Class A quarterfinal
Wallkill (20-1) vs. Maine-Endwell (14-4)
Saturday, 2 p.m., Binghamton High School
About Wallkill: The Panthers are playing in the state quarterfinal round for the first time in school history after winning a thrilling game over Peekskill in the opening round of the state playoffs. Wallkill lost a 23-point second half lead, falling into a 62-62 tie when Peekskill stole and converted a Wallkill inbounds pass with 5.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Kelly Markisello found the ball in her hands at the other end of the floor as time expired, sinking a 15-foot floater from near the free-throw line to give Wallkill a 64-62 win at the buzzer. In Wallkill’s only previous state tournament run in 2011, the Panthers lost to Maine-Endwell in the opening round. Wallkill, a well-balanced team inside and out, gets a second chance against Maine-Endwell on Saturday.
About Maine-Endwell: The Spartans have played just twice since Feb. 13. On that date, M-E lost to Oneonta and didn’t play again until the Section 4 Class A final earlier this month. M-E won that game to clinch its fifth Section 4 title in the last seven years. The Spartans are led by 5-foot-11 junior Julie Yacovini, who averages 12.7 points per game. She is the team’s only regular double-digit scorer. M-E fans should pack Binghamton High’s gym, as the boys’ team plays John S. Burke Catholic in a Class A state quarterfinal following the girls’ game.
Keys to the game: Wallkill really only uses two players – Bridget McKeever and Christine Benken – off the bench in most games, so staying out of foul trouble is key for the Panthers. When sophomore guard Chelsea Murphy picked up her fourth foul in the game against Peekskill, Wallkill started to lose its big lead. Wallkill needs its five starters on the court for as much of this game as possible. Maine-Endwell might be a bit rusty, so Wallkill might be well-suited to make this a high-scoring, fast-paced game right from the start. Since M-E has just one player that averages double-digit points, they might not be able to keep up. Wallkill knows a thing or two about having a semi-home court advantage at Mount Saint Mary, but Maine-Endwell will have a similar edge in playing close to home in Binghamton. Will Wallkill be able to focus in a strange gym after a long bus ride?
Class AA quarterfinal
Monroe-Woodbury (20-1) vs. Ossining (19-4)
Sunday, 2:45 p.m., Christl Arena, West Point
About M-W: The Crusaders, who won a Section 9 title for the first time since 1989, haven’t played in the state playoffs since George Bush – the first one – was in the White House. Monroe-Woodbury hasn’t won a state playoff game since beating Catholic Central of Troy in the opening round of the 1987 Class A tournament. This version of the M-W girls’ basketball team relies heavily on balance, as senior guard Kerrie Walsh (14.1 ppg) and junior guard Kerry McHugh (10.9) lead the team in scoring, but seven other players average at least 2.0 points per game. M-W’s only loss was a 36-33 defeat at Minisink Valley on Jan. 15.
About Ossining: The Section 1 champion and the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Ossining defeated Section 4 champion Horseheads in an opening round game on Tuesday in New Rochelle, 69-49. Unlike M-W, Ossining is high-scoring and star-driven. Ossining has averaged 83.6 points per game, led by Connecticut-bound senior guard Saniya Chong, who averages 34.8 points and 9.4 assists. M-W and Ossining had a common opponent this season in Newburgh Free Academy. The Crusaders beat NFA twice by a combined score of 95-67. Ossining beat NFA in one head-to-head matchup, 102-38.
Keys to the game: Monroe-Woodbury had scored a grand total of eight points at the half in a Section 9 championship game win over Kingston. That kind of effort simply isn’t going to get it done against the best offensive girls’ basketball teamin the country. According to schools that post stats to MaxPreps, Ossining’s 83.6 points per game is best in the nation. The Crusaders can’t concern themselves too much about stopping Chong because no one has solved that riddle. They simply need to try to keep up in what’s bound to be a high-scoring game.
I will be covering both of these games this weekend. If you can’t make the trip and you’re looking for updates, check our championship scoreboard on Varsity845.com or my Twitter page: @THR_Montgomery.