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By Melanie Cane


The Garnets were hoping for their ninth straight win when they hosted rival Harrison on January 11. Unfortunately, due to a slow first quarter and foul trouble Rye lost to the Huskies 52-48 in an exciting, competitive, back and forth game.

The Huskies opened the game with a 3-point shot from the post and a full court press which set the tone for the first quarter. Rye’s Teaghan Flaherty and Ellie Dailey tied the game at 5, but Rye spent the rest of the quarter chasing Harrison and accumulated four team fouls. The quarter ended with Rye down 17-10.

The Garnets came out much more aggressively in the second quarter. Freshman Amanda Latkany scored on three jump shots and a foul shot. Flaherty added a few more baskets and suddenly the teams were knotted at 22. At halftime, the Huskies led 30-27.

The Garnets took their first lead in the third quarter on shots from four different players. With Rye up by three, play became frenetic. Both teams stole the ball, fouled, and ran fast breaks. Flaherty had to sit out the end of the quarter because she had four personal fouls. The Garnets outscored the Huskies 14-5 and took a 38-35 lead into the last quarter. 

With Flaherty still on the bench at the start of the fourth quarter, the Huskies chipped away at Rye’s lead. Latkany, Dailey, and Margaret Mitchell all scored, but Harrison tied the game at 42 with five minutes left to play. After two answered baskets, the Huskies pulled ahead 49-46 on a jump shot and foul shot with 34 seconds left and beat Rye by four.

Flaherty scored 22. This is the sixth game in a row she has scored over 20 points. Latkany added 13.

Coach Dennis Hurlie said, “Teaghan has been our offense most of the season. It was a special lift to have Amanda contribute so much. If we can get more contributions like that from other players it will help us be a more complete offensive team and take pressure off Teaghan.”

On defense, continued Coach Hurlie, “the whole team played well in the second half and that Hannah Mullaly has been a rock all season.” He said it is hard to defend against an exceptional player like Avery LaBarbera, who scored 28 points. We got away from our game plan a bit with her. However, in the second half our focus and execution was outstanding and it allowed us to get back in the game.”

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Niamh Carter going up for a shot.

Teaghan Flaherty going around defender.

 

 

 

By Mitch Silver

The Rye Neck Boys’ and Girls’ bowling teams traveled to their home lanes at Bowlerland in the Eastchester section of the Bronx for an important meeting with the keglers from Valhalla High. The Panther girls are the defending league champs and currently sitting in second place under first-year Coach John Suman, a longtime Physical Education teacher in the White Plains school district. His Rye Neck boys are in third.

Rye Neck has a strong history in the sport of bowling. Athletic Director Joe Ceglia puts it this way: “Section 1 is a very strong bowling section throughout the State of New YorkAnd we are more than competitive in Section 1.”

In addition to the Panther girls rolling their way into last year’s Section 1 tournament, Tom Collins of the Class of 2016 qualified for Sectionals in both his junior and senior years. Junior Joe Yang leads both Rye Neck teams, though he has some work to do in order to qualify for the Sectional tourney.

These results are especially good considering Rye Neck is one of the smallest schools competing in the Section. The largest schools in up-county Westchester and Rockland, where large, modern bowling facilities are located within five to minutes of the schools, typically dominate the postseason tournaments.

Right now, Margaret Kohler, Giulianna Miceli, Yolisima Zaria Vergel, Nina Sullivan, Olivia Allison, Sirsha O’Day, and Jamie Straza provide strong internal competition for the five places on the varsity squad. Yang, Gabe Motolinia, Noah Thurer, Vincenzo Griffo, Edward Lopez, Ryan Busby, James McSweeney, and Zach DiPalermo are equally competitive on the boys’ side.

 Coach John Suman, right, joins his Rye Neck keglers just before they would meet and defeat Valhalla. From left to right in the back row are Gabe Motolinia, Noah Thurer, Vincenzo Griffo, Edward Lopez, Ryan Busby, James McSweeney, Margaret Kohler, and Coach Suman. In the middle row are Giulianna Miceli, Joseph Yang, Yolisima Zaria Vergel, Nina Sullivan, Olivia Allison, Griffin Anderson, and Sirsha O’Day. In front are Jamie Straza and Zach DiPalermo.

