Here is my story on Putnam Valley’s 56-41 loss to Lourdes in the Class B semfinal.
WHITE PLAINS Throughout this season the Putnam Valley boys basketball team has played like a team that had been there before.
The Tigers, who won just seven games last season, earned their first playoff win and trip to the County Center despite having only one senior.
On Wednesday the inexperience of the second-seeded Tigers finally showed as they fell to No. 3 Lourdes 56-41 in the Class B semifinal at the County Center.
A 25-0 Warriors’ run spanning three quarters exposed the Tigers as a team with still a lot to learn.
“It’s tough to come down here, to the County Center, without being an experienced team and (to) play well,” said Putnam Valley coach Ed Wallach.
Lourdes (16-5) will face No. 4 Dobbs Ferry (15-6) in the Class B final Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Tigers (18-3) showed no early signs of their youth, jumping out to a 12-6 lead in the final two minutes of the first quarter. That would be the last advantage Putnam Valley would hold in the game though, as the Tigers were held scoreless from that point until jsut over a minute remained in the third quarter.
“We didn’t get good shots off,” said Putnam Valley’s Ryan Basso, who finished with 12 points. “They played great defense. The ball wouldn’t go in the hoop and we just couldn’t score.”
Lourdes’ Mike Donnelly (24 points, 12 rebounds) would prove to be a major factor in helping the Warriors burst out to a 29-12 lead at halftime. The senior forward had 18 points and nine rebounds at the midway point.
Despite playing a schedule full of Class AA and A teams, Wallach said the Tigers had not played a team of Lourdes’ caliber other than Peekskill.
“It’s a combination of nerves and experience,” Wallach said. “They’ve never been in a game like this their whole life.”
While a 15-point loss isn’t the way Putnam Valley hoped to end its season, there is still a lot to take away from the most successful season in school history. With only one starter graduating, Andre Soto, the experience the Tigers gained from their first postseason run should pay dividends.
“We’re definitely going to take this loss and just run with it,” said junior Jelani Bell-Isaac, who finished with 13 points and five rebounds. “We’re going to play basketball year-round, get ready for next year and build up our skills and strength.”
Wallach said the continued growth of juniors Bell-Isaac and Zach Coleman along with sophomores Basso and Zach Nolan will be the key for next season’s team.
“We’re a small school and a small team; we’re only going to get better,” Basso said. “We’re going to play in the offseason and get better and try to get back next year.”
Photos courtesy of Seth Harrison/The Journal News. For a complete gallery, click here.