Playoff breakdown: Class AA boys hoops
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SECTION 1 CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS
No. 1 Mount Vernon (17-2) vs. No. 8 New Rochelle (13-6)
When/where: Mount Vernon, 4:30 p.m.
Head-to-head: Mount Vernon defeated New Rochelle 82-48 on Jan. 4 and 79-52 on Feb 10
Key matchup: Chris Elefante vs. Isaiah Cousins
Mount Vernon wins if: The Knights have overwhelming talent, a championship pedigree and the confidence of beating New Rochelle handily twice in the regular season. New Ro has had no answer for Cousins, Section 1’s Mr. Basketball, in either matchup. If Cousins keeps that going, there isn’t a team in the state that can slow down the Knights.
New Rochelle wins if: Everything pretty much has to go right. The Huguenots outhustled Mount Vernon in the first half of their most recent meeting, which was actually a close game through three quarters and that was without Joe Clarke. New Ro has play flawless basketball, cut down on turnovers and outwork the Knights on the glass to have any shot.
Devaney’s pick: Mount Vernon 78, New Rochelle 58. The Knights are just too good. New Rochelle coach Bill Murphy said recently he thinks this may be the best Mount Vernon he’s coached against. He may be right.
No. 2 Fox Lane (16-3) vs. No. 7 North Rockland (13-6)
When/where: Tuesday, 6 p.m. at Fox Lane
Key matchup: Will Trawick vs. Charles Nardone
Fox Lane wins if: The burden is not all put on Trawick. The senior is a gifted scorer but opposing defenses have grown increasingly focused on him of late and have been successful in slowing him a bit. North Rockland has nobody to body up one-on-one with Dylan Perretz, a 6-7 senior. If Perretz can control the paint the Foxes will be in good shape.
North Rockland wins if: The Red Raiders need bench production on both ends of the court. They’re going to struggle to match up with the size of Fox Lane and will have to give the Foxes many different looks. Their post players, especially Nardone and Malvin Rosario, are coming off strong efforts against Ramapo. Confidence and momentum are back on North Rockland’s side.
Devaney’s pick: Fox Lane 50, North Rockland 45. Normally a low-scoring game would favor North Rockland, which heads into this game confident considering Fox Lane struggled against a Suffern team it beat twice this season. But the Foxes played too well to get to this point. While it might be tight late, Fox Lane has the veteran leadership to find a way to win and get back to the County Center.
No. 3 Mahopac (14-5) vs. No. 6 Arlington (14-5)
When/where: Mahopac, 6 p.m.
Head-to-head: Mahopac defeated Arlington
Key matchup: Brendan Hynes vs. Dan Kane
Mahopac wins if: Hymes must stay out of foul trouble and the Indians need to keep feeding him the basketball. We saw what happened without Hynes on the floor in the opening round as Mahopac almost got upset by Ossining. Arlington doesn’t have a matchup for the junior standout. A big game out of him and Mahopac is going back to the County Center.
Arlington wins if: The Admirals keep it close to the end. All season long we’ve seen Arlington win close games, including its stunning opening-round win over Horace Greeley. Gio Rodriguez had the big free throws late in that win. But the Admirals need more production out of him this time around to beat Mahopac.
Devaney’s pick: Mahopac 65, Arlington 57. It’s amazing to think how close these teams were to not playing in this game. Mahopac squeeked out a one-point win over Ossining in the opening round and Arlington got three free throws with 4 seconds left to beat Greeley by a point. Both teams are grateful for this opportunity but Mahopac is the team that will seize it. The Indians, led by the “Mahopac Maniac” fans, have been too good at home this season.
No. 4 Clarkstown South (15-4) vs. No. 5 Carmel (14-5)
When/where: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at Clarkstown South
Key matchup: Clayton Roker vs. Bashkim Rugova
Clarkstown South wins if: Roker and Mike McCahey continue their synergy. The senior duo has worked so incredibly well together in the second half as “McCahey’s team” because “their team” in the last month. The offense runs so well when it goes through Roker, creating more opportunities for McCahey.
Carmel wins if: They can contain McCahey. He’s a prolific scorer and is closing in on the school all-time record. Carmel cannot let him alone beat them. The Rams should change looks and especially keep him off the offensive boards. If they hold him below 25 points they have a definite chance to win.
Devaney’s pick: Clarkstown South 61, Carmel 59. Expect a wild game. These teams can taste their schools first trip to the County Center in quite some time. McCahey, one of the best in school history, has really carried this team in the second half, highlighted by two 41-point performances. Expect another big one out of him and for South to book a trip over the bridge.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org