WHITE PLAINS – The last time Skylar Sinon played at the County Center was an easily forgettable memory.
That was last year, when he shot just 1-of-6 and finished with two points in a 34-point loss to Spring Valley in the Class A final.
With that performance in the back of his mind, he played much better on Monday’s semifinal game against Lourdes.
He led the way for Byram Hills with a game-high 21 points, and the Bobcats held off a late surge from Lourdes to get back to the championship game with a 47-39 win.
“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t let my team down this game,” Sinon said. “My teammates gave me the ball, and I had open shots, so I made them. I was feeling confident.”
The sophomore guard scored the game’s opening points on a jump shot, and closed out the first quarter’s scoring with seven more points to put Byram Hills up 11-4.
“That was huge; when you see that ball go in the basket, it changes your mindset, you start believing in yourself,” Byram Hills head coach Ted Repa said. “It set the tone not only for him, but for everybody else.”
On defense, the Bobcats doubled up on Lourdes star center James Anozie, a junior who already has over 1000 career points. His teammates struggled to make Byram Hills pay.
“Matt Groll is a great help defender, he was there on defense,” Sinon said. “It’s hard to shoot over a 6-7 guy like him.”
Lourdes, which was down by as much as 15 points, made a comeback bid in the fourth quarter. With Byram Hills playing at a deliberate pace and struggling to find open looks, the Warriors managed to cut the deficit to 43-39 with 42 seconds left in the fourth quarter after a three-pointer from Kevin Townes.
After that, Byram Hills kept its composure and made its free throws down the stretch to seal the game.
“We stopped playing to win and just hoped the time would run out,” Repa said. “A talented team isn’t going to be held down forever, and Lourdes is a very talented team.”
Byram Hills will have another chance at the Class A sectional title, playing either Tappan Zee or Nanuet on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Player of the game: Skylar Sinon, Byram Hills. In addition to his 21 points, Sinon also had two assists and two steals. He also hit three 3-pointers.
Turning point: After the first quarter, Lourdes managed to cut the Byram Hills lead to 16-10 midway through the second quarter. A 3-pointer from Lou Filippelli started what would be a 12-3 run to put the Bobcats up 28-13 at halftime.
Stat line: Matt Groll had a double-double for Byram Hills with 13 points and 14 rebounds. … Filippelli had six points and eight rebounds, while teammate Matt Milone had seven points and five assists. … Byram Hills shot 44 percent for the game, with Lourdes shooting 36 percent. … For Lourdes, Anozie had a team-high 13 points. … Townes had 11 points for Lourdes, including all three of his team’s 3-pointers.
Quotable: “We’ve been here before, and it would stink to lose two chances at the gold ball,” Sinon said of the championship game. “I think we’re going to come here fired up on Sunday night. We’re just going to play Byram Hills basketball.”