6-2, Sr., G/F
Paul Emdin, Edgemont, 6-4, Sr., G
Zach Coleman, Putnam Valley, 6-0, Jr., G
5 Names to Learn
Ryan Basso, Putnam Valley, 6-0, Soph., G/F
Jared Jones, Briarcliff, 6-2, Sr., G
Brandon Johnson, Woodlands, Sr., G
Kyle Santoro, Lourdes, 6-2, Jr., G
Dylan Murray, Bronxville, 6-0, Sr., G
Briarcliff over Irvington
North Salem over Pawling
Woodlands over Rye Neck
Dobbs Ferry over Pleasantville
Lourdes over Bronxville
Blind Brook over Valhalla
Croton-Harmon over Edgemont
Putnam Valley over Hastings
Dobbs Ferry over Woodlands
Briarcliff over North Salem
Lourdes over Blind Brook
Putnam Valley over Croton-Harmon
Briarcliff over Putnam Valley
MVP Pick: Brian Daniels, Briarcliff