Sectional capsules: A boys hoops
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NO. 1 TAPPAN ZEE
Coach: George Gaine
First round opponent: No. 17 Lakeland/No. 16 Spring Valley winner
Last year: Lost to Pearl River in semis
Best wins: Clarstown South, Albertus Magnus (twice), Byram Hills
Top players: Billy O’Shea (6-2, Sr., F); Pat Peterson (6-1, Sr., G/F); Joe Letizia (5-8, Jr., G)
Scouting report: Tappan Zee just completed the first unbeaten season in the program’s history. The next step will be the second Section 1 title in the last three years for the Dutchmen. From here on out, they will either stay perfect or be staying at home.
NO. 2 PEEKSKILL
Coach: Lou Panzanaro
Nickname: Red Devils
First round opponent: No. 15 Somers/No. 18 John Jay-CR
Last year: Lost to Pearl River in quarterfinals
Best wins: Woodlands (twice), Kennedy, Lakeland
Top players: Chandler Pierce (6-4, Sr., F); Dan Casey (6-1, Jr. G/F); Tyler Daniel (5-8, Sr. G); Musheed Mahammad (6-5, So. F/C)
Scouting report: Coach Panzanaro made waves last week when he announced that the Red Devils were going to win it all. If anyone has the resume to make that claim, it’s Panzanaro and his five NYS titles in 30 years at Peekskill. Peekskill's strength is its overall team depth, a valuable commodity during the hectic pace of the postseason.
NO. 3 EASTCHESTER
Coach: Fred DiCarlo
First round opponent: No. 14 Panas/No. 19 Harrison winner
Last year: Lost to Tappan Zee in quarterfinals
Best wins: Saunders (twice), Panas, Bronxville
Top players: Dave Solano (6-2, Sr., F); Jack Daly (6-0, So., G)
Scouting report: The Eagles finished the season strong with four straight wins. Dave Solano, Jack Daly and company will look to take advantage of the high seed to move deep into the tournament and avenge last year’s early exit.
NO. 4 KENNEDY CATHOLIC
Coach: Frank Kelly
First round opponent: No. 13 Beacon/No. 20 Lourdes winner
Last year: Lost to Byram Hills in semifinals
Best wins: Peekskill, Poughkeepsie, Panas
Top players: Thiago Randazzo (6-5, Sr. F); Jordan Hardy (6-1, Sr., F); Billy Kelly (5-7, Sr., G)
Scouting report: The Gaels are another team that finished the season on a hot streak. To keep it going they will have to rely on the broad shoulders of Thiago Randazzo. He is a game-changing presence down low and few players in Class A are as ferocious on the glass.
NO. 5 BYRAM HILLS
Coach: Ted Repa
First round opponent: No. 21 Ardsley/No. 12 Rye
Last year: Won Section 1 Class A title, reached NYS Final Four
Best wins: Fox Lane (twice), Blind Brook, Greeley
Top players: Jeff Lynch (5-11, Jr., G); Ryan Golden (6-1, Jr. F); Alex O’Brien (6-4, Sr. F)
Scouting report: It’s time for Byram to defend its surprising Class A section title from last year. Though the Bobcats finished the season with three straight losses, the experience of winning when it counts will make them a dangerous foe in the tournament.
NO. 6 PELHAM
Coach: Mark Finegan
First round opponent: No. 11 Poughkeepsie/No. 22 Hen Hud winner
Last year: Lost to Byram Hills in quarterfinals
Best wins: Eastchester (twice), Saunders
Top players: Matt Henson (6-2, Sr., G/F); Zack Rollins (6-4, Sr. F/C); Shaquille Richards (5-10, Sr., G)
Scouting report: After losing nine players to graduation, the Pelicans started the season 4-5 before rattling off nine straight wins to end the season. This is a young team without much size but team chemistry and balanced scoring will be the key to their success.
NO. 7 SAUNDERS
Coach: Anthony Nicodemo
Nickname: Blue Devils
First round opponent: No. 10 Brewster/No. 23 Sleepy Hollow
Last year: Lost to Ardsley in outbracket
Best wins: Riverside, Pelham, Sleepy Hollow
Top players: Jerrell Benitez (5-8, Sr. G); Rabhir Hamman (6-5, Jr., F); Mike Sullivan (5-11, Sr., G)
Scouting report: The Blue Devils have one of the most electric players in Class A in Benitez. He has the ability to take over games on offense and defense. Combine that with crisp outside shooting and a big rebounder down low and Saunders is a dangerous team.
