One victory from a return to the final four of Class A state basketball playoffs, Maine-Endwell’s girls run into two-time defending Section 1 champion Peekskill at noon Saturday at New Rochelle High School.
The Spartans are coming off a spectacular defensive outing that was the root of Tuesday’s 47-26 romp past unbeaten, top-ranked Wallkill, which mustered seven second-half points.
“That was chemistry that was just clicking,” M-E coach Sonny Spera said. “The kids were in sync with one another. As the game went on I had to say less and less — I just tried to stay out of their way.”
The remaining obstacle between M-E and a trip next weekend to Hudson Valley Community College in Troy will be a Peekskill squad that came from the fourth seed to capture its sectional championship.
The Red Devils are led by sophomore Lanay Rodney, who in the sectional semifinal scored 16 of her 23 points and four 3-point goals in the first half. In the title game — a 49-34 win over Albertus Magnus — senior forward Latisha Clark had nine points and 11 rebounds.
“They’re long, athletic, a confident bunch, well-coached,” Spera said. “It’s an aggressive, trapping team. And deep, they play 10-12 kids. We have to emphasize defense and rebounding to try to take away some of their strengths, and offensively we have to execute.”
Of Rodney, he said: “She’s the real deal. She can shoot the ball, take it to the basket, finish in traffic — and she’s a good defender.”
However, Rodney and mates are about to take on an opponent that has surrendered a shade under 37 points per game.
At Binghamton University
Union-Endicott’s boys have drawn once-beaten, second-ranked Mount Vernon for a Class AA quarterfinal set for a 5:45 tip-off at Binghamton University’s Events Center.
The Knights rolled past fifth-ranked Newburgh in Wednesday’s first-round game, 66-48, halting a 15-game Goldbacks win streak. Mount Vernon’s loss came by four points Dec. 19 in Hawaii against a White Station (Tenn.) team at the time ranked nationally.
A Mount Vernon win, atop this week’s surprising loss by top-ranked Abraham Lincoln to unranked Thomas Jefferson, would send the Knights to the final four in Glens Falls with the No. 1 ranking.
U-E’s most recent sectional title before this year was claimed in 2011, and the Tigers followed with a 39-point loss to Mount Vernon in the program’s first state-playoff appearance in 13 years.
The Class AA girls game scheduled for a 4 p.m. start at BU pits Horseheads against reigning state champion Ossining. The Pride collected the program’s fourth consecutive Section 1 championship with Sunday’s 76-49 rout of Mahopac, and followed with a 30-point roll past Kingston to open state playoffs.