Third-year Rye basketball head coach John Aguilar knew there’d be days like this.
By Mitch Silver
Third-year Rye basketball head coach John Aguilar knew there’d be days like this. His Garnets ran into a hot-shooting Pleasantville squad December 13, and dropped the title game of their own tournament, 67-55. The Panthers’ Chris Maloney, the same sniper who rained threes down two weeks earlier against Rye Neck, did it again and finished with 21 points as the tourney’s MVP.
At least Rye is making it into the finals this year. Last year’s 5-wins-on-the-season squad was just a distant memory as the Garnets ran off three wins in ten days. First they traveled to Yonkers and came home winners by 44-39 as shooting guard Charlie Nagle, up from last year’s JV, poured in 15 points. A week later they hosted Port Chester and humbled the taller, speedier Rams, 82-50. With Coach Aguilar shifting from a 1-2-2 zone to a 3-2 zone (“We needed to stop them shooting from the elbow”), Rye stole the ball repeatedly for at least a dozen uncontested baskets. Nagle put up a team-leading 24 points and baseball/basketball star George Kirby drilled three 3-pointers to add 15.
It was another five-point win December 12, against Putnam Valley in Rye’s tourney opener. Kirby scored 21 and football tight end-turned basketball big man Drew Abate grabbed 12 rebounds in the 54-49 victory, a game they probably would have lost a year ago.
With Mark Croughan, Andrew Livingston, Patrick Hull, Pierce Crowley, and Will Durkee logging major minutes, the Garnets should be competitive in just about every game. “This may be the hardest working team I have ever coached at any level from top to bottom,” the coach said later. “If we continue to work and support each other, we can sneak up on some teams throughout the year.”
The Garnets beat rival Rye Neck 72-43 December 17.