A day after it seemed like every team had its foot pressed firmly to the pedal, the Slam Dunk slowed down quite a bit on Friday.
FINAL: IONA PREP 56, SPRING VALLEY 46
In the championship, the slower pace certainly favored Iona Prep, which beat Spring Valley for the second time in 13 days to win its second title in five years:
The Gaels collapsed their matchup zone and frustrated Spring Valley for the second time in less than two weeks. The result was another win over the Section 1 contender, 56-46, to claim their second Slam Dunk title in five years.
Junior Matt Ryan earned MVP honors with 22 points and eight rebounds on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting. He had 10 points in the first quarter alone to give Iona Prep (6-3) an early advantage — one his team maintained through most of a tightly contested game.
Spring Valley’s junior stars, Kai Mitchell and Rickey McGill, drew the bulk of Iona Prep’s defensive attention. The Gaels, who won 72-66 when the teams met on Dec. 15 at White Plains, kept the two burgeoning Division I prospects away from the rim often enough to slow the Tigers considerably.
“Our scouting report was to stop Rickey and Kai and (Jy’Quan Boykin), who had seven 3’s against us last time,” Ryan said. “Those were the three key players. I’m not sure of their stats, but obviously we won, so they couldn’t have been that good.”
Junior big man Jordan Duncan responded by pouring in 13 of his 17 points in the first half for Spring Valley (5-2), but Mitchell and McGill finished just 8 for 30 combined from the field and had nine and eight points, respectively.
Ty Jerome, a sophomore point guard, totaled 18 points, three assists and four steals. Junior Tom Capuano added seven points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. But it was Ryan’s shooting that proved lethal all tournament. The coveted recruit finished 10 for 19 from 3-point range, playing arguably his two best games of the season.
“I was sick at the beginning of the year and we weren’t playing the type of basketball we wanted to play,” Ryan said. “Now I’m 100 percent. We’ve had a couple good games in a row, and we’re trying to carry that over to league play.”
And here’s MVP Matt Ryan discussing what worked for the Gaels:
Finally, here’s Peter Carr’s video of Iona Prep-Spring Valley:
CONSOLATION: BEDFORD ACADEMY 52, EASTCHESTER 51
Eastchester struggled in the consolation game and had little resemblence to the team that played Iona Prep the night before. It was a performance that left coach Fred DiCarlo dissatisfied to say the least:
WHITE PLAINS — Eastchester beefed up its schedule in the hope it would prepare the team for a return to the County Center in February. The Eagles accomplished the first part in their trip to the Slam Dunk Tournament, but a flat effort Friday afternoon left coach Fred DiCarlo seething.
Eastchester lost 52-51 to Bedford Academy of Brooklyn in a consolation game that saw the Class A contender shoot just 31.7 percent from the floor, while missing 18 3-pointers and nine free throws.
“I don’t think we played well as a team,” DiCarlo said. “I don’t think we played with energy. We didn’t get any loose balls. We weren’t preventing boards. I don’t think we did anything well.”
Eastchester (5-2) trailed by as many as nine points with 3:10 to play in the third quarter. Their defense forced Bedford Academy into mistakes and allowed the Eagles to tie the score, 45-45, on a three-point play by sophomore Benny DiMirco with 2:02 remaining.
Bedford Academy’s Latye Workman scored the key bucket late, hitting a short jumper at the shot-clock horn at the 32-second mark to make it a two-possession game, 50-46.
Senior Jack Daly fought through foul trouble and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals. DiMirco, who’d hit eight 3’s Thursday against Iona Prep, had 14 points, but he and Daly were just 1 for 12 from behind the arc combined.
The schedule won’t get any easier for Eastchester, which will travel to Poughkeepsie High School to play defending Section 9 Class AA champ Kingston on Jan. 4.
CHALLENGE GAME: PUTNAM VALLEY 53, YORKTOWN 36
WHITE PLAINS — When Putnam Valley lost its tournament final to Woodlands last week, first-year coach Mike McDonnell had a chance to reevaluate. The result was a performance more typical of the Tigers, who beat Yorktown 53-36 on Friday in a Slam Dunk Tournament challenge game at the County Center.
Their man-to-man defense held Yorktown to just 12 points in the second half and 27.5 percent shooting for the game.
“(Against Woodlands) I may have run our own team out of the game,” McDonnell said. “We pressed. We had the lead at half, and with a quarter-and-half to go, we died. We ran out of steam.”
That didn’t happen against Yorktown. The Tigers (6-1) pounded the ball inside to senior Jelani Bell-Isaac, who had 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks to earn game MVP honors.
Senior Zach Coleman added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists in Putnam Valley’s first game at the County Center since losing to Lourdes 56-41 in last season’s Class B semifinals.
“Last time we finished with a loss, so our whole drive was to come back here, finish with a win and show everyone what we have,” Bell-Isaac said.
Here’s Frank Becerra’s video from Putnam Valley-Yorktown:
CHALLENGE GAME: POUGHKEEPSIE 66, SLEEPY HOLLOW 52
Malik Williams had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists to earn MVP honors as Poughkeepsie beat Sleepy Hollow 66-52 in a Slam Dunk Tournament challenge game. Nick Arduino led Sleepy Hollow with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Wendell Brand added 11 points.
Friday’s scores —
St. Mary’s Riken (Md.) 71, Somers 40
Sacred Heart 56, La Salle 45
Slam Dunk Tournament at the County Center
Challenge game: Poughkeepsie 66, Sleepy Hollow 52
Challenge game: Putnam Valley 53, Yorktown 36
Consolation: Bedford Academy 52, Eastchester 51
Championship: Iona Prep 56, Spring Valley 46
Dan Dinan Tournament at Tappan Zee
Tappan Zee 72, Valley Central 32
Briarcliff 66, Harvey 55
John Costello Tournament at Hastings
Yonkers 48, Hastings 46
Nanuet 58, Haldane 43
Albertus Magnus Christmas Tournament
Salesian 57, Albertus Magnus 55
North Rockland 62, Kennedy 50
Best of the rest: With the score tied, Salesian’s Anthony Montella hit a layup at the buzzer off a feed from Kevin Silverberg to defeat Albertus Magnus 57-55 in the opening round of Albertus’ Christmas tournament. … Michael Arias had 16 points and seven assists as North Rockland snapped a six-game losing streak to open the season with a 62-50 victory over Kennedy at Albertus Magnus. Drew Valsaint added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who will play Salesian at 7 tonight in the championship. … Jackson Wexler and Sean Crowley scored 17 points apiece in Briarcliff’s 66-55 victory over Harvey in the opening round of the Dan Dinan Tournament at Tappan Zee. … Ryan McWilliams had 21 points and Luke McLaughlin had 15 as Tappan Zee beat Valley Central 72-32 in the opening round of its tournament. TZ will host Briarcliff in the final at 8 p.m. Saturday night. … Justin Brown had 18 points to lead Sacred Heart over visiting La Salle 56-45.