Breaking down the NYS Final Four: Boys
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STATE FINAL FOUR
At Glens Falls Civic Center
Friday, March 16
Class C semifinal: Tuckahoe vs. Mechanicville, 5 p.m.
Class B semifinal: Burke Catholic vs. Watervilet, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
Class A semifinal: Tappan Zee vs. Jamesville-DeWitt, 10:45 a.m.
Class AA semifinal: Mount Vernon vs. Albany CBA, 2:15 p.m.
Class D championship, 5:30 p.m.
Class C championship, 7:15 p.m.
Class B championship, 9 p.m.
Sunday, March 18
Class A championship, 1:30 p.m.
Class AA championship, 3:15 p.m.
TUCKAHOE (23-0) vs Section 2’s MECHANICVILLE
Coaches: Al Visconti (Tuchahoe). Rian Richardson (Mechanicville)
Road to the NYS Semifinals: Tuckahoe, the Section 1 champion, defeated East Rockaway 72-60 in the regional finals. Mechanicville, the Section 2 champion, defeated St. Lawrence 56-40 in the regional finals
Tuckahoe’s Top Players: Sky Williams (6-1, Senior, Guard); Justin Nolan (6-4, Senior, Forward); Mark Raymond (6-5, Senior, Center); Shyheim Nixon (5-10, Junior, Guard)
Mechanicville’s Top Players: Jordan McBride (6-0, Senior, Guard); Ryan McBride (6-1, Senior, Forward); Sam DeCelle (5-11, Senior, Forward);
Key Matchup: Shyheim Nixon vs Jordan McBride. Mechanicville’s offense revolves around Jordan McBride, who is averaging 24.5 points per game this year and just recently scored his 1,000th career point. Jordan’s brother Ryan McBride can play too, but Jordan is the main weapon and gets the majority of the touches. Look for Nixon, Nolan, and Williams to all match-up with him and help out against the red hot senior.
X-Factor: Mark Raymond. At the Class C level, you don’t see many big men. Mechanicville doesn’t have a lot of size (nobody over 6-foot-2), so a center like Raymond will have a chance to dominate the game. If he can clean up the glass, Tuckahoe will be in business.
How Tuckahoe Can Win: Play with tempo. Mechanicville is averaging about 60 points a game this year, a number that isn’t that bad, but 60 points is nothing for Tuckahoe who has regularly put up 100 throughout the season. Coach Al Visconti will preach defense again in a game like this, but Tuckahoe is going to need to score the basketball like they have done all year.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will play either Section 6 champion OTC Middle College or Section 3 winner Cooperstown in Saturday’s title game.
TAPPAN ZEE (24-0) vs Section 3’s JAMESVILLE-DEWITT (21-2)
Coaches: George Gaine (Tappan Zee). Bob McKenney (Jamesville-Dewitt)
Road to the NYS Semifinals: Tappan Zee, the Section 1 champion, defeated Marlboro 53-34 in the regional finals. Jamesville-DeWitt, the Section 3 champion, defeated Scotia-Glenville 58-45 in the regional finals.
Tappan Zee’s Top Players: Billy O’Shea (6-3, Senior, Forward); Pat Peterson (6-2, Senior, Guard); Joe Letizia (5-9, Junior, Guard); Brendan Donahue (6-3, Senior, Forward); Brian McLaughlin (5-11, Senior, Guard).
Jamesville-Dewitt’s Top Players: Dajuan Coleman (6-10, Senior, Forward); Tyler Cavanaugh (6-9, Senior, Forward); Jafar Kinsey (6-1, Soph., Guard); Pete Drescher (6-2, Senior, Guard/Forward)
Key Match-Up: Tappan Zee interior vs Coleman and Cavanaugh. Welcome to the state final four Tappan Zee, you get to play the big boys now. Really big. Jameville-Dewitt are the four-time defending state champs and have two of the best big men in the state. Coleman, the top recruit in the country, is going to Syracuse next year while Cavanaugh is headed to Wake Forest. If Tappan Zee wants a shot in this one, they’re going to have to box out, team-rebound and play team defense. Even then it could be tough.
X-Factor: Pat Peterson. With Jamesville-Dewitt’s significant size advantage, Tappan Zee is going to have to change up how they play a little. O’Shea should still be able to get into the paint, but will have a tougher time scoring with the two trees in the middle. Tappan Zee is going to need Peterson to hit his 3s when O’Shea kicks it out if the Dutchmen want to pull off the upset.
How Tappan Zee Can Win: Execution and poise. Jamesville-Dewitt is going to own the paint while Coleman and Cavanaugh are in the game, but that doesn’t mean Tappan Zee has to hoist up 3s to win. You beat bigger teams with execution, so the Dutchmen must work through their offense and find good shots to keep the two big-men honest. This will force the bigs to get out on the shots and free up the interior a little. When the ball does get inside, Tappan Zee must use ball-fakes and go up strong. If they can get one of the bigs in foul trouble and avoid the rushed 3-pointers, they’ll be in the game.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will play either Long Island champion Harborfield or Section 5 champion Bishop Kearney. Harborfields is expected to get through.
MOUNT VERNON (22-2) vs Section 2’s CBA-ALBANY (21-2)
Coaches: Bob Cimmino (Mount Vernon). Dave Doemel (Albany CBA)
Road to the Regional Finals: Mount Vernon, the Section 1 champion, defeated Middletown in the regional finals. CBA, the Section 2 champion, defeated Utica Proctor 68-60 in the regional final
Mount Vernon’s Top Players: Isaiah Cousins (6-4, Senior, Guard); Randy Stephens (6-5, Senior, Guard); Jarell Marshall (6-6, Senior, Forward); Qwedere Lovell (6-0, Senior, Guard)
CBA’s Top Players: Joe Krong (6-4, Senior, Forward); Christian Leppanen (6-1, Senior, Center); Chazz Lott (6-0, Senior, Guard); Nate Robinson (6-6, Junior, Guard); Greg Stire (6-5, Soph., Guard).
Key Match-Up: Forward Play. CBA is a lot like Mount Vernon when it comes to size. They both don’t have anyone too big, but have a few guys 6-3 to 6-6 range that can play multiple positions. Robinson (6-6), Krong (6-4) and Stire (6-5) will be nice matchups for Cousins, Marshall and the rest of the Mount Vernon forwards and the game could be won by whichever group plays better.
X-Factor: Cousins. It’s hard to call Cousins an X-Factor because everyone knows Mr. Basketball is coming. But the way he played in the regional finals was spectacular. Cousins posted 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks in three quarters, dominating the game on both sides of the ball. If Cousins continues this level of play, Mount Vernon won’t just beat CBA; they’ll beat everyone else in the tournament too.
How Mount Vernon Can Win: Jump out early. Mount Vernon is great at jumping out to an early lead and that will really help in a game like this. Albany CBA is a team that seems to get better as the game goes on, so if Mount Vernon can put them in a hole early, it will go a long way when Albany CBA tries to make the run later in the game. If Marshall, Will Robinson and Givvion Jones can dominate the paint like they did in the regional finals, Mount Vernon should come away with the win.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will face Section 5 champion Aquinas or Long Island champ Baldwin in Sunday’s title game. The Mount Vernon-CBA winner will be a heavy favorite going into that game.
Emal Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com