Class A regional semifinal
When: Tuesday, 7:45 p.m.
Where: Johnson City High School, Section 4
Key players: Tappan Zee – Billy O’Shea (6-1), Sr., F; Pat Peterson (6-1), Sr., G/F; Joe Letizia (5-8), Jr., PG; Brian McLaughlin (6-0), Sr., G. Seton Catholic Central – Tommy Torto (6-2), Sr., G; Cole Smothers (6-7), Sr., F; John Armstrong (6-1), Sr., G; Jarrell Regan (6-3), Sr., F.
Notes: Tappan Zee starting center Brendan Donohue (ankle, back spasms) sat out the Section 1 final after playing sparingly in the semifinals and is questionable. … SCC starting point guard John Martin (ankle) did not play in the Section 4 final and is not expected to play again. … SCC played Mount Vernon in the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic in December and led at one point in the fourth quarter before eventually losing, 64-48. Jarrel Marshall did not play in the game for Mount Vernon. … SCC won the last three Section 4 Class B championships before it was bumped to Class A.
Outlook: Seton Catholic Central enters having won 11 of its last 12, including a 41-38 win over last year’s section champ Maine-Endwell, a team Byram Hills beat in the 2011 regionals. Two players average in double figures – the sturdy Torto, who’s at 16.6 PPG, and the rangy Smothers, who’s at 12.9 PPG. The remainder of the consists primarily of role players, although the absence of the point guard Martin is significant. He’s among the best of that supporting cast. Tappan Zee could be without a key piece, too. Donohue tried to prepare to play on Sunday but couldn’t go. The Dutchmen had less than 48 hours to recover after beating Poughkeepsie Sunday. They’ll have to execute to beat SCC, which is primarily a man-to-man team.
Next up: The winner will play Section 9 champion Marlboro Friday night at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh at 7:45 p.m. in the regional finals. Marlboro received a bye.
Class B regional semifinal
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, Section 9
Key players: Albertus Magnus – Tyler Sayre (6-5), Sr., F; Pat McGuinness (5-11), Sr., PG; Jack Sullivan (5-11), Jr., G; Arnell Dandridge (6-0), Sr., G. Burke Catholic – Zach Rufer (6-2), Sr., G; Billy Garneau (6-6), Sr., F; Stan Buczek (6-6), Jr., F.
Notes: Burke Catholic beat Albertus 75-65 in last year’s regional semifinals at the County Center behind 24 points from Rufer. Buczek had a big game off the bench, scoring 17. Garneau added 10. Sayre and McGuinness each scored 21 points for the Falcons, with Dandridge adding 10. … Burke is the defending Class B state champ. It lost in the state Federation semifinals to eventual champ Collegiate. … Rufer, a Lafayette-bound guard, is the lone returning starter, although Garneau and Buczek were the first two players off the bench last season.
Outlook: Last year’s game started about as well as humanly possible for Albertus, which jumped out to a 22-13 lead thanks to 9-of-14 shooting in the first quarter. But Burke rallied just before halftime to cut its deficit to one point, then assumed control for good with a 17-5 third quarter. The Falcons cut their deficit to six points late, but lost momentum when a charging violation wiped out a basket by McGuinness. A margin of more than 10 points may have separated these teams last year, but Albertus’ improvement and Burke’s heavy losses to graduation have narrowed that gap. But by how much? Burke’s only losses this season were against Don Bosco Prep, Albany Academy and Christ the King (by just seven points). Burke earned several notable wins, including Section 9 Class AA champ Middletown and a non-league game against Stepinac. A key could be if Dandridge can make Rufer work for his points. The senior star has upped his scoring average by more than six point in each of the last two postseasons. Dandridge, Albertus’ defensive stopper, will likely be asked to slow Rufer down.
Next up: The winner will play the Long Island champion, either Section 8’s Locust Valley or Section 11’s Center Moriches Saturday at SUNY New Paltz at 1 p.m. The Long Island championship game is Tuesday night.
