PINE PLAINS — Pine Plains put New York state’s Class C high school boys basketball teams on notice.
The Bombers topped defending Class C state-champion Tuckahoe 77-45 at Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School on Saturday.
“It was a very big statement game,” Pine Plains 6-foot-8 junior forward Tyler Lydon said. “We’re going to win states. We’re definitely going to try. That’s our goal. We want to play like this every night.”
Tuckahoe ended Pine Plains’ season in the state regionals the last two seasons. The Bombers were pleased to beat Tuckahoe, despite the Tigers having only one starter back from last year’s team.
“(Pine Plains) is a very good team. They’re state-championship good,” Tuckahoe coach Al Visconti said. “They don’t have a weakness. They’ve got size. They’ve got length. They’ve got smarts. They’re well-coached. Their guard play was a lot better than it has been in the past.”
Pine Plains led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter. Tuckahoe’s Maurice Hollis started off the second quarter by hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the game to bring the Tigers to within one point at 17-16. Pine Plains, though, scored the last 12 points of the first half to take a 37-24 halftime lead. Tuckahoe had only one two-point field goal in the first half.
The third quarter was all Pine Plains, which extended its run from the second quarter all the way to 22-0 before Tuckahoe’s Joe Leibowitz scored a basket to break it up. Pine Plains’ defense held Tuckahoe to only those two points for the whole period.
“Today, our defense showed what we can do,” said Pine Plains 6-9 senior forward Zach Lydon, Tyler’s brother, who had eight points and eight rebounds. “We’ve got to keep up the defense. Our defense looked a lot better than it has in the last few games.”
Tyler Lydon scored a game-high 22 points for Pine Plains (6-2) and added 13 rebounds and seven assists. Bombers 6-3 point guard Justin Cooper had 20 points, eight assists, six steals and five rebounds. Six-seven center Adam Miller had six points and eight rebounds, and 6-4 forward Alejandro Ayala had eight points and eight rebounds.
Pine Plains outrebounded Tuckahoe 46-15.
Hollis led Tuckahoe with 21 points, while Shyheim Nixon, last year’s lone returning starter, added nine points for the Tigers (3-5).
“They’re still a very good team even though they lost a lot of players,” Cooper said. “We just came out and played our game. We’re a very good team too and we’ve got great chemistry.”
Visconti wasn’t pleased with the end result.
“We’re a little disappointed in the way we played, especially in the second half,” Visconti said. “We have a lot of growing pains. We wanted to come up here to get tested. We got tested and we have a lot of work to do.”
Pine Plains coach Brendan LoBrutto said his team is focused on each game, rather than the grander goal of championship glory.
“This is our eighth game of the season and we’ve got a long road ahead,” LoBrutto said. “There’s definitely a lot of stuff we can work on coming off this game. We’ve got to do what we do every day, keep working, and not get satisfied. In my mind, (a championship) is something that would be nice, but we’ve got a lot of work to do before we even think about March.”
Phil Strum: email@example.com, 845-437-4847, Twitter: @PJStrum