Section 9 crowned five champions in girls’ basketball last week and three of those teams play opening round games in the state tournament at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
Class AA champion Monroe-Woodbury received a first round bye and will play in the state quarterfinals on Sunday.
Class D champion Livingston Manor earned a bye into the state semifinals and will play at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy on March 16.
The Times Herald-Record takes a look at the Class A, B and C games that will be played in Newburgh this week.
- Wallkill (19-1) vs. Peekskill (14-9)
- Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh
- About Wallkill: The Panthers won their second Section 9 title in three seasons with a 62-52 victory over Cornwall on Sunday. Sophomore guards Rachel Simon and Chelsea Murphy combined to score 38 points in the win. Wallkill also has a presence in the paint with senior forward Lisa Bouffard (5-foot-11) and sophomore center Heather Kiczek (6-foot-1). In this round two seasons ago, Wallkill lost to Maine-Endwell of Section 4, 37-33.
- About Peekskill: The Red Devils were the No. 11 seed in the Section 1 tournament, knocking off No. 4 Albertus Magnus in the championship game to reach the state playoffs. Peekskill won a state title in 2011. Like Wallkill, Peekskill relies on young players. Freshman guard Lanay Rodney, who was named MVP of the Section 1 tournament, leads the team in scoring (15.7) and assists (2.8). Nyrie Holliman, an eighth-grader, is fifth on the team with 5.0 points per game.
- What to watch: Wallkill will certainly have a home court advantage of sorts at MSMC, but will they be able to counter Peekskill’s confidence stemming from an underdog run to a Section 1 title?
- They said it: “I was with (former coach A.J.) Higby the first time around as his assistant. It was a great experience. I learned a ton from him. He’s a great coach and a wonderful mentor. He’s an ever better teacher. I had him as a teacher. This time around, I’m just going to try to emulate what he did, go through the same process and the same preparation.” – Wallkill’s second-year head coach, B.J. Masopust
- Next up: The winner of this game plays Section 4 champion Maine-Endwell (14-4) in a state quarterfinal at SUNY Cortland on Saturday.
- John A. Coleman Catholic (16-4) vs. Irvington (20-2)
- Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh
- About Coleman: Coleman Catholic has won six straight Section 9 titles, winning one each at the D, C and B levels in the last three seasons. Three tall forwards are at the focus of Coleman Catholic’s game. Senior center Lauren Melville (6-foot-2) and twin sisters Emily (6-foot) and Nicole (6-foot) Curley, both juniors, are all talented rebounders and scorers.
- About Irvington: Irvington, like Coleman Catholic, has built a tradition of excellence in recent years. The Bulldogs have won three consecutive Class B state titles. Over the last four seasons, Irvington has lost a total of six games. The Bulldogs feature a pair of Division I-bound players in Lexi Martins (Lehigh) and Brittni Lai (Marist).
- What to watch: Coleman Catholic has fared well in the state playoffs as a Class D team, but will they be able to put up a fight against one of the best teams in the state, regardless of class?
- They said it: “I know what I’m facing. Two Division I players. Probably one of the top five teams in the state. I go against them in AAU. I know they’re really tough. I know I have my hands full.” – Coleman Catholic head coach Guy Leonard
- Next up: The winner of this game heads to Hofstra University for a 7 p.m. game on Friday night against the Long Island champion. Cold Spring Harbor and Southampton play an opening round game on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
- Tuxedo (16-5) vs. Alexander Hamilton (15-4)
- Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh
- About Tuxedo: Tuxedo was the No. 3 seed in the Section 9 tournament and the Tornadoes avenged a pair of regular season losses against No. 1 Chester in the Section 9 championship game, winning 52-49. Three sophomores, Kaylah Pinkney, Alison Toscano and Gabby Nouri, all play key roles for Tuxedo. Senior point guard Cori DeLisi is Tuxedo’s leader on the offensive end.
- About Hamilton: Hamilton, the Section 1 champion, lost to John A. Coleman Catholic in this round last season. Maia Hood, the team’s leader scorer and rebounder, is out for the season after tearing an ACL in a Feb. 4 game. Seniors Tiffany Corselli (20.3 points) and Jasmine Robinson (15.5), both named to the Section 1 all-tournament team, have picked up the scoring slack.
- What to watch: Pinkey was in foul trouble in the first half of the Section 9 final and she didn’t make a single field goal in Tuxedo’s win over Chester. She must be a factor if Tuxedo wants to hang with a dynamic Hamilton squad.
- They said it: “This group of kids, we were 5-4 at one point in the season in the middle of January. We just got spanked. We’ve won 10 of the last 11 and the one loss was to Chester, which was our third game in three days. I’m just so proud of these kids because we’ve really come together.” – Tuxedo head coach Dave Powers
- Next up: The winner of this game plays the Long Island champion at 1 p.m. on Saturday in a state quarterfinal at Adelphi University. Stony Brook and Friends Academy play for the Long Island title in an opening round game this week.
I’ve also been posting highlight/interview videos on Youtube this week. Here is the video from Sunday’s games: