With as much as four inches of snow forecast to fall on the region Friday, the plan for the boys basketball showdown between Poughkeepsie and Our Lady of Lourdes high schools had to be adjusted.
The day of the Class A state regional final was pushed from Friday to Saturday, and the time was changed from 7 p.m. to noon.
But, the location of the game, featuring two Dutchess County teams located three miles apart, will remain at Pace University in Pleasantville.
While the site has caused some to question if a more local solution could be possible, both teams say the extra day will help them prepare for what they expect to be a tight matchup.
“It helps us greatly,” Lourdes senior center James Anozie said. “It gives us an opportunity to watch film, see what they do. We’re going to be ready.”
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association arranges the neutral-site locations of the regional tournament games long before the season begins, based on which Section is hosting the game. Under the current system, Lourdes Athletic Director Matt Pascale said, it’s not possible to change that site at the last minute based on the participants.
But, that doesn’t mean Pascale would not be happy to play at local site, such as Vassar or Marist colleges, where it would be easier for local fans to attend.
“It’s 2017. I don’t see why we can’t have two local teams play each other at a local venue,” Pascale said. “But, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I think the locations are set up a year in advance. There are different things that go into setting up these contests.”
Poughkeepsie coach Jerome Elting and Lourdes coach Jim Santoro expressed similar opinions on the matter. To them, the game is going to be tough, no matter where it’s played. The winner will advance to the state semifinals at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton on Saturday.
“It’s the postseason,” Santoro said. “I don’t think it makes a difference. At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s a way to predict we were going to be in this situation.”
Elting said “he still expects it to be a decent crowd.”
“It’ll be an experience, for both teams involved,” the coach added.
Poughkeepsie (15-7) defeated Goshen 100-92 in overtime to win the Section 9 Class A title on Sunday. The Pioneers then beat Johnson City of Section 4, 79-53, on Wednesday to advance to the regional final.
Lourdes (18-6) received a bye into the regional final, after winning the Section 1 Class A championship with a 42-39 victory over Tappan Zee on Sunday.
“I think everyone is chomping at the bit, but you can’t control what the weather is going to be like,” Elting said.
Like Anozie, the Poughkeepsie coach added that he’s in favor of the move.
“It gives them an extra day to heal and get their legs back under them,” Elting said. “And we’ll see what happens.”
A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports