By Mitch Silver

The Rye Neck Boys’ Basketball team squeezed into the Section 1 Class C playoffs last week despite falling to Edgemont in a 58-52 heartbreaker at home. Or maybe it wasn’t a heartbreaker — certainly Head Coach Dan Lopez was heartened to learn the 6-14 Panthers made their way into the post-season.

“We’ll have to play the top seed,” the first-year coach said after the game, “but just getting into Sectionals means a lot to our guys. We put together a four-game winning streak this season, something Rye Neck hasn’t done in a couple of years.”

Their play against another group of Panthers, this one from Scarsdale, typified an entire schedule of play in 32 minutes. The Hornidge Road group did all the things winning teams do. They kept up a tough 2-3 zone defense most of the way, they outrebounded the somewhat taller visitors, but they couldn’t convert around the basket. Time and again a Rye Neck player would dribble his way in for a layup, or grab an offensive board for a putback, only to watch the ball bounce off the iron. And their outside shooting wasn’t much better.

Coach Lopez put it bluntly. “We can’t finish. If we could just make the easy ones we’d have had at least ten wins.”

Only senior co-captain Conor Liguori, who finished with a team-high 14 points, brought his shooting eye with him. Aiden Heaton added ten, Rafael Zyngler contributed nine, and sophomore Korey Greenland had eight.

There was another problem: no one could stop Liam Klein, who scored 19 points — nearly a third of Edgemont’s total — on drives and tap-ins.

The playoff schedule wasn’t posted at press time, but one thing is certain: Rye Neck will hit the road...with their heads held high.

Panther Conor Liguori nails a three despite Liam Klein’s best efforts.



Rafael Zyngler boxes out Edgemont’s Andrew Gallousis (21).


By Melanie Cane

Marek Nowak, Grant Myerson, and several other members of the Garnets' Indoor Track team have seen great success this season.

Despite placing second overall to Harrison in the Section 1, League II-C meet at The Armory on January 14, many of the Rye boys were league champions. Nowak won the 1600 meters and ran a leg of the 4X800 meters winning relay team, along with Alec Radtke, Liam Fallon, and Cian Galligan. Grant Meyerson won the weight throw with a new school record and Connor Maloney won the high jump. Anders Jensen placed second in the 1000 meters but tied the ninth fastest time ever run for Rye.

Two weeks later the Garnets competed in the Westchester County Meet at The Armory and placed fifth out of 41 teams, scoring in seven different events. Nowak won the 1600 meters run with a time of 4:27.31 and Meyerson won the 25-pound. weight throw with a hurl of 50’ 8 ¾”, another school record. The team of Joe Halasz, Floris Van Beurden, Ben Murphy, and Connor Maloney also set a school record in the 4X200 meter relay with a time of 1:34.88 – 14 Rye athletes had personal bests for their events.

The Garnet Girls’ team placed 10th out of 41 teams at Counties. Many members of the team had season-best times. Elena Perez-Segnini placed 4th in the 1000 meters with a time of 3:04 while Rachel Adelson placed 3rd in the 1500 meters. The 4X800 meters relay team came in second, breaking the girls’ school record running 9:54.  Perez-Segnini, Pippa Emms, Emma Alexa, and Adelson comprised the relay team.

Boys’ coach Jim Yedowitz noted how hard the team worked all season was pleased as evidenced in their achieving personal bests and John McGee said the girls accomplished a lot due to their hard work and determination. 

The track athletes will compete in Sectionals (Class B Championship)  at The Armory on February  7 and the Section 1 state qualifier February 18.


Rye’s League champions and distance standouts Rachel Adelson and Elena Perez-Segnini



By Mitch Silver

The Rye Garnets were under intense pressure as they took their gym floor on a recent Friday night. First off, it was Senior Night, and one of the biggest crowds in Rye basketball history — they turned people away at the door — were making the kind of noise a huge crowd makes in a high school gym. Second, the players knew a loss would eliminate any chance of winning a piece of the league title, something Rye hadn’t done since 2009. Third, they were playing Byram Hills, the defending champs and titleholders for three straight years.

Oh, and fourth: warming up on the other side of half court was Byram’s all-everything shooting guard Skylar Sinon, who’d scored 51 points three days earlier. That kind of pressure.

Head Coach John Aguilar described Rye’s strategy. “It was the best week of practice we’ve had all year and the boys carried that intensity into the game, which proved to be a back-and-forth affair the entire night. Defense was great for both squads; we were in a no-help defense on Sinon while doubling down inside on their 6’ 6” big man, Ben Leff. He scored 19 points in the second half against us at their place when they ended our 12-game winning streak back in January.

Now for the climax (only the first one, as it turned out): with five seconds left and the Garnets down three, Byram Hills planned on fouling. But by the time they did with 0.9 seconds showing on the clock, co-captain Samberg was already launching a three-pointer. The senior stepped to the line, needing to make all three free throws. Did someone mention pressure? Not, apparently, to Max Samberg. He calmly canned them all to send things into overtime.

The OT, as Yogi Berra would say, was déjà vu all over again. Samberg who will be called Mr. Clutch for the rest of his life hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie up the game yet again.

In the second five-minute overtime, Rye proved more than the Bobcats could handle. Though the visitors’ Mike Parrotta hit his sixth shot from beyond the arc, Samberg with 18 points on the night and Quinn Kelly with 16 provided enough firepower to nudge the Garnets over the line for the 60-57 win and a share of the title with Byram Hills.