Class C regional semifinal
When: Tuesday, 4:45 p.m.
Where: Westchester County Center
Key players: Tuckahoe – Sky Williams (6-0), Sr., G; Justin Nolan (6-2), Sr., F; Shyheim Nixon (5-9), Sr., G; Tyler Friere (5-10), Sr., G; Mark Raymond (6-5), Sr., C. Pine Plains – Rob Lamont (6-5), Sr., F; Tyler Lydon (6-8), So., G/F; Zach Lydon (6-9), Jr., C; Adam Miller (6-6), So., F; Justin Cooper (6-3), Jr., PG.
Notes: The teams met in last season’s regional semifinal. Tuckahoe won in a blowout, 91-64, behind 32 points from Williams. … Tuckahoe is one of only two remaining unbeatens in Section 1 along with Tappan Zee. Pine Plains’ only two losses were against Section 9 Class A runner-up Red Hook and champ Marlboro. … Lamont is a 1,000-point scorer. Miller is a transfer from Red Hook.
Outlook: If you remember my story from this game last year, Tuckahoe was so hot from the field Pine Plains coach Brendan LoBrutto turned to the scorer’s table and asked if the Tigers ever missed. That night, it seemed like they didn’t. In truth, it’s easy to gawk at Pine Plains’ size and wonder how Tuckahoe will handle it, but it’s actually the opposite. Although the Section 9 champ earned a few extra possessions last year, it couldn’t keep up with Tuckahoe’s speed and athleticism. The team has apparently improved since then, which makes sense because Lamont and the Lydons were its top players a year ago. Tuckahoe is better, too, of course, as evidenced by its results. Williams should prove to be a nightmarish matchup in the open court for Pine Plains.
Next up: The winner will play the Long Island champion, either Section 8’s East Rockaway or Section 11’s Pierson Saturday at SUNY New Paltz at 2:45 p.m. The Long Island championship game is Tuesday night.
Class D regional semifinal
When: Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Where: Westchester County Center
Key players: Greenburgh Academy – Tony Testagrose, Sr., F; Taylor Cummings, So., G; Yubiny Rodriguez, Jr., C. Livingston Manor – Mike Mills, Sr., SG; Ken Fisk, Sr., C; Troy Correa, Sr., PG.
Notes: Greenburgh Academy was declared Section 1 Class D champions on Sunday after the winner of Friday’s championship, Biondi, was ruled to have used an ineligible player. Biondi appealed the ruling but it was upheld after a Monday hearing. … Both Greenburgh and Livingston Manor will make their first state tournament appearances. … LM unseated five-time defending champ Coleman in the Section 9 championship game. … Head coach Charlie Hicks has already announced he will step down after the season. … Mills was a top pitcher on last year’s state championship baseball team. He leads the team with 14.1 PPG. Fisk averages 13.6 PPG and 9.5 RPG. Correa rounds out a well-rounded group of leading scorers with 12.1 PPG to go with 6.3 APG.
Outlook: The game is so hard to read. What is the mindset of Greenburgh, a first time state tournament participant, after being declared section champs away from the court? How much has the team even prepared for the game? Livingston Manor won’t exactly be comfortable either making its first state playoff appearance. Both teams may work out the kinks in a fast-paced game. LM likes to run and play physical and Greenburgh will most likely comply. All of the variables make this perhaps the most unpredictable game of the regional semis.
Next up: The winner will play on Saturday against Long Island champion Bridgehampton (Section 11) at SUNY New Paltz at 4:30 p.m. (Section 8 does not have any Class D teams.)
– Tappan Zee’s Pat Peterson
– Albertus Magnus’ Arnell Dandridge (left) and Jack Sullivan (right) talking to coach Pat McFadden
– Tuckahoe’s Tyler Friere
– Greenburgh Academy’s Josh Pacheco