Haldane Boys, in Double Overtime, Advance to Finals


Haldane players celebrate after their double-overtime win. (Photo by S. Pearlman)

Three other local hoops teams fall short in tournament 

In a game in which baskets were hard to find early and late, the Haldane boys’ basketball team saved its best for overtime and survived a Section I, Class C semifinal matchup on Wednesday (March 1) over Alexander Hamilton, 51-46.

It was Coach Joe Virgadamo’s 200th career victory at Haldane, in 17 seasons. 

A Hamilton three-pointer with six seconds remaining in the first overtime at the Westchester County Center in White Plains sent the game into another frame tied at 40-40.

But the Blue Devils found their rhythm in the second OT, putting six points on the board before Hamilton scored. Matteo Cervone delivered a spinning layup with 2:10 remaining, and Ben Bozsik followed with a basket that gave Haldane a 46-40 lead with 1:38 left. Bozsik then hit another shot and sealed the win with free throws. He finished with 19 points.

Both teams showed nerves early, and the score was only 17-14 in favor of Haldane at halftime. The Blue Devils led 25-23 going into the fourth quarter.

Video highlights by Jeffrey McDaniel

“That was a classic game,“ said Cervone, who scored 20 points. “It’s great to be in the final — we’ve known since last March [when Haldane lost to Hamilton in the title game] that’s what we wanted.”

Virgadamo said his team turned up the defense late. “It was a weird game, but you have to win these kind of games,” he said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t capitalize in the first overtime. Bozsik did everything, Evan Giachinta came up big, Will Bradley was big, and Matteo found a way to get his points.”

The No. 2 seeded Blue Devils (17-4) will play No. 1 Tuckahoe (15-6) in the sectional title game at the county center on Saturday (March 4) at 12:15 p.m. The game will be broadcast at events.locallive.tv/conference/ny-section1.


Finding points has been the challenge all season for the Haldane girls’ basketball team, and while the No. 4-seed Blue Devils stayed close early in the Section I, Class C semifinal on Wednesday at the county center, No. 1 Tuckahoe eventually pulled away for a 49-25 victory.

Tuckahoe led 10-0 before Haldane got on the board, but the Blue Devils came back, and the first quarter ended with the Tigers up, 13-9. But Haldane didn’t score in the second quarter, allowing Tuckahoe to build a 24-9 cushion by the half. It was 40-20 at the end of three quarters.

Haldane’s Marisa Peters drives against Tuckahoe on Wednesday. Photos by S. Pearlman

Haldane’s Marisa Peters drives against Tuckahoe on Wednesday. (Photos by S. Pearlman)

Mairead O’Hara led Haldane, which finished 3-18, with eight points, followed by Camila McDaniel (5) and Moretta Pezzullo (3) and Kayla Ruggerio (3). 

“It’s been a tough go this season,” Coach Ed Crowe said. “We played a tough schedule, but we played hard, and that’s all we can ask for.”


After losing to Goshen twice in the regular season — once by 20 points — the Beacon boys’ basketball team knew it had to do better to advance to the Section IX, Class A title game. 

But the top-seeded Gladiators (21-1) were too much for No. 4 Beacon for a third time on Wednesday, defeating the visiting Bulldogs, 66-60. 

Joe Battle led Beacon, which finished 15-7, with 21 points, while Danny Mercado added 16 and Darien Gillins had eight.

The Bulldogs trailed by 10 points after the first quarter but cut the deficit to five points at halftime and at the end the third quarter. “They had a little too much firepower for us from three,” said Coach Patrick Schetter. “We had it close, but we missed some key shots late, and they didn’t.”

The Bulldogs reached the semifinal thanks to a 56-44 win over No. 5 Wallkill, on Monday (Feb. 27) behind Battle’s 18 points. Mercado added 10 points and Adrian Beato and Gillins each had nine. Beacon led comfortably for most of the game, although the Panthers came within six points in the third quarter.


After earning a bye in the quarterfinal round, the No. 1 seed Beacon girls’ basketball team was upset by No. 5 Franklin Roosevelt, 49-30, in a Section IX, Class A semifinal on Wednesday at Beacon High School.

Reilly Landisi led Beacon with 10 points and Daveya Rodriguez added nine, but the Bulldogs never got in an offensive rhythm.

“We lost to a very talented FDR team,” said Coach Christina Dahl. “With their size and length, they made it tough for us to get going offensively.”

But, she added, “one game doesn’t define our season. Although it did not end the way we wanted it to, we were still 15-5 overall and league champs. We have a great group of girls and are proud to be their coaches. We’re lucky to return everyone next season.”

Henry Reinke and Damani Deloatch of Beacon each qualified for the indoor state championships, which will be held on Saturday (March 4) on Staten Island. 

Reinke ran a 1:21.91 in the 600 meters to finish first in Section IX and bump his state ranking from No. 22 to No. 4. The time is the second-fastest 600 in Beacon High School history, behind Alex Shapiro’s 2010 mark of 1:21.6.

“This makes Henry a serious contender to medal at states,” Coach Jim Henry said.

Deloatch qualified in the triple jump with a personal best of 44-6¼, ranking him the 10th best triple-jumper at states. It was his second consecutive time qualifying for the triple jump at indoor states.

“February has always been a great month of improvement in Beacon track, and this year was no different,” Henry said. “After the team championships conclude, there are several weeks to focus on the top individuals and tailor practices specifically to their needs. Henry and Damani have both put that work in, and it’s exciting to see it pay off.”

Both athletes plan to compete at the nationals in Boston the following weekend.

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