Allan Houston III sinks his fourth three-pointer of the opening period.
Rye Country Day Boys’ Basketball
Wildcats Seek NYSAIS Crown After 81-68 Defeat of Portledge
By Mitch Silver
Rye Country Day senior co-captains Allan Houston III and Billy O’Meara rained threes down on visiting Portledge in the first half of play Saturday—five by Houston and three by O’Meara—as their team jumped out to a 47-29 halftime lead in the semis of the New York State Association of Independent Schools playoffs.
The top-ranked Wildcats entered the game fresh off an opening-round 62-56 win over Manhattan’s Columbia Prep. Correction: they weren’t fresh. Head Coach Brendan Barile’s team took the floor for the semifinals just 19 hours after defeating the Lions. But if they were tired it was impossible to tell, as Houston was unerring from the arc and fellow senior Shane Regan netted 10 in the opening quarter on slashing drives and pullups to create a 12-point advantage after just eight minutes of play.
Later on, their coach would say, “I liked the intensity and passion our guys brought today.”
He really must have enjoyed the second quarter. O’Meara made a couple of threes, senior point guard Brett Robinson canned another, and Houston poured in seven more of his game-high 28 points to create that 18-point halftime bulge.
Despite the lopsided score, this was a game that featured sterling guard play by the Panthers. Jahmir Palmer, sporting a college player’s body, would muscle his way down low for 23 points on the afternoon. Lightning-fast Zaire Baines drove past defenders for layups or pulled up for threes. He scored 16. And swingman Dante Brooks scored all 17 of his points in the second half to keep the game close.
But, unlike a lot of teams the Wildcats played this year, the crew from Locust Valley had no one tall enough to dominate under the boards. So, swingman O’Meara was able to grab nine rebounds and Robinson another eight from his backcourt position.
On the other hand, second-seeded Friends Seminary, the team the Grandview Avenue Boys will face for the title today at Fieldston Academy, does have size to go along with their speed. They defeated Packer 65-57 and then dominated on the glass to run away from Staten Island Academy in the other semifinal, 66-37.
Coach Barile said of Friends, “They’re big, they’re smart. We’ll have our hands full.”