Breaking down the NYS Final Four: Girls
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At Hudson Valley Community College, Troy
Friday, March 16
Class B semifinal: Irvington vs. Saranac Central, 11:45 a.m.
Class A semifinal: Pearl River vs. Averill Park, 3:15 p.m.
Class AA semifinal: Ossining vs. Cicero-N. Syracuse, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
Class B championship, 4 p.m.
Class A championship, 7 p.m.
Class AA championship, 8:45 p.m.
Ossining (23-0) vs. Section 3’s Cicero-North Syracuse (19-3)
Coaches: Dan Ricci (Ossining). Eric Smith (Cicero).
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Road to the state semis: Ossining defeated Our Lady of Lourdes 79-48 in the Section 1 final. The Pride received a bye into the regional final where they beat Section 4’s Binghamton 90-76. Cicero-North Syracuse beat Colonie in the regional final, 69-33.
Ossining Top Players: Saniya Chong (5-9, Jr., PG); Destini Walker (5-10, Fr., F/G); Jalay Knowles (6-0, Fr., C); Danielle Gervacio (5-4, Jr., G).
Cicero Top Players: Breanna Stewart (6-4, Sr., F); Brittany Paul (5-9, Sr., G/F); Sarah Bowles (5-9, Jr., G/F); Abbey Timpano (5-5, Jr., G).
Key matchup: Chong vs. Stewart. It could be 20 years before we see two players of this caliber on the same court in the NYS tournament. Enjoy it.
Scouting report: Ossining has been blowing teams out throughout the postseason, but now they’re going to find themselves in a dogfight in the state semifinals against defending state champion Cicero-North Syracuse. The Pride face a very difficult task in trying to stop 6-foot-4 Breanna Stewart, who is headed for UConn and was recently named the Naismith National High School Player of the Year. As we all know, Ossining has its own superstar in Chong and she’ll present plenty of problems for Cicero. It won’t be easy for Ossining to drive the lane with Stewart in the middle, so they’ll have to be on from the perimeter. It’ll have to be a team effort to slow down Stewart, but Jalay Knowles will hold her own.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will face either Long Island champion Riverhead or Section 5’s Penfield in Saturday’s final.
Pearl River (22-2) vs. Averill Park (17-5)
Coach: Lorraine Moylan (Pearl River). Sean Organ (Averill Park)
When: Friday, 3:15 p.m.
Road to the state semis: Pearl River defeated Tappan Zee, 39-33, in the Section 1 final. The Pirates beat Section 4’s Owego, 61-33, in the regional semifinals and topped Section 9’s Red Hook, 59-41, in the regional final. Averill Park defeated Scotia 41-33 in the regional semifinals and knocked off Jamesville-DeWitt 46-40 in the regional final.
Pearl River Top Players: Christa Scognamiglio (5-9, Sr., F/G); Allison Cook (5-6, Sr., G); Kerry Sullivan (5-7, Sr., F); Christy Carty (5-9, Sr., F)
Averill Park Top Players: Brooke O’Shea (5-9, Sr., F); Bridget Carney (5-11, Sr., F); Julia Mai (5-2, Sr., G); Alison Nunziato (5-8, Jr., G); Elaina Ryan (5-7, Jr., F).
Key matchup: Christa Scognamiglio vs. Brooke O’Shea. Both are similar players and are their teams leading scorers. O’Shea averages 11.3 points and stepped her game up in the postseason. Scognamiglio is a terrific on-the-ball defender and will look to limit O’Shea’s touches.
Scouting report: The Pirates face a team in Averill Park that is a regular in the state final four. Averill Park beat Lakeland in the state final two years ago and lost to Peekskill in last year’s final. Both teams are senior-laden and experienced, while Averill Park has a ton of experience playing at HVCC. Christa Scognamiglio got off to a slow start in the regional final win over Red Hook, which she can’t afford to do again. If the Pirates can force turnovers early on with their press and knock down their open looks, I think they have a decent chance of advancing.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will meet either Section 5’s Rochester East or Section 6’s John Glenn in Saturday’s title game.
Irvington (23-1) vs. Section 7’s Saranac Central (22-0)
Coach: Gina Maher (Irvington). Tim Newell (Saranac).
When: Friday, 11:45 a.m.
Road to the state semis: Irvington defeated Blind Brook 68-33 in the Section 1 final. The Bulldogs beat Section 9’s Highland, 79-36, in the regional semifinals and topped Section 11’s Southampton, 74-41, in the regional final. Saranac defeated previously No. 1-ranked Watervliet 45-33 in regional final.
Irvington Top players: Alexis Martins (6-0, Jr., C/F); Brittni Lai (5-6, Jr., PG); Marley Giddins (5-10, Sr., F); Ryan McMahon (5-7, Jr., G); Alyssa DiCampli (5-10, Jr., F).
Saranac Top Players: Stephanie Linder (Sr., F); Morgan Maye; Alisha Ducatte; Kayla Napper (Fr., F).
Key matchup: Martins vs. Linder. The 5-11 Linder had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Section 7 title game with Salmon River and then was part of an incredible team rebounding effort against Watervliet where they owned the glass, 52-30. Martins cannot let Saranac get too cozy inside, especially Linder, who had 16 rebounds versus Watervliet (seven offensive).
Scouting report: The two-time defending state champions have yet to be tested during their playoff run. Will this be the game? Section 7’s Saranac knocked off Section 2’s Watervliet, the top ranked team in the state, in the regional finals. This may be their toughest test yet, but the trio of Alexis Martins, Brittni Lai and Marley Giddins should prove too much for Saranac. Irvington has outscored its two opponents in the state tournament by an average of 38 points. Saranac is a solid defensive team and is strong inside led by Stephanie Linder. But they probably haven’t gone up against a player the caliber of Martins, who is one of the best rebounders in the state.
Other half of the bracket: The winner will meet either Section 5 Aquinas or Section 3 South Jefferson in Saturday’s title game
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at email@example.com