Tappan Zee coach George Gaine might not have been present for the Dutchmen’s game at Nanuet on Tuesday afternoon, but it’s clear his coaching philosophy was still on the minds of his players.
In true Gaine fashion, a strong defensive effort helped Tappan Zee to a 59-30 win over the Golden Knights and secured the League IV-B title.
Tappan Zee held Nanuet to eight points in the first half as it took a 30-8 lead.
“Coach always preaches defense, so they were really intent on showing him they were listening,” said assistant coach Dan Linehan, who coached the team with JV coach Chris Rastelli in place of Gaine, who had a prior obligation. “They wanted to call him at the end of the game.”
Phil Powers led the Dutchmen with 15 points.
Dan McGann added 12 points while Luke McLaughlin chipped in with 11 for Tappan Zee.
It’s the fourth straight season Tappan Zee has won at least a share of the league title.
“They knew how important the game was,” Linehan said. “They refused to lose.”
Tappan Zee (15-3) closed the regular season on a four-game winning streak, including a 63-61 win against Class A rival Pearl River last Sunday.
The victory was redemption for the Dutchmen, who lost to the Pirates 60-37 on Jan. 23.
To be able to come away with another strong win against a Class A opponent is a big bonus for Tappan Zee.
“Going into sectionals it was a great team win,” Linehan said. “We are looking at sectionals one game at a time.”
Best of the rest: Anthony Montella had 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds in Salesian’s 54-38 win at La Salle. Dami Apoeso added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Salesian. … Naim Thomas had 25 ponts and 10 assists in Stepinac’s 81-61 win against visiting Fordham Prep. Walter King added 14 points and 10 rebounds. … Ivan Iton had 18 points in Ossining’s 67-57 win at Riverside. James Johnson added 12.