Before I get to the picks, a quick heads up on the schedule:
The Class A semifinals will be played Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the County Center. The schedule I first tweeted last night was partially incorrect. No. 2 Panas and No. 6 Tappan Zee will play at 4:45 p.m. (No. 1 Eastchester and No. 4 Harrison will still play at 8:15 p.m.)
Today’s winners will play on Thursday at the County Center. They will receive the middle two time slots (4:45 and 6:30). The highest-remaining seed will play in the second of the two games. So…if No. 1 Mount Vernon wins, it will play the winner of Fox Lane and Mahopac at 6:30. If New Rochelle wins, that would likely change.
As for the picks, good job by Dan on Wednesday. He pulled out his best Tony Gwynn impersonation, going 4 for 4. I misfired on Beacon over Panas.
Today is a chance to do better. Let’s take a look at who we like tonight:
Class AA quarterfinals
No. 6 Spring Valley at No. 3 White Plains, 4:15 p.m. –
Josh’s pick: White Plains, 62-59. It’s all about defense. In this matchup, White Plains certainly is the better defensive team. The Tigers are a little banged up in the backcourt and might struggle at times with Spring Valley’s speed, but, when the game slows down and is played in the halfcourt, they will be able to frustrate and contain Spring Valley. I had liked Spring Valley as the No. 2 team behind Mount Vernon in Class AA almost all season, but my opinion has changed of late. I’m taking White Plains experience, tougheness and…defense.
Dan’s pick: Spring Valley, 76-72. I’ve talked at length about how much I like the size Spring Valley brings to the table. Rebounding has been a sore point of White Plains all season, and if any team can take advantage of that its Spring Valley. White Plains has the advantage in the backcourt, but the difference is slight. Spring Valley’s close game against Carmel on Sunday seems more like a wake up call then a warning sign for me.
No. 9 New Rochelle at No. 1 Mount Vernon, 5 p.m. –
Josh’s pick: Mount Vernon, 66-54. If Mount Vernon has turned a corner of late, it’s probably because the Knights have managed to generate just a little bit more offense. I’d point to two areas: Brandon Martin being more determined to “take over,” and freshman Noah Morgan just bringing that little bit of skill off the bench. This isn’t the most skilled Mount Vernon team, but the defense and rebounding is good good, a little bit can go a long way. If the Knights get into the 60s and 70s today, I don’t think New Ro can keep up.
Dan’s pick: Mount Vernon, 70-65. Recently, it seems like Mount Vernon’s offense has finally turned the corner. In three of the Knights’ last five games they broke the 70-point barrier. Improved offensive production, coupled with their staunch defense, doesn’t spell good things for the Huguenots.
No. 5 Mahopac at No. 4 Fox Lane, 6 p.m. –
Josh’s pick: Fox Lane, 55-53. Man, this should be fun. I think Fox Lane should really benefit playing at home in front of its crowd, and it will need the help from Fox Tape today. Mahopac is the tougher, more tournament-tested team, and Fox Lane will need to match the Indians intensity. Frankly, I think Fox Lane has the better team, but Mahopac has won plenty of games where the talent did not tilt in its favor. This can be one of them, but I expect a big effort from the Foxes. James Morales and co. make a few more plays in the end.
Dan’s pick: Fox Lane, 65-60. In terms of student sections, this is essentially 1 vs. 1a (I’ll let you decide which is which). As for the action on the court, Mahopac’s Ryan Simone will have the advantage inside, but the Foxes’ backcourt definitely has the edge. Fox Lane is also a deeper team with a second unit that contributes valuable minutes.
No. 7 Arlington vs. No. 2 Clarkstown South, 7 p.m. –
Josh’s pick: Clarkstown South, 69-60. The Vikings were scared by Scarsdale on Sunday. Things simply didn’t go their way, and, for a team with high expectations, it became a struggle. Well, Arlington is better than Scarsdale, no doubt, but South is much better than it showed. As long as the Vikings get back to that level, they can win.
Dan’s pick: Clarkstown South, 72-64. Just like their Rockland counterpart, plenty of people will look at the Vikings’ close game against Scarsdale as a warning sign. I think its more of a wake up call. The talent is there, and they’ve proven to have the ability to win big games. I don’t think the Admirals have anyone to match Joe Zayer and Conor McGuinness in the backcourt. ?