So it’s been weeks and weeks. Throughout, Dan had maintained control. But his season-long lead in our picks’ competition finally disappeared with just three days remaining thanks to yours truly spinning a perfecto on Wednesday.
We return today deadlocked at 76-25 on the season. We have three picks — and just four more remaining after that.
Amazingly, the Section 1 basketball season is nearly over.
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Remember: We will host LIVE chats for every game for the remainder of Championship Week. That means three more LIVE chats today and two apiece on Saturday and Sunday. What’s that mean? Friends, have your questions and comments at the ready.
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The first gold ball will be handed out soon, so let’s get on to today’s picks.
We want to hear who you like today. Write in your picks at the bottom of the post.
2012-13 Records —
Josh: 76-25 (49-10 playoffs)
Dan: 76-25 (47-12 playoffs)
• Opening round
• Class A and B quarterfinals
• Class AA and C quarterfinals
• Class C and D semifinals
• Class A and B semifinals
Class D championship
No. 1 Martin Luther King vs. No. 2 Biondi, 3 p.m. —
Josh: MLK, 58-54. You saw Biondi’s lack of depth in the semifinals, but the Lions were in command and it never came to roost. I’m not so sure they’ll survive against a better opponent with just six or seven players. MLK has a more balanced team. I think the Tigers win this rubber match.
Dan: Biondi, 60-55. It’s very clear this team is on a mission. Section 1’s ruling to strip the Lions of the gold ball last season is still in the minds of all these players. As impressive as Martin Luther King looked against Clark, I just think the motivation is too high for Biondi.
Class AA semifinals
No. 5 Mahopac vs. No. 9 New Rochelle, 5 p.m. —
Josh: Mahopac, 55-52. This will be a grueling, physical game. Tensions will rise and whistles will be blown. In the end, that’s exactly where I think Mahopac wants it. The Indians are one of the few teams in the section that won’t be in awe of New Rochelle’s star power. As long as they can handle the press without committing too many mistakes, they can win. They are the better team. They have won 15 straight for a reason.
Dan: Mahopac, 74-72. Ohhhhhh boy is this going to be a good one. Two of the most exciting players in the section (Mahopac’s Brendan Hynes and New Rochelle’s Joe Clarke) going head to head. I just have to give the slight edge to the Indians. New Rochelle’s athleticism is through the roof, but that can only get you so far. I think Mahopac is disciplined enough to get back to the final. With both teams not lacking in the size department, my only hope is that the referees let the players play in what is sure to be a physical game.
No. 2 North Rockland vs. No. 3 Mount Vernon, 6:45 p.m. —
Josh: Mount Vernon, 70-61. North Rockland has a lot of guys who can play. The frontcourt is bigger and can control the glass. The guards can shoot. And guys like Omar Idolar, Malvin Rosario and Jamell Lockhart are great athletes. It might be the team with the best chance at stealing the gold ball, but it will all have to come together to upset — and unseat — Mount Vernon. I think that perfect storm will be tough to muster, especially under these brightest of spotlights.
Dan: Mount Vernon, 72-65. Too talented. Too experienced. Too deep. You really can’t say enough about this Knights squad. You don’t get seven straight gold balls on luck. Mount Vernon has been here before and knows what needs to be done. North Rockland might be playing its best basketball right now, but I’m still not sure that will be enough.