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BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR ON THE LINE

 

Five Teams, Five State Quarterfinal Games, One Goal – Get To Binghamton And Troy

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

By now, everybody – like, the entire country – has seen ‘The Heave’ that Ardsley High School’s Julian McGarvey put up last weekend from 70 feet away to beat cxxxxxxx at the buzzer for the Section 1, Class A championship.

(And if you haven’t seen it, here it is.)

Even the players on New Paltz were impressed.

“They have great confidence and great momentum after that shot,” New Paltz’s Casey Burke said.

But it’s over.

For both teams.

Even Ardsley had to put it behind them to open the state tournament on Tuesday with a 59-41 road win over Maine-Endwell to get to this point: a regional final (state quarterfinal) showdown with the Huguenots on Friday night at SUNY New Paltz at 7 p.m.

That’s just one of five games involving HVSR coverage area teams with berths to the New York State Final Four on the line. The boys tournament is in Binghamton, and the girls tourney is in Troy.

Also on Friday night, right before the New Paltz-Ardsley game, the Saugerties girls take on Seton Catholic from Binghamton at SUNY New Paltz at 5 p.m.

And at 4:30 p.m. on Friday at Pace University, it’s Pine Bush vs. Mount Vernon in a hugely anticipated matchup Class AA boys matchup.

On Saturday, two games, both back to back at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. The Eldred girls play Delhi at 2 p.m. in a Class D contest and the Millbrook girls take on East Rockaway at 4 p.m. in Class C.

While Ardsley certainly has been riding a wave of enthusiasm ever since McGarvey’s shot, New Paltz has had its own tiny miracle finish to fuel its fire. The Huguenots beat Saugerties in triple overtime on Monday night – with each extra period being forced by last-season shots by New Paltz’s Michael Holohan – by the score of 78-77 to win the Section 9, Class A crown. New Paltz then got the bye in the regional semifinal round to get to this point.

“Well we know they are a talented team who’s really hot at the moment. But we are just really focused on playing our game and continually improving on what we can control,” the Huguenots’ Christian Burday said. “I think the key to this game will be us believing in each other and putting together another great team win.”

Burke, who called it a great accomplishment just to get this far, said the team is looking forward to doing battle with the Panthers.

“The keys to the game will be to push the ball every opportunity we get and to work the ball inside because we have a size advantage,” Burke said, adding that he’s “Looking forward to the moment” of playing practically around the corner from the high school and having a decided crowd advantage.

Added New Paltz standout Axel Rodriguez: “They’re going to be a tough team to beat. I know they have some weapons that can score. The key for us to win is intensity. And staying hungry.”

The only other boys team still alive from the area is Pine Bush. The Bushmen are 23-1 and playing some of their best basketball of the year after beating both John S. Burke Catholic for the Section 9, Class AA title – avenging its only loss of the year – and then rolling past Ithaca, 72-57, in Tuesday’s state tournament opener.

Pine Bush will also be looking for a bit of revenge in this game – it was Mount Vernon who beat the Bushmen and handed them their only loss last year in the state tournament en route to winning the Class AA state championship.

The Eldred girls will have something of a lengthy layoff when they finally get back on the court on Saturday at The Mount to meet Delhi in a Class D quarterfinal.

The Yellowjackets haven’t played since Feb. 28, when they beat Webutuck for the Section 9 championship. Then again, all the other remaining Elite Eight teams are in the same boat. With so few Class D schools in the state, everybody who won a section title advanced straight to this state quarterfinal round.

In Class A, Saugerties will lace them up for the first time since winning the sectional crown on Monday when the Sawyers meet Binghamton-Seton Catholic.

“I don’t know much about them except they have a very good point guard, Hanna, who played against Grace and I in the Empire State Takeover invitational summer camp,” Saugerties’ Anna VanRoy said of her sister.

She was talking about Seton Catholic’s Hanna Strawn, one of the top players in the state. Strawn, who signed her National Letter of Intent to play at Division I Monmouth, has already won a state championship, federation championship, and has scored over 1,000 points in her career.

“We are super excited to be playing a good team in our first regional final game. I’m excited to be in a big game with lots of fans,” Anna VanRoy said. “My teammates and I have really looked forward to having lots of people come out to support us.”

Added Grace VanRoy: “It’s going to be a tough game. They play a lot of man to man defense and have a few string shooters on the outside. The key to the game for us will be playing as a team and running our plays and getting people open shots. We are also going to have to play aggressive and strong. It’s going to be a tough game but I think we have a chance at them.”

Finally, the Millbrook girls – literally, finally, since they play the last game over the course of Friday and Saturday with a 4 p.m. start on Saturday – will face Long Island champion East Rockaway.

“We don’t really know much about East Rockaway but we know we have to play our game, and if we play the best of our ability we have a chance of winning,” the Blazers’ Sam McKenna said. “The key to the game is everyone playing as hard as they can and playing together.”

So far, Millbrook has done just that in winning the Class C sectional title over Seward and then scoring 20 of the game’s last 28 points in a 46-36 state regional semifinal win over Haldane on Tuesday.

“We know it won’t be an easy game but we have been looking at some tape on them on these past two snow days,” Kaitlyn Daly said. “I think the key to this game will be playing as a team like we have been for the past two games and definitely some transition ball.”

Added Blazer standout Erin Fox, who scored her 1,000th career point in the win over Haldane: “Well first of all, getting this far into the state playoffs is an honor and we are all very grateful for the supportive Millbrook community, and hope to continue our run just like the fall sports teams. As for East Rockaway, we know very little about them so far, but seeing as they got as far as they have we expect they will be a great, battle-tested team. Our key to the game will be teamwork and ball movement, like it has been for the last few games.”

 

 

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