After winning the Section 9 Class B title on Saturday, Marlboro’s Ryan Cary and Zach Sakadelis received matching championship patches.
However, the pair of gritty guards shared something else, too: Matching lumps on their foreheads. It was the result of a first-quarter collision between Sakadelis and Cary.
Both looked dazed. However, this is Marlboro, where they grow ‘em tough. Sakadelis and Cary both stayed in the game, helping Marlboro to a 58-53 win over Spackenkill at SUNY New Paltz.
Marlboro will meet Our Lady of Lourdes of Poughkeepsie in the first round of the Class A state playoffs at 6 p.m. Tuesday at SUNY Purchase.
The other big winner on Saturday was John S. Burke Catholic. And when we say big, we mean real big!
Top-seeded Burke Catholic dismantled a talented New Paltz team, 63-34, to win the Class A championship. The Eagles were coming off a 68-67 win over Saugerties in the semifinals on Thursday.
After the game, Burke Catholic players said they wanted to send a message, coming off Saugerties. Mission accomplished. The Eagles, which had won the last four Section 9 Class B championships, opened the game with a 17-0 run. Game over.
Leading into the game, one match-up seemed glaring: The guards. New Paltz has primarily one ball-handler, Austin Stewart, who does a wonderful job. Then there is Burke Catholic’s small Army of guards. Jack Dwyer, Pat Joyner and Jesse Longmire can all run the point.
Kyle Smith, Michael Kelly and Mike Coffey can also handle the ball. Burke Catholic pressed New Paltz into submission in the first four minutes of the game. One point about Burke Catholic: During its five-year run, nobody has played the team game better, which is a key to coach Doug Janeczko’s system.
Speaking of the team game, streaking Kingston (17-2) is playing, among other things, unselfish. The top-seeded Tigers take on second-seeded Roosevelt for the Section 9 Class AA championship at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at SUNY New Paltz.
Kingston is seeking its first AA title since 2004 and are considered heavy favorites. The Tigers are coming off an 80-54 win over Newburgh Free Academy in the semifinals. Roosevelt beat defending champion Middletown 47-45 in the other semifinal on Friday night.
Back on Feb. 1, after Kingston beat Newburgh 81-60, coach Ron Kelder told me that the team kept getting better and better. The Tigers haven’t seemingly haven’t hit a plateau yet. Kingston has so many weapons. Who is going to beat you? J-Rob? Jordan DeCicco? Zack Short? Pat Dorrian? Micah Riddick? D.J. Mapes?
I actually finally met Roosevelt star guard “King” Felix Riascos and some of his court (that would be Roosevelt players) on Saturday at SUNY New Paltz. Nice meeting you, gentlemen. They offered no predictions for the Kingston showdown (good call) and were humble.
Kingston 66, Roosevelt 55: I think, defensively, Roosevelt may hang early. But Kingston will wear Roosevelt down with a stifling defense of it own and open it up on offense. Everyone knows the drill by now.
My semifinal predictions
Kingston 68, Newburgh 60 (Ouch! Kingston did have 34 points at halftime. Not good enough.)
Middletown 53, Roosevelt 49 (My gut told me to pick a Roosevelt upset. I didn’t. Wrong again!)