Here is my story on Putnam Valley’s win over Irvington to reach its first sectional title in program history.
WHITE PLAINS In 2013, Putnam Valley seemingly could do nothing right in its loss to Lourdes in the Class B semifinal.
A year later the opposite was true, as the No. 4 Tigers cruised to a 69-45 win against No. 1 Irvington in the Class B semifinal Monday at the County Center to advance to their first sectional final in program history.
Last season’s performance was clearly on the minds of Putnam Valley, who returned four starters from last season.
“It motivated us to work a lot,” said Zach Coleman, who finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals. “It made us want it more. … We knew we were going to have to work harder.”
Lourdes dominated the Tigers from the start of its 56-41 win last season before going on to beat Dobbs Ferry in overtime to win the sectional title.
The game has served as motivation from the beginning of the off season for the returning players.
“We just wanted to work hard and get back here,” Putnam Valley junior Ryan Basso said. “It feels great.”
It was Basso that sparked the offense early. The guard had 16 points in the first half as Putnam Valley (18-3) held a 41-24 lead on Irvington (18-2) at halftime. Basso hit seven 3s and finished with a game-high 29 points, in addition to six steals and three assists.
“It just feels great to finally shoot the ball well,” Basso said. “It feels great to get my shot back, especially at a place like this.”
The Tigers’ shooting wasn’t the only thing that was great in the win. Putnam Valley had 12 steals as they pressured the Bulldogs throughout and looked to push the tempo.
“We felt we would have a better chance if we got the game uptempo,” Putnam Valley coach Mike McDonnell said. “It got them a little tired and made them reach and foul, so it worked in our favor.”
The Tigers will play No. 6 Woodlands in the final Friday at 2 p.m. The Falcons won 75-61 at Putnam Valley on December 21, setting up another chance for the Tigers to get redemption for a past performance.
“We just want to get revenge,” Basso said. “And especially get that gold ball.”