Dan and I were a little spotty last week. I finished 3-2 and he was 2-3. We both missed on Peekskill-Putnam Valley and Iona Prep-Stepinac. Dan also went against Pearl River on its home floor — a pick that proved to be costly for our young prognosticator.
Despite a quiet week in terms of volume, there’s plenty of quality games over the coming days. It really heats up Friday afternoon and Saturday, as you’ll see below. You also have Mount Vernon and New Rochelle meeting for the first time since last year’s famous Class AA final and a rematch of Carmel-Mahopac just five days after the Indians won at home, 68-51.
Here’s a look at who we like this week:
2013-14 Records —
Josh: 28-8 (3-2 last week)
Dan: 26-10 (2-3 last week)
Mount Vernon at New Rochelle, 4 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Mount Vernon, 77-56. With its team depleted and its confidence hit, I’m not sure New Ro will have what it takes to keep this one close. Mount Vernon hasn’t scored much against good teams this season, but can the Huguenots be good enough defensively to hold the Knights in the 50s and hang in the game? I’m not so sure. Couple that with plenty of added incentive and I think Mount Vernon will start and finish strong.
Dan’s pick: Mount Vernon, 65-52. Yes, I’m sure all the players on Mount Vernon will tell you that last season is in the past and this is a new team with a new identity. Still, I’d bet my next paycheck the first game they looked for when the schedule was released was when they would face New Rochelle for the first time. Mount Vernon will be way too motivated for this game to let it slip away. I think the Knights jump on the Huguenots early and never look back.
Mahopac at Carmel, 4 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Mahopac, 55-52. I think you’ll see Carmel keep this one close throughout. Mahopac outscored the Rams by 16 points in the second half on Saturday, but this time Carmel will be home and fueled by its crowd. This is a rivalry where emotion is important. Plus, the talent gap between these teams is more narrow than you might think.
Dan’s pick: Mahopac, 62-57. After a sloppy start, Mahopac dominated the last meeting between these two. Tensions will certainly be high as it’ll be the first time the Indians’ R.J. Martinez is playing on his former home court in an opposing team’s jersey. Still, both teams will already know what to expect, and Mahopac is just too good to let this one slip away.
White Plains at Mount Vernon, 5 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Mount Vernon, 66-59. I think you’ll see a little bit higher scoring game in the rematch with the forgiving rims and backboards at Mount Vernon High School. As Dan points out, Mount Vernon should be in better form than last time when it was in the midst of a very quiet stretch of the schedule. Again, if White Plains wins, I think it comes down to outside shooting. Mount Vernon shut down the Tigers at the 3-point line last time, but Jordan Tucker and Mike DeMello will need to shoot effectively. Personally, I think the Knights are too strong defensively.
Dan’s pick: Mount Vernon, 57-50. The Tigers’ inside presence is improving, but the Knights’ front line is just too big to pick against. Mount Vernon also has the benefit of having a few more games under its belt this time around (last time these two teams played the Knights had a long stretch without games leading up to the match). An exceptional shooting performance could turn things in the Tigers favor, but that might be a bit of a long shot against such a stout defense.
Saturday, at Coaches vs. Cancer Week Tip-Off Classic, Beacon High School
Putnam Valley vs. Our Lady of Lourdes, 12 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Lourdes, 58-55. This is a very difficult game to call and will go a long way toward showing us how far Putnam Valley has come. The Tigers were dominated by Lourdes last year at the County Center, but they bring back the more experienced team. Still, Kyle Santoro and Justin Rynders give the Warriors some skill and experience. I think that will be enough for a close win close to home for Lourdes.
Dan’s pick: Putnam Valley, 54-47. This Tigers’ team really seems determined to get revenge on all the tough losses they took last season (see Wednesday’s win against Peekskill for Exhibit A). None, though, hurt more than Putnam Valley’s loss in the Class B sectional final to Lourdes last season. With the Warriors bumping up to A, this will be Putnam Valley’s one chance to exact some revenge from last season.
Peekskill vs. Poughkeepsie, 2 p.m. —
Josh’s pick: Peekskill, 74-67. Before Peekskill won in last year’s season opener, Poughkeepsie had beat the Red Devils in four straight, including the 2012 Class A semis. The Pioneers have shown flashes of improvement, but they are young and have lacked consistency. Peekskill is experienced, but that hasn’t prevented the Red Devils from fighting the same bug. It’s impossible to guess which teams will show up. I’ll take Peekskill and its higher upside.
Dan’s pick: Peekskill, 56-49. Although both teams aren’t having fantastic seasons, I think its for different reasons. The Pioneers are just having a down season. Peekskill has the talent, but just can’t seem to get it together. With sectionals just around the corner, something’s got to give. I’ll give the edge to the Red Devils, who, in my eyes, still have the pieces to be a contender in A.
To view all of our picks for the Games of the Week so far this season, click on the “Predictions” tab on the homepage at varsityinsider.lohudblogs.com.