When the first practices were held back in November, Dobbs Ferry and Pleasantville seemed among a small group of teams destined to decide Class B at the County Center
That made their meeting in Friday’s opening round all the more peculiar. Dobbs, the No. 4 seed, knew that despite a sub-.500 record, Pleasantville wasn’t a typical No. 13.
“They were a very good team last year,” said Eric Paschall, the area’s newly-crowned “Mr. Basketball.” “Even though they were a 13-seed, they are still very good. We knew that going into it, but we were still very confident.”
And why not? As high as Pleasantville’s ceiling may be, the Eagles’ could be even higher. It sure seemed that way in the second half of their 67-56 victory that saw the lead climb into the 20s.
Paschall, a 6-foot-6 Division I prospect, had 20 points and 15 rebounds while contending with a box-and-one defense. He shot a modest 7 for 18, but his presence opened space for shooters. None of them were more prevalent than senior Nick Kost, who scored 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 27-12 third quarter.
Josh Smith also hit a pair of 3s and finished with 10 points for the Eagles (13-6), who will host No. 5 Woodlands at 5 Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
“Of course, it’s nice having someone like Eric on the team who attracts so much attention from the defense,” Kost said. “Naturally, you’re going to get a lot of open looks. When he gives you the ball, you have to hit them.”
Typically, Kost has been Dobbs’ second option, but he and fellow starters Dan Riefenhauser and George Roca were confined to the bench with foul trouble in the second quarter. The bench, led by forwards David Rhee and Tim Soave, kept the Eagles in front 25-22 at the break, setting the stage for the second-half surge.
“The depth of this team is not something a lot of people notice because it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but we’re able to run out 10 or 11 guys if we have to,” Eagles coach Scott Patrillo said. “Guys stepped up and gave us contributions.”
Conversely, Pleasantville (8-11) received the majority of its offense from senior Jack Eisenberg, who scored 19 of his game-high 26 in the second half. But even as the point guard heated up, the Panthers saw their deficit grow.
It turned out, their opportunity to strike came early.
“I was not happy with how we played in the first half,” Pleasantville coach Chris Welsh said. “At halftime, we were fortunate to only be down three. We had so many opportunities in that first half to get ourselves a lead.”