 

 

By Mitch Silver

How’s this for a strange game? Rye Country Day jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 75 seconds of their home game against Masters School last Friday. Masters then scored the next 16, a run that only ended when Wildcat Shane Regan made a tough left-handed shot in the lane with nine minutes left in the half.

Even worse from Head Coach Steve Gage’s perspective, his team was whistled for ten fouls by then, forcing him to shuffle players in and out for the rest of the game.

Man for man, Masters was bigger and more muscled at every position on the floor. That strength was a big reason why the Grandview Avenue boys lost at least four offensive rebounds to the Panthers, rebounds they had in their hands that went the other way for fast-break scores.

The Panther-Wildcat catfight appeared to be all over at the half, with the hot-shooting visitors leading 46-34. But Coach Gage must have pushed the right buttons in the locker room, because his team came out playing with renewed vigor. Three minutes into the second half, Rye Country Day had cut the deficit in half to 54-48. Center Sam Berger, Billy O’Meara, and Jason Schnall all hit three-pointers, with Berger scoring ten of his game-high 15 points by the 8-minute mark.

In the end it was the Wildcats’ speedy guards, Ben Pearce and Cole Price, who kept getting to the line to keep Gage’s men in the contest. Berger would close the gap to 60-56 before the faster, tougher team from Masters — a team that stayed in its full-court press the whole game — pulled away to win by a deceptively large 14-point margin.

The Wildcats wound up with four players — Berger, Price, Allan Houston, and O’Meara — in double figures.

Afterwards, Coach Gage put his finger on the problem. “In the first half, we were unorganized. Once we broke their press, we didn’t run anything. I liked the way Cole Price and the others competed; we just didn’t make the plays Masters did. They played really hard, ran the floor... they played great.”

Rye Country Day met King School post-press time. The team travels to Greens Farms January 19 to try to atone for the 73-65 loss they suffered January 6.

Ben Pearce (3), Allan Houston (20), and Cullen Coleman (30, rear) fight for the rebound.

Allan Houston cans a jumper as Billy O’Meara (2) and Jason Schnall look on.

 

By Melanie Cane

The Rye High Girls’ Squash Team 1 played Holy Child at Westchester Country Club on January 12 and came out on top 6-1.

With All-American Caroline Baldwin away at a national tournament in Baltimore, the rest of the Garnets lineup moved up. Sophie Barber, who normally plays No. 2, came up against the Gryphon’s top player, Eliza Mills, who is ranked 38 nationally in her age group. Mills topped Barber in three close games, and called it a very tough match. “Sophie placed the ball really well and I had to fight for every point. I just couldn’t let up.”

In the second spot, Rye senior co-captain Caroline Kacha finished off a strong week with a win over Katie Hodulik. Earlier in the week, Kacha came from behind for two dramatic five-game match victories — at home against Staples High School’s top player, and in New York City, against Thurgood Marshall’s No. 2 player. 

The Garnets varsity team is 6-3 on the season with a busy stretch of matches in the coming weeks against tough competition, including Poly Prep, Hopkins School, Blair Academy, and a likely league final showdown against New Haven Public Schools, which has beaten the girls twice this season.

Coach Tony Campbell said he is looking forward to having Baldwin back and to an exciting second half of the season. 

Holy Child Coach Maureen Fearon said the girls always enjoy playing against the Garnets. Rye High has four girls squash teams and the Gryphons compete against all of them.

 

Caroline Kacha nailing a backhand.

 

 

Gryphon Eliza Mills reaching for a low forehand in her match against Garnet Sophie Barber.

 

 

 

 

By Mitch Silver

 

If ever the term “winning ugly” applied to a basketball team, it fit the Rye Garnets last Saturday evening as they won the Mamaroneck Tigers’ 21st Annual Boys’ Basketball Tournament by beating a game Alexander Hamilton five in the final 43-33.

It was the Garnets’ second straight Tigers’ Tourney victory. They defeated the hosts in a double-overtime thriller of a final in 2017, after crushing last year’s Hamilton squad by 25 points in the prelim.

