With only a single pre-Christmas defeat smudging their record, the Rye High hoopsters met the host team Saturday evening in the championship game of the Mamaroneck Basketball Tournament.
By Mitch Silver
With only a single pre-Christmas defeat smudging their record, the Rye High hoopsters met the host team Saturday evening in the championship game of the Mamaroneck Basketball Tournament. The final proved to be everything the organizers hoped for: a great up-and-down-the-court game that wound up tied in regulation; an overtime that couldn’t decide a winner; and finally a second OT period when everyone — but especially the Garnets — ran out of gas.
The 85-79 defeat was the first for John Aguiar’s squad since they dropped a 43-30 decision to Eastchester at the Westchester County Center right before the holiday break. On the plus side, the last 30 days have seen the locals come up trumps against a host of league opponents.
First they toppled undefeated Hen Hud 51-47, rallying to beat the Sailors behind 28 points and three steals from shooting guard Charlie Nagle. Then came a 51-37 defeat of Somers. Senior sharpshooter George Kirby had 16 points and seven rebounds while classmate Mark Croughan had nine points and 11 rebounds. Then on January 13, the Garnets easily handled the Port Chester Rams, 52-40.
Forty-eight hours later they took the measure of Elmsford’s Alexander Hamilton High School in the Mamaroneck Tourney opener, 56-37. After a first quarter that ended knotted up at 13-all, the Garnets pressed the Red Raiders right out of the gym, holding them to a single bucket while tallying 17 of their own. For the game, Nagle finished with 21 points, Kirby added 15 and Croughan had 11.
Coach Aguiar took a moment afterwards to discuss tactics. “We don’t use our 3-2 zone press to steal the ball, though it’s nice when it happens. We use it to speed up the other team into playing faster than they want to. It also takes the ball out of the hands of their best ball handlers.”
An airtight defense was tougher to maintain Saturday against the Tigers, who’d manhandled Rye Neck in the prelim by 73-40. Still, it was a hotly contested affair. Coach Aguar said, “With the score tied at the end of the fourth quarter and George Kirby having fouled out of the game, we drew up a play for Charlie Nagle. There was significant contact on his shot, but no call was made.
“With a chance to win at the end of the first overtime, we looked for Mark Croughan. He got bumped and, even so, his shot nearly went in. Again, no call.”
After that, it was all Mamaroneck. The consolation game saw Hamilton defeat the Rye Neck Panthers, 59-31.
On Wednesday, Rye faced powerhouse Pelham post-press time. Tonight they’ll look to avenge that County Center loss to the Eagles when they travel to Eastchester. The opening tip is set for 6.