For the second year in a row the Garnets (16-5) made it to the Section 1 Class A semifinals at the County Center, and for the second time, they lost.
By Melanie Cane
For the second year in a row the Garnets (16-5) made it to the Section 1 Class A semifinals at the County Center, and for the second time, they lost. But this year, they came within minutes of beating their opponent, Peekskill (18-3), who have won the Section title three times in the past four years.
Both teams hit the court running, playing high-level ball and answering one another’s shots. In the first four minutes, they were tied at 8. Then, the Garnets pulled ahead, finishing the quarter with a 12-8 lead. Both teams continued their frenetic play in the second quarter, with the scoring going back and forth. The Red Devils tied the score at 15 and then pulled ahead 21-18. Rye Coach Dennis Hurlie called his third time out four minutes into the quarter and the Garnets came back, pulling ahead 28-25 to end the half.
The teams resumed their neck-and-neck play in the second half, with Rye hanging onto a 45-44 lead at the end of the third quarter. With 2:36 left in the game, Peekskill tied it at 52, scored again, and grabbed the lead.
After another Rye timeout, Peekskill scored again. Rye answered back with a basket, but Peekskill hit two more and in short order was up 60-54. In the last seconds, Taylor Maurer hit two foul shots, but the damage was done and Rye lost 60-56.
Peekskill’s top scorer, Lanay Rodney, ended with 32 points. Rye’s top scorer was Maddie Eck with 22. Katie Popp added 18 and Maurer 11.
Coach Hurlie said if he could do it all again, the only thing he would change would be the length of the game. “We outplayed them for seven-eighths of the game, but they made more plays in the crucial last minutes. We got into some foul trouble for the first time in 20 games, which forced us to make some defensive changes and that hurt us, but I am prouder of this team than I have been of any team I have coached and they are proud of each other.”
As for the standout players, Hurlie said, “Everyone competed and played hard. Eck and Popp put on a show as always.”
Luckily for Rye, Eck, Popp, and Maurer will be back next year.