Following back-to-back second-place finishes at the annual BCANY Summer Hoops Festival, Section 1 is about to inform the rest of the state what it has already known for two years — some of the best young girls basketball talent in the state resides in the Lower Hudson Valley.
Somers girls basketball coach Kristi Dini has finalized her roster for this weekend’s tournament with five seniors, four juniors and two sophomores making the trip to Johnson City.
Irvington junior Lindsay Halpin and Albertus Magnus sophomore Dani LaRochelle, who were each named Section 1 tournament MVPs in their respective classes last season, headline a star-studded guard-oriented roster this year.
“Section 1 is a really talented basketball community,” said Dini, who enters her third year leading the Hudson Valley squad. “Anybody who looks at this roster knows these girls can play basketball.”
In total, six of the 10 players on this year’s roster made it to the County Center for the section semifinals during the high school season in February.
Hudson Valley will once again feature a dynamic core of talented, speedy guards that will include juniors Natalie Alfieri (Westlake) and Kayla Correa (New Rochelle). Rye junior Katie Popp will miss the tournament with two fractures in her ankle.
Dini added more depth in the frontcourt with Lourdes forwards Abby Weeks and Maddy Siegriest, and senior forwards Pam Miceus (North Rockland), Reena Olsen (Putnam Valley) and Emily O’Mahoney (Fox Lane).
Due to conflicts with some of the players’ AAU schedules, Hudson Valley is behind the 8-ball in regards to team practices, with only four players showing up Tuesday.
Dini said the team will be doing walk-through drills Friday morning before facing Buffalo in its 5:30 p.m. opening game.
“If everyone is healthy and we figure out a way to understand the defense, press … we’ll be all right,” Dini said.
Even if Hudson Valley can’t run full practices until possibly Thursday or Friday, the fact that many of the girls are playing AAU and are keeping their skills sharp speaks not only to their talent, but their dedication, Dini said.
“These kids love the game, and live the game,” she said. “It’s not an ideal situation, but it shows you how much they love the game.”
Hudson Valley schedule
Friday, July 31
Hudson Valley vs. Buffalo at Johnson City Elementary, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 1
Hudson Valley vs. Suffolk at Davis College, 9 a.m.
Hudson Valley vs. Southern Tier at Johnson City Elementary, noon
Three-point competition at Johnson City Middle, 1:30 p.m.
Hudson Valley vs. Central at Davis College, 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 2
At Johnson City Elementary
Fourth-place game, 8:30 a.m.
Semifinal: Pool A No. 1 seed vs. Pool B No. 2 seed, 10 a.m.
Semifinal: Pool B No. 1 seed vs. Pool A No. 2 seed, 11:30 a.m.
Third-place game, 1 p.m.
Championship game, 2:30 p.m.