HARRISON – Tappan Zee coach Tom Cromer is smart enough to know that the 13-seed the Dutchies possess is “just a number,” but he’s also realistic enough to admit that the Dutchies possess that seed because it’s “the way we played all year.”
The Dutchies had their share of awful performances throughout the year, but their last two postseason contests — including Tuesday’s 49-40 Class A quarterfinal win at No. 5 Harrison — have shown that Tappan Zee has taken full advantage of the clean slate a playoff bracket provides.
“I go through this thing at the beginning of the year with every team: This team will go through this moment in time one time — regardless of how many people are coming back,” Cromer said. “Embrace it. Enjoy it. Don’t let the little things have a way of bringing you down.”
When Tappan Zee went into its games against No. 4 Eastchester and Harrison, it embraced those moments.
When it dogpiled near midcourt Tuesday, it enjoyed it. Senior Amanda Paul expressed a little extra joy running to the locker room, jumping and rubbing Cromer’s closely-shaved head before reaching the door.
It hasn’t been a long hiatus since Tappan Zee’s last trip to the County Center in 2012, but something about this trip will be different. Playing in memory of former classmate Mickey Reeves, who passed away last week, it seems as if every neutral party throughout the section is quietly rooting for the Dutchies.
Dutchies fans came out in droves Tuesday, flooding the Harrison bleachers and outnumbering the Huskies’ supporters for the first part of a girl-boy doubleheader between the schools.
Tappan Zee celebrates after defeating Harrison 49-40 in the Section 1 Class A quarterfinal basketball game at Harrison High School Feb. 17, 2015.
“I just feel like the past week we’ve just been coming together, putting two halves of basketball together, and just having fun,” said senior Brianna McCleary, who is one of the two remaining Dutchies from the 2011-12 roster along with Delaney Sheridan. “Now we know each of our roles and what we all can contribute and what each of us can do, which is really helpful.”
The Dutchies will play top-seeded league rival Albertus Magnus at the County Center next Thursday at 4:45 p.m.
Peekskill 64, Somers 55: In a Section 1 Class A quarterfinal at No. 2 Peekskill, Lanay Rodney scored 18 points for the Red Devils. Kayleah McGuire led all scorers with 29 points for the No. 7 Tuskers. Peekskill will play No. 3 Rye in the semifinals next Thursday the County Center at 3 p.m.
Albertus Magnus 61, Yorktown 34: In a Section 1 Class A quarterfinal at No. 1 Albertus Magnus, Chontel Fils scored 10 points. Kelly Donnellan scored 14 points for the No. 9 Huskers.