Rye’s Matthew Tepedino accesses his options vs Byram Hills. 0488
After Tough Overtime Loss to Byram Hills, Garnets Triumph Easily Over Eastchester, Sleepy Hollow
BY CHRIS URBAN
With only 6 points scored in the first four minutes of play in Rye High’s big game against Byram Hills January 31, both teams were out of sorts and disorganized on offense. Rye point guard Quinn Kelly swerved to the rim to score two crafty buckets and shooting guard Rafael Velasquez hit a huge three-pointer as time was expiring in the first quarter to cut Byram Hills’ lead to one, 14-13.
Despite a feisty Byram Hills 2-3 zone, the Garnets went on a 10-0 run to lead by six points early in the second quarter. Allowing only six points all quarter, the Garnet defense stepped up to match Byram’s physicality in the paint, and took the lead at the half, 26-20.
Rye forward Alex Vollbrecht said, “It was a great crowd, a great environment to play in. I’ve never felt more intensity and passion within a basketball game.”
James Mackle and Kelly led the charge for the Garnets, consistently hitting good looks inside and outside of the arc, pacing the Garnets to a 41-35 lead after three.
With two minutes remaining, Rye had a 48-45 lead. The intensity was growing for both fanbases when Kelly came up big for the Garnets with a layup to make it 50-45, a two-possession game with 48 seconds on the clock. But the Bobcats made two free throws to cut the lead to three, regained possession, and, with 4.2 seconds left on the clock, Sam Goldman delivered a last-second three-pointer to send the game to overtime at 50-50.
Despite a heroic Kelly three-pointer to put Rye within two late in overtime, Byram eked out a 55-53 win.
The Garnets then faced off against Eastchester at home February 4, cruising to a 72-48 win, led by Kelly’s 21 points, Matthew Tepedino’s 15, and Mackle’s 13.
Three days later, Rye took on Sleepy Hollow away, claiming a 65-44 victory fueled by Kelly’s 26 points and Tepedino’s 17. The milestone win meant the Garnets have won 15+ games in five straight seasons for the first time ever.
Rye ended the regular season by crushing Pelham at home on February 12, 63-48 to go 16-4 and share the League championship.
On February 21, at home, the third-seeded Garnets will take on the winner of the Nyack (14)-Roosevelt (19) game.