NO. 8 PEARL RIVER
Coach: Jerry Houston
Outbracket opponent: No. 25 Yonkers
Last year: Lost to Byram Hills in finals
Best wins: Clarkstown South, North Rockland
Top players: Joe Clinton (5-10, Sr., PG); Austin O'Toole (5-10, Sr., G); Kevin Degnan (6-6, So. F)
Scouting report: Pearl River overcame a tough early season schedule and gelled as a team along the way. After losing to Byram Hills in last year’s sectional final, the Pirates are surely hungry for another shot. Standing in their way will be fellow Rockland school Tappan Zee, which handed Pearl River two of its six losses this season.
NO. 9 RIVERSIDE
Coach: Bryan Kreps
Outbracket opponent: No. 24 Nyack
Last year: Did not qualify for sectionals
Best wins: Children's Village, Gorton, Hen Hud
Top players: Ian Parker, Juan Martinez, Jamal Medley
Scouting report: The Rams have a proven scoring threat in Parker and the aptly named Medley will showcase his variety of skills. Riverside is an excellent offensive team that will look to push the ball early and often. If they get past Nyack, the Rams will likely find Pearl River waiting in the opening round.
NO. 10 BREWSTER
Coach: John Martino
Outbracket opponent: No. 23 Sleepy Hollow
Last year: Lost to Ossining in Class AA first round
Best wins: Pelham, Beacon, Somers (twice)
Top players: Jack Dignan (6-0, Sr., G); Brian McNeil (6-4, Jr., F); Mike Bonilla (6-3, Sr., F)
Scouting report: Brewster is a team stocked with height and scorers and is poised to make a bit of noise. Assuming they get past Sleepy Hollow in the outbracket game, the Bears would face Saunders in the opening round and many would consider them the favorite in that game despite their lower seeding.
NO. 11 POUGHKEEPSIE
Coach: Brian Laffin
Outbracket opponent: No. 22 Hen Hud
Last year: Lost to Mt. Vernon in Class AA finals
Best wins: Beacon, Riverside, Arlington
Top players: Jermar Dancy, D’Andre Smith
Scouting report: Poughkeepsie had its problems with consistency this season, but the Pioneers make their living in February. With a relatively low seed, this is a young team that will look to make a living on upsets.
NO. 12 RYE
Coach: Chris DiCintio
Outbracket opponent: No. 21 Ardsley
Last year: Lost to Kennedy Catholic in quarterfinals
Best wins: Pleasantville, Byram Hills (twice), Greeley
Top players: Max Twyman (6-5, Jr., F); Michael D’Antoni (5-10, Jr., G); Mike Garofalo (6-2, Jr., F); Kamal Logue (5-11. Sr., G)
Scouting report: Rye showed its mettle completing the season sweep against defending champ Byram Hills. The Garnets have to beat Ardsley in their outbracket game to earn a third shot at Byram in the opening round.
NO. 13 BEACON
Coach: Tom Powers
Outbracket opponent: No. 20 Lourdes
Last year: Lost to Lakeland in outbracket
Best wins: Arlington, Riverside, Poughkeepsie
Top players: Jarell Brown (6-1, Sr., F); Jordan Morales (6-1, Sr., G)
Scouting report: Beacon will meet Lourdes in a familiar matchup for these two Dutchess County schools. It will be the rubber-match in their season series and is a hotly anticipated outbracket game.
NO. 14 PANAS
Coach: Shawn Sullivan
Outbracket opponent: No. 19 Harrison
Last year: Lost to Peekskill in first round
Best wins: John Jay-CR (twice), Lakeland
Top players: Zac Pruess (5-10, Sr., G); Vaughn Dweck (6-3, Jr., G)
Scouting report: Panas is a team that can put up points, however, its lack of size will hurt them in the paint. The Panthers have a sharpshooting backcourt and will need to control the basketball in order to make a run.
NO. 15 SOMERS
Coach: Mark Tanzi
Outbracket opponent: No. 18 John Jay-CR
Last year: Lost to Pelham in first round
Best wins: Pawling, Mahopac, Carmel
Top players: John Decker (6-1, Jr., G); Austin Brown (6-8, Sr., C/F)
Scouting report: The Tuskers ended their season on a high note with a surprising victory over Carmel. Somers is a tall team with six players over 6-3. The Tuskers will have to use every bit of their depth to advance through the outbracket round and into a matchup with No. 2-seeded Peekskill.
NO. 16 SPRING VALLEY
Coach: Willie Worsely
Outbracket opponent: No. 17 Lakeland
Last year: Lost to Tappan Zee in first round
Best wins: Ramapo, Lehman, Nyack (twice)
Top players: Kai Mitchell, Steven Clarke, Earvin Williams
Scouting report: The Tigers are an interesting team that faced a difficult Rockland County schedule. Playing teams like Tappan Zee, Magnus and Pearl River twice a year may lead to increases in the loss column, but it also brings top-notch experience against excellent competition.
