Terry Feeley warned that a cliché was upcoming:
“It’s the playoffs,” the John Jay High School boys basketball coach said. “Once you’ve made it in, everybody’s record is zero-and-zero.”
Trite as that statement might be, it’s true.
It was said in response to the Patriots being slotted as an 18th seed in Class AA as the Section 1 basketball brackets were released on Wednesday.
The playoffs begin Thursday and seven local teams qualified with Arlington, Roy C. Ketcham, John Jay, Our Lady of Lourdes, Beacon, Haldane and Pawling seeking championships. None of them is seeded higher than fifth — Lourdes in Class A — but hope springs eternal for each … at least leading up to the first round.
“You don’t necessarily have to be the best team to win,” Feeley said. “You just have to be good through the tournament.”
No. 9 Roy C. Ketcham vs. No. 8 Arlington at 2 p.m. Saturday
Arlington (12-7) is a balanced team led by forward John Smith, a versatile scorer and shot-blocker, and Zac Dingee, a penetrating guard. The Admirals are anchored inside by Shane Walczyk, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound force in the paint who also can shoot threes. Jimmy Martin, Jono Quinn and Dan Duffy bolster the cast.
Ketcham (11-9) is led by guard Zaahir Woody, an explosive scorer. He had 29 points in the teams’ January meeting, when Arlington came from behind in the fourth quarter and pulled away for a 55-45 win. The Indians also feature forwards David Henry and Darryl Sullivan, and point guard Jahri Mosley, who is quick off the dribble.
For the winner, there looms the possibility of facing top-seeded Mount Vernon in the quarterfinals.
No. 18 John Jay vs. No. 15 Suffern at 6 p.m. Thursday
John Jay (6-10) is led by point guard Matt Golden and Isaiah Tullo, an athletic forward. Eric Seckler will be relied on defensively to contain Suffern’s dominant center, Will Krebbs.
The Patriots did have regular-season wins over Mamaroneck and Carmel, teams with higher playoff seeds. Should John Jay win, it would face second-seeded Spring Valley on Saturday.
“We’ve got to play our best game to have any chance of advancing,” Feeley said.
No. 5 Our Lady of Lourdes will host the winner of No. 12 Roosevelt-Yonkers vs. No. 21 Gorton at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Lourdes (14-6) is among the local teams with a chance to go far. The team boasts a deep roster led by standouts James Anozie, a 6-foot-5 center who eclipsed 1,500 career points on Tuesday, and high-flying guard Kevin Townes.
Warriors coach Jim Santoro said he was most encouraged by the emergence of Lourdes’ perimeter shooters this season. Joe Heavey, John Arceri and brothers Brady and Aidan Hilderbrand have provided a good complement to the inside game — able to feed the post and capitalize on double teams with outside shots.
“We stumbled a couple times and that cost us a higher seed, but I’m happy with how we finished,” Santoro said. “We’ll have to play the best teams, whether it’s sooner or later, so it doesn’t make a difference. We’re prepared.”
No. 18 Beacon vs. No 15. Nyack at 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Beacon (7-13) heated up down the stretch to make the playoffs after having seven victories forfeited in January for its use of an ineligible player. Though it doesn’t reflect in the record, the Bulldogs have won 14 games.
The Bulldogs are led by a trio of athletic wings: Alex Benson, Zamere McKenzie and Brandon Evans. The team also gets production inside from Jemond Galloway and Andre Davis.
“We’ve dug ourselves out of a pretty big hole,” Beacon coach Scott Timpano said. “I’m hoping we can ride this out and give our fans something special to see in the playoffs.”
The winner of the outbracket game will take on No. 2 Tappan Zee on Saturday.
No. 5 Haldane will visit No. 4 Hamilton at a date and time to be determined
A season after reaching the Class C state final, Haldane (7-13) will have an uphill battle in the playoffs, beginning with Hamilton (11-9). Haldane was the top seed last year.
No. 7 Pawling will visit No. 2 North Salem at a date and time to be determined
Pawling (7-13) will have its hands full with North Salem (14-6). The winner advance to the semifinals on March 1 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4