Here’s my story on Nyack, which beat Ramapo despite missing 21 free throws by attacking the offensive glass:
NEW HEMPSTEAD As Nyack kept misfiring at the free throw line, it fought back against the frustration. In fact, the poor shooting almost seemed to embolden the Indians. With each miss – and there were 21 – the attacked the glass that much harder.
That effort spurred Nyack to 24 offensive rebounds, all of which were key in a 58-53 victory over the improved Gryphons that was tight throughout.
“It was terrible, but we just kept our mindset,” senior Barry Battle said. “We worked hard. We moved the ball. We just played great, but we can come back next game and come out stronger.”
Battle found himself at a size disadvantage, but the athletic senior slashed to 10 points and 16 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass alone.
“He’s our energy guy, which translates to us getting second shots and easy baskets,” Nyack coach Ethan Smith said. “I credit a lot of the rebounds to him.”
The Indians (4-5) built an eight-point lead in the second half only to have Ramapo quickly trim it. The Gryphons (4-3) trailed the entire second half, but Jordan Elysee’s 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining in the game left them down just 52-51 and riding a surge of momentum.
Again, it was Nyack’s extra effort that helped it regain control. Thomas Keys found Ethan Smith Jr. for a key hoop with 1:15 to play and the Indians forced two late turnovers in a one-possession game.
Senior Jahnai Henry, who led all scorers with 19 points, hoped this will provide something of a fresh start. He missed much of December after suffering an ankle sprain in the football season finale against Harrison. Monday night was his first game – and Nyack’s—at full strength.
“I feel like we can make a lot of noise,” Henry said. “People don’t think we can do much, but I have confidence in us.”
The win only momentarily cooled the progress under first-year Ramapo coach Austin Goldberg, whose team had already beat Nanuet and Yorktown at the buzzer.
“The direction we’re heading is definitely positive,” he said. “We may take our lumps, but every time we’ve lost, we’ve learned.”
Now, here’s Brian Heyman’s story on Rye Neck’s strong finish against Valhalla that kept the Panthers unbeaten:
Rye Neck took its undefeated act on the road Monday against a formidable Valhalla team, and the Panthers were without the services of their injured senior point guard, Chris Pennell.
And then they fell right into a nine-point hole after one quarter. But Rye Neck rebounded nicely. Backup point guard Jake Sevean played 32 turnover-free minutes, Chris Cascione made two big shots down the stretch and the Panthers emerged with a 47-37 win over their League 3-C rival to move to 6-0.
“It’s a great measuring stick for us in that Valhalla is a premier Class B program,” coach Shawn Lincoln said. “… For us to be able to crawl back and pull it out says a lot about our team and the experience we have.”
The Vikings fell to 5-2. The teams were locked in a 33-33 tie with about five minutes left. Then Cascione scored on a jumper, made a steal that led to a basket by Ryan Aquino and scored the next basket in what became an 8-0 run. Cascione contributed eight points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
Aquino had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Franks added 11 points and nine rebounds. And Sevean “did a great job” filling in, according to Lincoln. The junior finished with six points, five assists and four rebounds.
Pennell is day-to-day after hurting a wrist Saturday against Westlake. Lincoln said Pennell didn’t have the strength in it so he was held out.
“Even though it was a crucial game, there’s a bigger picture involved,” Lincoln said.
Ezekiel Demasio had 13 points and Mark Kinnally had 11 rebounds for Valhalla.
Best of the rest: Kevin Degnan scored 30 points to power Pearl River to a 67-54 win at Albertus Magnus. … Chris Jefferson scored 20 points in Suffern’s 47-42 win at Nanuet. Mike Mulligan scored 20 for the Golden Knights. … Abdoulaye Sow scored 21 to lead Woodlands past visiting Pelham 78-56. … Matt Stein scored 12 as Harrison won 56-39 at Ossining. Ivan Iton scored 19 for the Pride. … Philip Ladson had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Yonkers Montessori’s 54-51 win over visiting Solomon Schechter. … Sean Crowley scored 15 points in Briarcliff’s 51-43 win at Pleasantville. James Leyden scored eight points in 12 minutes in his first game of the season. The Pleasantville senior missed all of December after suffering a broken ankle in the Class B semifinals against Our Lady of Lourdes that prematurely ended his football season. … Kevin Tierney had 16 points as Irvington won 55-43 at Edgemont. … Jack Daly scored 24 points in Eastchester’s 73-42 win at Ardsley. … Justin Alleyne scored 10 points for New Rochelle in its 41-36 victory over visiting Mamaroneck. The Tigers missed a layup with 24 seconds remaining that would’ve tied the game. Matt Bernstein had 11 points, five rebounds and six assists for Mamaroneck, which held New Ro star Derek Dorn to just one field goal. … Chris Jordan and Rexler Noel had 11 points apiece as White Plains beat visiting Gorton 75-28.