Here is my game story on North Rockland’s win over Scardale, sending them back to the County Center for the first time since 2009.
THIELLS It hasn’t been an easy road, but for the North Rockland seniors, things are finally coming together.
After failing to win the league title the past two seasons and an early exit from last season’s sectionals, the pieces have fallen in place for the Red Raiders.
Four seniors scored in double figures as the No. 2 Red Raiders defeated No. 7 Scarsdale 65-48 in a Class AA sectional quarterfinal.
North Rockland (18-2) advanced to the semifinals to play No. 3 Mount Vernon (18-1) at the County Center March 1 at 6:45 p.m. It will be the Red Raiders’ first trip to the County Center in four years.
“When everyone is scoring double digit it’s like a perfect day; it’s a dream come true,” said Red Raider point guard Alex Ramirez. “You get double digits. Your big men get double digits. Your wing gets double digits. It’s like we’re sharing the ball because we are a family.”
The senior trio of Ramirez, Malvin Rosario and Jamell Lockhart, all varsity players since their sophomore year who were stung by last season’s quarterfinal loss, each scored 11 points.
Seniors Elijah Tillman (10 points), Charles Nardone (eight points) and Roger Harris (eight points) also contributed in their final home game.
After a back-and-forth opening quarter, the Red Raiders took control in the second, grabbing a 13-point lead at halftime.
Ball movement proved a key to breaking down the Raiders’ zone as North Rockland had assists on most of its points.
“If you play as a team and play together there is nothing that can stop you,” North Rockland coach Chris Roff said.
Scarsdale (13-7) gained some steam as it cut the lead to 11 heading into the fourth. After Tillman picked up his third foul, Roff turned to Harris, who has seen limited time after tearing his ACL last March. Harris came up big, scoring eight points and keeping Scarsdale’s Jack Hewitt, who led the Raiders with 12 points, in check.
“No one dreamed that he’d be back,” Roff said of Harris. “Hard work does pay off. People say it doesn’t in our society; it does. The kid just had the dream of his life. He’ll be 50 years old telling people how he scored eight points.”
While a late-season loss to Clarkstown North cost North Rockland a share of the league title and the top seed, there is still one goal left to accomplish.
“Now since that got taken away, we have to win the gold ball,” Rosario said. “That’s all we have left. That’s what we look forward to doing.”