Here is my story on Byram Hills loss to Poughkeepsie in the Class A final.
WHITE PLAINS Any team with a short bench knows that foul trouble is something that can end a game quickly.
For the most part, the Byram Hills’ boys basketball team has been able to tip-toe that fine line. Despite running a six-man rotation, the Bobcats suffered only one loss this season.
In Sunday’s Class A sectional final, third-seeded Poughkeepsie’s quickness and athleticism put the top-seeded Bobcats in foul trouble, exposing their lack of depth. That factor was instrumental in the Pioneers being able to come away with a 56-47 win.
“I think everyone kind of realized that foul trouble could plague us,” said Byram Hills coach Ted Repa. “If we got an injury or foul trouble, we’re a much different team. If you take our best players off the court, it’s tough to beat a good team.”
Poughkeepsie, which won its first gold ball since 1999, will play Section 9’s Burke Catholic in the regional semifinal Wednesday at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh at 8 p.m. The Pioneers entered the game having lost five straight sectional finals.
Foul trouble by the Bobcats’ Andrew Groll (three points, nine rebounds) and Ryan Golden (14 points, eight rebounds) helped the Pioneers build leads that were too much for Byram to overcome.
“Byram Hills has a tendency to come from behind,” said Bobcat senior Jeff Lynch, who finished with 17 points. “It definitely bit us in the butt today. I guess (against) a team as good as Poughkeepsie, it’s not going to happen. You need to stay level with them or (lead) the entire game.”
The Bobcats wasted no time early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead. After Groll picked up his second foul with 5:08 left in the first, the Pioneers went on a 10-0 run to close out the quarter with a 12-9 lead.
After another Poughkeepsie run, the Bobcats pulled within one of Poughkeepsie at halftime.
Groll and Golden picked up their fourth and third fouls, respectively, midway through the third, though. The Bobcats, who have outscored their opponents 49-23 in the third over the past two games, fell behind by 11 as the Pioneers outscored them 16-6 in the third.
“When you take out Golden and Groll it takes out a huge part of our offense,” Repa said. “Credit to Poughkeepsie for what they did.”
The Pioneers had 12 steals, thanks to an aggressive zone defense and the play of Jermar Dancy (21 points, six rebounds, four steals) and tournament MVP Jahleel Carter (11 points, three rebounds, two steals).
“They’re long and athletic kids,” said Lynch of the zone. “It’s tough to break that.”
Photos courtesy of Matthew Brown/The Journal News. Click here for the entire gallery.