It probably would have been another 25-point margin this time around had the Garnets not missed countless layups and tap-ins around the rim, had three-point specialist A.J. Thompson not gone cold from the arc, and had Rye shot any better than 6 of 15 from the foul line, many of them the front end of one-and-one opportunities. (Only sophomore Quinn Kelly had his shooting boots on, nailing three treys on the way to a team-leading 16 points.)

So how, with all that going against them, did Head Coach John Aguilar’s squad keep its current record unblemished at 12-0 and win the final by double figures? Aguilar was all smiles after the game. “Defense won it for us, as it has all season. This is the best ‘D’ I’ve ever had here in my years of coaching.”

Rye used a trapping half-court and three-quarter press to keep the Red Raiders’ guards off balance, while sometimes retreating into a compact zone that forced the losers to shoot from the outside. When they missed, as they often did, Thompson, Will Tepedino, and Samberg were under the boards, boxing out their men to grab the rebound.

It was all a far cry from the excitement and emotion of the preliminary game a night earlier.
With Samberg the only starter back from last year, the Garnets knew their unbeaten record was in for a major test from their 8-2 hosts. When they found themselves trailing by 10-4 after the first period, they might have panicked. Instead, they kept with the game plan of working the ball inside and out, looking for the open man. That man often turned out to be speedy sophomore Matt Tepedino, who helped Rye tie things up with his shooting at 14-all at the half.

The second half was no contest. Senior A.J. Thompson scored eight of his 12 points in the third quarter, and the young Tepedino added nine of his game-high 16 as they iced things in the fourth for a 53-34 win over their hosts.

 

Hamilton, which beat Port Chester 75-47 in the other Friday prelim to move to a sparkling 8-1 on the year, proved to be no match for the Garnets in the final.

 

Rye’s unblemished record came to an end Wednesday, January 17 when the Garnets fell 56-52 to defending league champ Byram Hills and the Bobcats’ 6’6” junior center, Ben Leff, The big man had just three points at halftime but finished with 22. Quinn Kelly had a team-high 14 points for the locals and A.J. Thompson added eight. The teams meet again at Rye on Feb. 2.

 

The Garnets bounced back big time two nights later by beating a strong Ardsley team, 60-42.

Center A.J. Thompson dominated with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Quinn Kelly (12), Matthew Tepedino (11), and Max Samberg (10) joined him in double figures for Rye. Will Tepedino also had five points, three rebounds and three assists.

 Garnet junior Jack Neave (foreground) and A.J. Thompson apply suffocating defense.

Sopohomore Matt Tepedino accepts the tourney MVP award.

Coach Aguilar’s son holds the trophy that’s as big as he is while the team and coaches look on.  

 

 

By Mitch Silver

Knute Rockne would be proud. Shawn Lincoln, the veteran coach who’s returned to helm the Lady Panthers in 2017, followed his team off the floor at halftime of their home game against Solomon Schechter December 7, passing directly under the scoreboard that showed the game was tied at 10-all. While dominating the boards in the first two periods, the Rye Neck girls missed shot after shot, many of them easy tap-ins.

Whatever Coach Lincoln said during the break, his group returned to the floor a completely different team. This one could shoot, and they reeled off 12 uncontested points in the first five minutes of the third period.

That 22-10 lead became a 33-17 final. So, what magic did the bossman impart to his players?

“I wish I could say it was fire-and-brimstone halftime talk that has allowed us to play the way we have in the second half of games,” Coach Lincoln said afterwards. “But the truth is, we made a couple of minor adjustments. The players simply came out focused and determined to execute the game plan. I couldn't be more proud of the girls to this point in the season with their chemistry and the way they have responded to each challenge.”

A day later, the Panthers met the host team in the Hamilton Tournament in Elmsford. It was an intense game from start to finish. Like the Schechter get-together, it was tied at halftime. And it was all knotted after three.

With just six seconds left in a tied game, the Panthers’ wide-open corner shot rimmed out. However, sophomore Morgan Parker crashed the weak-side boards and scored on a put-back with two second to go for the winner.

The title game against Croton-Harmon was postponed due to snow, and will be played at a later date. Rye Neck took on Hastings post-press time, and then will be off on a well-earned rest until 2018.

Juniors Charlotte Murphy (2) and Elle Katsaros (24) look to cut off the pass.