We can’t count these games twice, but these are definitely the ones that count.
No, I’m not saying that because Dan still holds a three-game lead (one in the playoffs) after we both went 7-1 during the Class AA and C quarterfinals. Honestly, with so many great matchups populating Championship Week, I’m not going to count on making up ground. There should be a few upsets this week — maybe more than a few. If one of us went 15-0, it’d be a basketball miracle.
To lay the groundwork for what you can expect, Dan and I will publish our predictions the night before or the morning of each round of boys action.
First up, the C and D semifinals…
Class D semifinals
No. 2 Biondi vs. No. 3 Greenburgh Academy, 3 p.m. —
Josh: Biondi, 68-54. We talk about motivation, well, how about this? How about facing the team that advanced to the state playoffs last year when your gold ball was taken away? That’s what Biondi faces here. Expect a big effort from the Lions.
Dan: Biondi, 62-55. Imagine as a kid if all your birthday presents were taken away from you after you had them for only five minutes. That was essentially the situation last season in Class D, as Biondi was forced to forfeit the gold ball they won due to an illegal player. Biondi has a chance to start their tournament run by beating the team that ended up advancing instead of them. With the chance for revenge like that, I think the Lions bring it.
No. 1 Martin Luther King vs. No. 4 Clark Academy, 4:45 p.m. —
Josh: MLK, 71-52. MLK has more experience and enters the game a tested team. The Tigers played some tough Class B and C opponents. This matchup shouldn’t give them any pause.
Dan: MLK, 60-50. Martin Luther King handled Clark with relative ease during the season. I don’t see much changing now that we’re in the playoffs. The fact Clark is such a young team doesn’t help their cause either.
Class C semifinals
No. 2 Palisade Prep vs. No. 6 Haldane, 6:30 p.m. —
Josh: Palisade Prep, 55-50. This is a tough call. Haldane has been hardened by playing a much tough schedule. It also is an annual visitor to the County Center. But the Phoenix have superior athleticism and will pressure the Blue Devils. It might be time for the third-year program to take that next step.
Dan: Haldane, 62-57. Haldane uses their size advantage to dominate the paint. The fact the Blue Devils have played such a strong schedule for a Class C team also makes them an appealing pick. Much like Tuckahoe, playing tough games all year will pay off big time.
No. 1 Children’s Village vs. No. 5 Tuckahoe, 8:15 p.m. —
Josh: Tuckahoe, 77-70. Get your stopwatch out. These teams won’t take very long on each possession. Unless they shoot poorly, this game will be one of runs. It won’t be a grind. In the end, you have to like Tuckahoe’s experience. It’s a team consisting of winners and I think they win again. The Tigers should thrive in the paint.
Dan: Tuckahoe, 63-57. The Tigers are still the reigning state champions until someone knocks them out. Sure, Tuckahoe isn’t the same team with the graduation of Sky Williams from last year’s squad. Shyheim Nixon and Kayvon Reid were still a big part of that championship run though. Don’t let the record fool you. Tigers advance.