NO. 17 LAKELAND
Coach: Henry Weltman
Outbracket opponent: No. 16 Spring Valley
Last year: Lost to Kennedy in the first round
Best wins: Briarcliff, Somers, Beacon, Panas
Top players: Alex Perlman (6-3, Sr., F); Matt Tartaglia (5-10, Sr., G); Dan Eremita (6-0, Sr. G)
Scouting report: Lakeland will rely on the experience of its seniors in this outbracket matchup with Spring Valley. The two teams are seeded right next to one another but the chemistry of the Hornets could carry them to the minor upset.
NO. 18 JOHN JAY-CR
Coach: Tom Nelligan
Outbracket opponent: No. 15 Somers
Last year: Did not qualify for sectionals
Best wins: Pelham, Somers, Lakeland
Top players: Matt Ferentini (6-2, Sr., G); Tommy Weingarten (5-6, Sr., PG)
Scouting report: The Indians have already beaten three teams this year that ended up with a higher seeding than them, including their first round opponent in Somers. If John Jay-CR can summon up the magic again, it will earn a first-round matchup with No. 2-seeded Peekskill.
NO. 19 HARRISON
Coach: Gary Chiarella
Outbracket opponent: No. 14 Panas
Last year: Lost to Eastchester in first round
Best wins: Rye, Byram Hills
Top players: Coby Lefkowitz (6-4, So., F); Nick Esposito (5-10, So., PG)
Scouting report: Harrison is a young team that has some big wins under its belt this year. The Huskies upset Byram Hills just a week ago and hope to carry that momentum into the tournament. It will be a chance for star sophomore Coby Lefkowitz to carry his team on the big stage.
NO. 20 LOURDES
Coach: James Santoro
Outbracket opponent: No. 13 Beacon
Last year: Lost to Spring Valley in outbracket
Best wins: Beacon, Pawling, Arlington
Top players: Chris Metz (Sr., PG); Kelby Santoro (So., G); Kyle Santoro (So., G)
Scouting report: This outbracket game has the potential to be one of the best as Lourdes and Beacon will square off for the third time this season having split the other two meetings.
NO. 21 ARDSLEY
Coach: Andy Beames
Outbracket opponent: No. 12 Rye
Last year: Lost to Pearl River in first round
Best wins: Sleepy Hollow, Lincoln
Top players: Dan Stein (Sr., G)
Scouting report: Ardsley’s relative inexperience could hurt its chances against Rye. The Panthers will have to work flawlessly as a team if they hope to advance.
NO. 22 HENDRICK HUDSON
Coach: Kurt Thomas
Outbracket opponent: No. 11 Poughkeepsie
Last year: Did not qualify for sectionals
Best wins: Ardsley, Yonkers
Top players: Lawrence Coleman, Hunter Glasshoff, Kyle Monk
Scouting report: In the outbracket round, Hen Hud draws a Poughkeepsie team that many think has what it takes to make to the Final Four. Hen Hud has players who can scream but it will be tough to keep up with the Pioneers.
NO. 23 SLEEPY HOLLOW
Coach: Rob Rizzo
Outbracket opponent: No. 10 Brewster
Last year: Lost to Somers in first round
Best wins: Ardsley, Roosevelt (twice)
Top players: LJ Garrant (6-1, Sr., F); Harley Falasca (6-2, Sr. F)
Scouting report: First-year coach Rob Rizzo has his work cut out for him as the Horsemen enter the postseason with a first-round matchup at Brewster. The main weakness for Sleepy Hollow is its lack of size and a big team like Brewster will prove to be a tough opponent.
NO. 24 NYACK
Coach: Ethan Smith
Outbracket opponent: No. 9 Riverside
Last year: Did not qualify for sectionals
Best wins: Nanuet (twice), Bronxville
Top players: Brendan O’Sullivan (5-9, Sr., G); Deshawn Rodriguez (6-1, Jr., F/G); Danny Kramer (5-7, Sr., G)
Scouting report: Nyack won a tiebreaker with Yonkers to earn the No. 24-seed and avoided an opening round matchup with fellow Rockland team Pearl River in the process. Unfortunately for the Indians, even if they get past Riverside they will most likely be facing Pearl River in the very next round.
NO. 25 YONKERS
Coach: Nick Parashis
Outbracket opponent: No. 8 Pearl River
Last year: Lost to Port Chester in outbracket
Best wins: Irvington (twice), Edgemont
Top players: Tom Rabadi, Alex Gallinari
Scouting report: The joy of making the postseason will likely be short-lived for the Bulldogs. Yonkers catches a Pearl River team anxious to make a statement in the tournament and will have a difficult time keeping up with a skilled Pirates team.