It’s not even March yet, and already madness has ensued in the girls basketball Section 1 Class A bracket. With nearly a dozen legitimate contenders to make it to the County Center, the question many are asking is, “Who will be this year’s Cinderella?”
Peekskill played the role last year, winning it all as an outbracket team — the first ever to do so. Favorites have already started emerging, but hoops aficionados are looking for that one unexpected team who can make a deep playoff run.
This year, it could very well be Nanuet.
The Golden Knights, despite their 6-8 record, boast a roster filled with height, talented shooters and lockdown defenders that could surprise many in the postseason. Playing in League IV-B with some of the top teams in Rockland, such as Albertus Magnus, Tappan Zee and Pearl River — all Class A schools — Nanuet’s record does it little justice.
With all three league opponents on Nanuet’s remaining schedule, the Golden Knights’ will have an uphill battle to fight for seeding in the Section 1 tournament, which begins on Feb. 12.
“We’ve got to play half-court (defense) and get defensive rebounds,” Nanuet coach Carlos Fidalgo said after a 55-33 win at Keio on Thursday. “We can hang with anybody.”
The Golden Knights, who won the 2008-09 Class B state championship, are now looking to find success at the Class A level. With more performances like Thursday’s, that shouldn’t be hard.
Alexa Amalbert used the friendly Keio rims to sink five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 19 points.
“The rims were pretty bouncy, so that was good,” said Amalbert, who scored 13 points in the first quarter and played just over three quarters.
Nanuet surged in the third quarter, building a 23-point lead to put away the Unicorns.
“We knew we needed to play better defense in the first half, and that’s what brought us into a better third quarter,” she said. “We need to play defense the way we know how. I think from there, we’ll be able to compete with the other teams in our class.”
Alana Prosapio added 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals in just over three quarters of action. Ashley Mayo chipped in 12 points for the Golden Knights. Keio senior Sae Toyomura paced the Unicorns with 15 points.