For the entirety of the Section 1 tournament, I will give my predictions for each game. There are eight berths in the semifinals at the County Center on the line today as Class AA and B play their quarterfinals.
We will cover three of the Class AA quarterfinals today. I’ll be at White Plains at Spring Valley at 1 and New Rochelle at Fox Lane at 6. You can find all the details on those games at @lohudinsider. Adrian Szkolar will also be out at Ossining at Saunders today at 5. You can find him at @szkolar_lohud.
Interesting note about today: The Mount Vernon gym will close after today’s game against Clarkstown South and undergo a face lift. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and is expected to be completed in August. The work will consist of work on the court, bleachers and walls throughout the gym.
The gym has been a storied part of basketball in this area. During Bob Cimmino’s tenure, the Knights once enjoyed a 108-game home winning streak from 1998-2010. They have only lost four times there in Cimmino’s 22 seasons.
Saturday, Feb. 20
Section 1 tournament
Class AA quarterfinals
No. 11 White Plains at No. 3 Spring Valley, 1 p.m. — Spring Valley 71, White Plains 64. I think it would be quite an achievement if White Plains went on the road and won two playoff games in Rockland County. Spring Valley is not an easy place to play and the Tigers have really found themselves late in the season. White Plains will have to keep Luis Cartagena out of foul trouble because the teams needs him to matchup with Marc Dorsainvil. Even so, I think Spring Valley will get the better of the play inside and make the free throws late to win it.
No. 8 Clarkstown South at No. 1 Mount Vernon, 4 p.m. — Mount Vernon 84, Clarkstown South 65. Conor McGuinness and Clarkstown South gave Mount Vernon all it could handle in last year’s Class AA championship game, but this is a much different matchup. McGuinness and a strong senior class are gone and Mount Vernon is mostly a year older, wiser and better. The Knights are closing their gym as we know it today and they will do it in style.
No. 5 Ossining at No. 4 Saunders, 5 p.m. — Saunders 66, Ossining 57. As I’ve said all week, I think Ossining might have trouble matching Saunders’ defensive intensity. Despite playing in a weak league, Saunders had a tough non-league schedule and is battle-tested. Plus, the Blue Devils have a big advantage of having been through the playoffs wars before. It will be ready to compete and hungry for another shot at Mount Vernon.
No. 10 New Rochelle at No. 2 Fox Lane, 5 p.m. — New Rochelle 57, Fox Lane 55. Although I’ve compared it to the Saunders game, I don’t think New Ro plays the same level of defense so Fox Lane will certainly have its moments. Still, the Huguenots should be able to force turnovers. They are quick and they have a very deep, balanced team with 10 or 12 players capable of contributing something. This is the only game today where I could envision all four scenarios: a close win or blowout by either team. It’s a very unpredictable game.
Class B quarterfinals
No. 5 Woodlands at No. 4 Hastings, 1 p.m. — Woodlands 52, Hastings 44. Although 15 wins is nothing to sniff at, this will be something of a referendum on just how good Hastings’ season has been. Win this and it vaults to a whole new level. Win this and Bob Delle Bovi vaults very high on the list of coach-of-the-year candidates.
No. 9 Ardsley at No. 1 Briarcliff, 4 p.m. — Briarcliff 67, Ardsley 52. More so than most of the team’s in the field, Ardsley probably can get to a level of play that would really challenge Briarcliff. I’m not sure it will happen today, though. Briarcliff has been pointed in one direction for 12 months and that is toward White Plains.
No. 6 Bronxville at No. 3 Blind Brook, 4 p.m. — Blind Brook 48, Bronxville 44. Blind Brook swept the season series, including a 30-point blowout, but Bronxville is different now. The team is young with all of its key players being underclassmen. The Broncos have clearly improved, but have they improved enough? Blind Brook has stubbed its toe at home in the playoffs in recent years and will be hungry to make amends.
No. 10 Pleasantville at No. 2 Putnam Valley, 6 p.m. — Putnam Valley 69, Pleasantville 51. You usually have to take December results with a grain of salt this time of year, but you can’t ignore what happened when these teams met. Put Valley won 72-30 — yup, 42 points. That won’t happen again, but it’s hard to imagine Pleasantville so much better than it can upset the Tigers.