Here is my story on Children’s Village’s win over Tuckahoe in tonight’s Class C semifinals:
WHITE PLAINS With different schedules and histories, particularly here at the County Center, Children’s Village and Tuckahoe entered Monday night as perfect contrasts. Because of it, they were nearly impossible to compare.
Luckily, last year’s two Class C finalists had a chance to determine what their seasons meant on the court. Top-seeded Children’s Village left little doubt about its legitimacy, beating No. 5 Tuckahoe 64-51 in the Class C semifinals.
The Hawks (19-1) built a 19-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. Tuckahoe (5-15) responded behind senior Shyheim Nixon, the only returning starter on last year’s Class C state champion. He scored eight points in the second quarter and teammate Maurice Hollis gave the Tigers a brief lead late in the period.
Children’s Village regained the lead, 27-24, at the half and followed the lead of Owens. The senior forward thrived on the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds despite going against Tuckahoe’s bigger front line of 6-foot-5 Kayvon Reid and 6-2 Nick Reisman.
After a basket by Reid cut it to 46-44 early in the fourth quarter, Shaheed, the enigmatic senior, scored five quick points to regain the cushion. Owens, Shaheed and Jones then helped close it, with Jones sinking a 3 from the top of the key with 1:40 to play for a 59-47 lead.
“They had 18 wins for a reason, but I don’t think we embarrassed ourselves,” Tuckahoe coach Al Visconti said. “It was a close game until midway through the fourth quarter. We gave it a good shot.”
The Hawks proved they remain strong offensively despite the loss of starter Kareem Padgett, who was recently discharged from the school.
“We have a lot of players who can score, so we just get the ball to whoever is hot,” Jones said. “We have a lot of different things in our arsenal.”
Nixon finished with 16 points to pace the Tigers. Reid added 11 points and 15 rebounds.
With upstarts Children’s Village and Palisade Prep both proving their worth against mainstays Tuckahoe and Haldane, they will now meet at 2 on Saturday at the County Center for the gold ball. The game is a rubber match of sorts. They split the league title and split their two regular season meetings. Palisade Prep won at home, 62-52, on Jan. 9, but Children’s Village won the rematch in its gym, 54-48, on Feb. 4.
While this is Palisade Prep’s third season as a program, it’s only the seventh for the Hawks, who advanced to the County Center the last two but have yet to win a championship.
“It should be a good game. I’m hoping we can come out on top with our experience of being here last year in the championship game,” Children’s Village coach Michael Graves said. “We’re looking to get over that hump, looking to take the next step with our program.”
Photos courtesy of Matthew Brown/The Journal News. For the entire gallery click here.