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Class C power Tuckahoe traveled 1.7 miles up the road Friday night to take on the Class A Eastchester Eagles in a cross town contest that had more than just bragging rights on the line.
Friday was the 8th annual Augie Nardone game, with all proceeds going to college scholarship opportunities for students from the two schools. Nardone, a former Eastchester police officer, was prominently involved in athletics in both towns and the game honors his life and memory.
Meetings between Eastchester and Tuckahoe are always spirited and fans from both communities come out in droves. Friday was no different.
This year the rebounding and defense of Tuckahoe proved to be too much as the Tigers and their fans went home happy with a 71-56 victory.
“It’s a great win for a lot of reasons,” Tuckahoe coach Al Visconti said. “We have all the respect in the world for (Eastchester). They have 10 or 11 wins and are a Class A school and our neighborhood rival. It’s always a great battle.”
This game featured plenty of star power as Tuckahoe’s Sky Williams took on fellow senior Dave Solano (11 points) of Eastchester and his dynamic sophomore point guard Jack Daly (16 points).
The two teams struggled to find their rhythm offensively as the game was marred by nearly 40 fouls. Remarkably nobody on either side actually fouled out of the game.
The score was knotted at 12-12 after the first quarter and that was as close as Eastchester would come to having the lead. Tuckahoe ramped up its defense and began to work the press with precision. Eastchester scrambled to beat the pressure but seemed sluggish at times, perhaps as a result of a tough overtime loss to league-rival Pelham less than 24 hours before.
The Tigers outscored the Eagles 23 to 9 in the second quarter, largely due to a 15-0 run by Tuckahoe and the work of senior Justin Nolan (23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists).
“We had good chemistry on the court, everyone was hitting their shots,” Nolan said. “Defensively we played well and held Daly and Solano in check. We did what we were supposed to do.”
The Eagles tried to make a run in the second half but were unable to compete with the speed of the Tuckahoe offense. Sky Williams came alive in the fourth quarter and scored 13 of his game high 26 points in the final frame.
“The effort was there but I think we left some points on the floor tonight,” Eastchester coach Fred DiCarlo said. “When you play a team like Tuckahoe you have to play a perfect game.”
Eastchester (10-4) and Tuckahoe (12-0) are used to playing for honor and school pride but this game gave them a chance to play for something more concrete. This night they played for the chance to do something special for their classmates, something that transcends wins and losses and puts high school athletics into perspective.
“I told our guys that there’s a greater good,” Visconti said. “A couple of weeks ago we played in a game to raise money for diabetes, tonight was for scholarships. Our guys are all about giving back to the community, and they get it. They understand that there’s a bigger picture out there.”