Rye High Boys’ Basketball
Garnets Top Nyack, Albertus Magnus and Head to Semifinals
BY CHRIS URBAN
Before the start of their February 21contest with Nyack, the Garnets were primed for playoff action and a chance at winning the Section title. “We’ve had one goal since day one: Win the section. Making the playoffs is just the beginning and we know we have to buckle down and play our best basketball. We are ready to do just that,” said James Mackle.
The team had an excellent regular season with a 16-4 record while locking up the No.3 seed in the Section 1 Class A playoffs. In addition, the Boys were co-league champs, giving them a bye. Quinn Kelly and Matthew Tepedino earned All-Section honors and Rafael Velasquez received All-League honors.
Over the break, to make sure the team was ready for success in the playoffs, there was a lot of team interaction. “I definitely think that will translate over to the court and bring much-needed energy in every game we play,” said Kelly.
That energy certainly showed in their 74-57 win over 13-seed Nyack.
Leading 15-12 at the end of the first quarter, both teams were efficient from beyond the arc, but Rye would begin to separate on a 9-0 run to start off the second quarter.
Rye’s half-court press caused dismay for Nyack, as the Garnets scored quick points off of steals and interceptions.
Velasquez dished a beautiful no-look pass dime to Mackle who once again, had a highlight-reel dunk. The Garnets lead at halftime was 33-21.
Of the play, Velasquez said that “I had two options between Matthew and a running James, but the defense was reading the pass to Tep so I just dumped it off to James instead. The dunk just made the pass feel so much more satisfying and it really got the crowd and team going down the stretch.”
Nyack would then start to chip away at Rye’s 12-point lead drawing to within eight, 39-31, midway through the third quarter. Rye responded quickly by going on a 7-0 run to silence Nyack’s momentum.
The game remained very competitive throughout the third quarter as both teams were flying up and down the court seamlessly scoring points left and right. Despite gritty efforts from Nyack, Rye lead 55-42 at the end of the third quarter.
Tepedino crafted his own 4-0 run for Rye to start the fourth. That would suck the energy out of Nyack’s upset hopes. Meanwhile, the Garnet defense was stifling down the stretch, not allowing any opportunities inside for the Indians while playing with the intensity of a determined unit.
In the Quarterfinals vs Albertus Magnus, the Garnets won 58-51 in a very fast and competitive game. Tied at 45 with four minutes left on the clock, Kelly came up clutch for Rye scoring the first six points on their late victory surge.
The Garnets will now face off against 7-seed Pearl River in the semifinals at the Westchester County Center on March 4, 6:30 p.m.