Beacon girls, Haldane boys take trophies in annual matchups

It looked like Friday (Jan. 27) might be the night that the Beacon boys’ basketball team reclaimed the Battle of the Tunnel trophy that has sat in a Haldane display case since 2021, after the Bulldogs won the first Battle in 2020.

But, despite some Beacon surges, the Blue Devils rallied at the end of each quarter and pulled out a 77-68 victory in front of a full house at the Haldane gym.

Beacon played well, and had its best run in the third quarter, when the Bulldogs took a 51-42 lead with 2:12 left.

With 2:56 remaining in the third quarter, the game was stopped to celebrate after Haldane senior Matteo Cervone scored his 1,000th career point on a free throw.

Matteo Cervone
Matteo Cervone celebrates with his parents, Moira and Tom, after scoring his 1,000th career point for the Blue Devils on Jan. 27. (Photo by S. Pearlman)

A wild sequence to end the third saw Haldane’s Will Bradley score on a put-back, Haldane get a quick steal and Cervone bury a long three-pointer at the buzzer, cutting Beacon’s seven-point lead to two (53-51) and putting a charge into the Blue Devils.

From there, Haldane rolled, outscoring the Bulldogs 26-15 in the fourth. Beacon rallied for a 61-61 tie with 3:40 left, but Haldane’s 16-7 run closed out the Blue Devils’ fourth win over Beacon in the teams’ last five games.

“What an electric atmosphere,” said Haldane Coach Joe Virgadamo. “It was everything you want in a high school basketball game.

“We weathered a couple of big runs from them,” he added. “That ending to the third quarter gave us a lot of momentum. We minimized their three-pointers in the fourth and made some big stops.“

Cervone finished with 24 points, followed by Ben Bozsik (17, including 15 in the fourth quarter), Matt Nachamkin (16); Bradley (13) and Ryan Eng-Wong (7).

Joe Battle led Beacon with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Darien Gillins scored 18. Adrian Beato had 11 points and Dylan Howard finished with 10 rebounds and six points.

“The atmosphere was awesome,” said Beacon Coach Patrick Schetter. “We knew it would be loud and intense — in the Haldane gym, the crowd is right on you. It was a phenomenal atmosphere, great for the community, and both teams had good representation from the community.

“They won the last two minutes of every quarter, and that hurt us,” he added. “We had too many turnovers — maybe we tried to do too much to bring momentum into the next quarter, but we didn’t execute the way we needed to. We expected their bigs to be strong but their guards — Eng-Wong, Bozsik and Bradley — performed better than we had anticipated.”

Cervone became the seventh Haldane boys’ player to reach 1,000 points a list that includes his coach (in 2001). He joined the varsity as a freshman and has been named All-Section and All-Conference twice.

1000 points

Haldane (11-4) is scheduled to travel to face Croton-Harmon today (Feb. 3) and host Putnam Valley at 6:15 p.m. on Feb. 7.

Beacon fell to Goshen, 71-64, on Tuesday (Jan. 31) despite 17 points and 12 rebounds from Howard and 16 points and five boards from Battle. The Bulldogs trailed by 17 at the end of three quarters before making a push.

“When playing a high-quality opponent like Goshen, there’s little room for error,” Schetter said. “I’m proud of the fight but a lack of execution in the third quarter, and too many self-inflicted mistakes, put us in a tough spot.”

Beacon (10-5) hosted Minisink Valley on Feb. 2 and will face Red Hook on Saturday at Dutchess Community College before visiting Port Jervis on Monday.

Video by Jeff McDaniel

In the girls’ Battle of the Tunnel game on Jan. 26 at Beacon, the Bulldogs controlled play throughout on the way to a 46-27 victory.

Daveya Rodriguez led Beacon with 17 points and Lila Burke and Reilly Landisi each had eight. The Bulldogs led 20-10 at halftime and 34-14 at the end of three.

“We rely on our defense, and that’s what helped carry us,” said Beacon Coach Christina Dahl. “The shots weren’t falling at the beginning, but we got into the swing of things and we had some great baskets by Daveya.”

The Beacon girls with the Battle of the Tunnel trophy. (Photo by S. Pearlman)

Rodriguez said she and her teammates enjoy the Tunnel game. “We lost last year [36-35], but that gave us the drive to win this time. We moved the ball well.”

Haldane had its moments but struggled to put points on the board. Mairead O’Hara led the team with 10 points, followed by Marisa Peters (6) and Carmela Cofini (5).

“The shots just didn’t fall for us,” said Haldane Coach Ed Crowe. “We play a very difficult schedule, but we’re battling.”

Girls game
Fifth and sixth graders from the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) teams from St. Joachim’s (Beacon) and Loretto (Cold Spring) played at halftime of the girls’ Battle of the Tunnel game on Jan. 27 at Beacon High School. “It’s awesome to see the future on display,” said Christina Dahl, coach of the Beacon varsity. (Photo by S. Pearlman)

On Tuesday, Beacon dropped a 38-26 decision to Goshen at home. Rayana Taylor scored eight and Rodriguez had seven. The Bulldogs (11-5) travel to Minisink Valley today (Feb. 3). Haldane (3-12) travels to Croton-Harmon today, Blind Brook on Saturday and Putnam Valley on Tuesday.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Pearlman, a native of Carmel, was the sports editor of the Putnam County Courier in Carmel for 14 years and for the North County News in Yorktown Heights for 13 years. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Sports

One reply on “Battles of the Tunnel”

  1. I’m always glad to read The Current’s roundup of high school sports, but Skip Pearlman outdid himself with the great photos of Beacon and Haldane’s hard-charging basketball stars. Congrats to those young athletes in their well-played games and to Skip for capturing their gravity-defying excitement.

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