Senior Night emotions may have been a bit of a distraction for Haldane Tuesday (Feb. 7) at home against Putnam Valley, but by the end of the fourth quarter the Blue Devils’ talent rose to the top in a 65-61 league victory.
The Tigers jumped out to a fast start and led 24-14 at the end of a quarter. But Haldane settled down and cut the deficit to 35-31 at halftime and took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Haldane senior Matteo Cervone was unstoppable, whether he drove or pulled up for jump shots, punishing the Tigers with 30 points. And he came up big in the clutch: In the last three minutes of regulation, he had seven points, two steals, a block and a rebound. Matt Nachamkin added 11 points, and Will Bradley and Ben Bozsik each had 10.
“Putnam Valley is a good team, and they were shooting the ball well,” said Coach Joe Virgadamo. “Senior Night is emotional for the guys, and it was hitting home, so I wasn’t surprised to see a slow start.
“I also was not surprised to see our guys come back,” he added. “We’ve played some tough teams this year, and our schedule is paying off. We’re battle-tested. We took a lead going into the fourth, and held on down the stretch.”
The team honored its seniors — Bozsik, Bradley, Jesse Hagen, Cervone, Thomas Rockett, Ryan Eng-Wong, Julian Ambrose and manager Matt Junjulas — before the game. During the last four years, with Cervone playing every game, Haldane has gone 57-14.
“It’s a special group — they have chemistry, great leadership and an eagerness to learn and win,” Virgadamo said.
On Feb. 3 at Croton-Harmon, the Blue Devils picked up a 63-53 victory over the Tigers. Cervone lead the way with 21 points, followed by Nachamkin (18) and Bradley (10).
Haldane (13-4, 7-0 league) is scheduled to close out its regular season with games on Monday (Feb. 13) at Briarcliff and Friday at Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park. The Section I, Class C semifinals are set for Feb. 28 at the Westchester County Center with Hamilton, Leffell and Tuckahoe. The winners advance to the title game on March 4. Haldane will likely be the third seed and face No. 2 Tuckahoe (11-6), which defeated the Blue Devils by a point on Dec. 7.
Meanwhile, Beacon held on in the final minutes in a hostile environment on Wednesday (Feb. 8) to pick up a 50-47 victory at Burke Catholic in Goshen.
Joe Battle led the Bulldogs with 19 points, followed by Adrian Beato (9), Darien Gillins (6) and Dylan Howard (6).
“That was a gritty, tough win against a talented team,” said Coach Patrick Schetter. “It was a great defensive effort holding them to 47 points. We stayed with our game plan and executed at the end.”
Beacon also picked up a 62-43 win on Monday at Port Jervis behind 19 points from Danny Mercado and 10 each from Battle and Howard.
“We played one of our better first halves,” said Schetter. “We had a season-high five 3-pointers and Danny had his best game of the season by far.”
On Feb. 4, Beacon edged Red Hook, 56-53, in the Officials vs. Cancer Tournament at Dutchess Community College. Battle led the Bulldogs with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Howard added 13 points and Gillins had nine. Beacon built a 34-16 lead by halftime but had to hold on in a close finish.
“In the third quarter, it felt like everything we shot missed and everything they shot went in,” Schetter said.
Beacon (14-5, 7-2 league) is scheduled to close its regular season today (Feb. 10) at Monticello. The Section IX, Class A playoffs begin Feb. 25.
Beacon earned a 44-25 win on Tuesday (Feb. 7) over visiting Burke Catholic behind 13 points from Reilly Landisi and 12 from Daveya Rodriguez.
“Our defense in the first half was great,” holding Burke to seven points, said Coach Christina Dahl. “Daveya and Reilly sparked our offense to start, with Daveya scoring eight in the first and Reilly adding nine in the second. In the second half, we got contributions and valuable minutes from all of our girls.”
On Feb. 3, in a 43-33 road win over Minisink Valley, Rodriguez led Beacon with 14 points and Landisi added 11. Shadaya Fryar and Devyn Kelly each scored seven.
Beacon (13-5, 7-1) is scheduled to close its regular season at Cornwall on Tuesday (Feb. 14). The Section IX, Class A playoffs begin Feb. 25.
Haldane didn’t fare as well, losing games in the past week to Croton-Harmon (45-30), Blind Brook (50-34) and Putnam Valley (55-27). During the latter contest, Eva DeChent scored her 2,000th career point for the Tigers; she is headed to the University of Rhode Island in the fall.
The Blue Devils (3-15) will honor the seniors tonight (Feb. 10) when they host Clarkstown South to close the regular season. The Section I, Class C tournament semifinals, with Tuckahoe, Hamilton and Leffell, are scheduled to begin Feb. 28 at the Westchester County Center. Haldane will likely be the fourth seed and face No. 1 Tuckahoe (10-8).
Henry Reinke ran a 1:24.22 for Beacon in the 600 meters at the Purple Champions Invitational on Feb. 4 at The Armory in New York City, the best time this season in Section IX and the 14th-best time in the state. It was also a personal best.
The time exceeded the standard (1:24.74) for a third competitor from Section IX to qualify for the state championship next month, said Coach Jim Henry.
“The great thing about coaching Henry is how ‘track-knowledgeable’ he is,” the coach said. “We sketched out a specific race strategy, depending on the anticipated size of the field and his assumed starting position, and Henry executed the plan flawlessly, despite the race not being lined up quite the way I expected.
“He has now fully made the transition from state qualifier in cross-country to top-notch, mid-distance on the track.”
Jonah Mensch bounced back from what Henry called a “messy” hurdle race at the meet to post a 38.06 personal best in the 300 meters and, on the girls’ side, Janaya Fluellen ran her best 200 in 29.21. Bella Migliore finished the 600 meters in 1:48.61, creeping closer to the 1:45 school record.
In other events, Damani DeLoatch was fourth in the triple jump in 42-10.5.
Next up for Beacon is the Section IX, Class A championship on Saturday (Feb. 11) at West Point.
The Beacon boys, led by James Bouchard and Anthony Borromeo, fell to Highland, 3-2, on Tuesday (Feb. 7) to finish 6-8 and fall just short of qualifying for the 10-team Section IX tournament, which begins Monday.
The girls, led by Cadence Heeter and Vanessa Campanelli, defeated Highland, 5-0, but finished the season 4-9 and also did not qualify for postseason play.
Beacon finished seventh of 12 teams in Division 1 of the regional championships held Feb. 2 and 3 at Newburgh Free Academy.
The top team finishers for the Bulldogs included the 200-yard medley relay of Imroz Ali, Bryce Manning, Ronnie Anzovino and Carlos Lazo, which placed seventh in 1:56.19; and the 200 freestyle relay with the same swimmers, which finished seventh in 1:43.08.
In individual events, Lazo clinched 10th in the 50-yard freestyle in 25 seconds and 11th in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.56, qualifying in both for the Section IX championships that start Thursday (Feb. 16); and Manning was eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:11.20, also qualifying.