The 17-3 Rye Garnets host the first game of the playoffs tonight at 7 p.m.

This Garnet squad will soon be included in a banner behind them.


By Melanie Cane

Like a revolving door, Wildcat Girls’ Basketball coach Scottie Nails frequently substituted three to four players at a time throughout their home game against King January 23.

Somewhat frustrated by his team’s occasional complacency and lack of hustle, Coach Nails wanted to keep the Wildcats on their toes.

Early in the game the teams played evenly, exchanging possessions and shots. The Wildcats got off four to five shots, but failed to finish. Their lackluster defense allowed the Vikings too many scoring opportunities. And by the end of the quarter, the score was knotted at 12.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats picked up the pace. Alana Jones made two consecutive fast break layups off steals, setting the tone for the quarter. Katie Lefever sank one from mid-key and Kat Brydson drew a foul under the basket. Jones scored two more times on drives to the basket. The Wildcats dominated for the rest of the quarter and jumped out to a 42-19 lead at halftime.

Rye Country Day maintained its lead in the third quarter, but King threatened a come back, seizing on the sloppy defense of their opponent. In another low scoring quarter, the Wildcats added four and the Vikings six.

With a 46-25 lead, Coach Nails continued rotating players. Jessica Yaffa stood out in the last quarter scoring six points and playing excellent defense.

While the Wildcats didn’t always gel on the court, they came out on top 60-48, and now, having won their last four games, have a 7-5 record.


Alana Jones with the layup

Kat Brydson making a foul shot 

Katie Lefever driving to the basket



By Mitch Silver

Here’s the kind of game it was: the best ball handler on the floor and the game’s high scorer, Taylor Brenneman, played for the other team, Pawling, last year’s Class C Sectional semifinalists. Her point total for the Tigers was more than double Rye Neck’s top two. And the Panthers, playing on their home court, made exactly one shot in the final eight minutes of play.

So, a humbling loss for Rye Neck? Au contraire.

Monday’s six-point victory at home over Pawling was a relatively easy one. And it was one that catapulted Rye Neck, whose 2017 record was 2-16, into the post-season.

Rye Neck Head Coach Shawn Lincoln knew the visitors would pull their players back to half court on every attempted free throw in hopes of applying pressure on a made shot. He made sure that stratagem didn’t work. He also shuttled his players in and out to keep them fresh. Which is partly why seven Rye Neck players hit the score sheet. Pawling had only three.

Meanwhile, Brenneman played every second at point guard, scoring 16 points —including three treys and creating nearly every Tiger assist. But she also created more turnovers than all of Rye Neck’s players combined.

On the home team’s side of the ball, sophomore Morgan Parker made clutch shots when her team needed them, junior Olivia Martino nailed a big three in the final quarter as Pawling made a mini-run, and freshman Kyera Hutt used her body effectively under the boards.

Afterwards, Coach Lincoln was smiling. “I thought we played with a lot of energy, which has been a pretty consistent theme for this team. And our ball movement was as good as its been this season, especially as we built up the lead.” The teams left the floor at halftime with Rye Neck up 20-10

I thought we got a strong defensive performance from Elle Katsaros, and some excellent play coming off the bench, on both ends of the court, from our back-up forward, Maura Gabrielle.

After facing Keio and Bronxville post-press time, the Panthers host Edgemont tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

Elle Katsaros hits the floor as Morgan Parker (3) and Alexa Garcia (25) look on.



Jessica Gottlieb looking for an open player

Freshman Kyera Hutt takes it to the rim with a vengeance.



By Mitch Silver

It’s feast or famine for the Rye Country Day Boys’ Squash team. Feast first: The Grandview Avenue Boys swept through King 7-0 a week ago and followed that up the next day with a 5-2 win up at Trinity-Pawling. Earlier victories over Charterhouse School U.K. (7-0), Hackley (4-3), Masters (5-2), and Rye High (6-1) have guaranteed the Wildcats a winning record heading into Nationals this weekend in Philadelphia.

Now for the famine: Head Coach Alex Langerhorst’s squad is still striving to join the area’s squash powerhouses. This season they’ve lost to Hotchkiss, Hopkins, Taft, and Brunswick by a total of 24 matches to 4.

There are at least a couple of reasons for the all-or-nothing look of the season record. First off, this is a very young Wildcat team. Only Rick Burke, playing at No. 1, is a senior among the top players. Then there’s the fact that many of Rye Country Day’s foes are not simply regional powers...they’re nationally ranked. Brunswick’s boys, in fact, were national champions in both 2015 and 2016 and runners-up last year.

As Assistant Coach Andy Lopez explained, private school squash programs, once they establish themselves as winning programs, are more likely to stay on top than public school teams. The reason? Parents direct their squash prodigies to the nationally ranked schools. The level of practice and play are tougher, and the visibility greater when it comes to college recruiting. “We’re still seeking that kind of reputation,” Coach Lopez said.

The Wildcats get another chance to build their reputation when they take on New Jersey’s Blair Academy at the Germantown Cricket Club this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

The Wildcats produce a little pre-match togetherness as Coach Andy Lopez and Head Coach Alex Langerhorst consult the line-ups.