Sports – Local Basketball Squads Produce Mixed Results
by Tom Pedulla
The Hudson Independent looks at how the local basketball teams fared during the regular season:
With the exception of senior captain Kristen Bringsjord, Hackley depended heavily on a young and inexperienced roster in struggling to a 4-14 record. A season sweep of Fieldston and Bringsjord’s scrappy play provided a couple of highlights.
Second-year coach Margaret Scarcella said of Bringsjord, “She left everything on the court. She was always diving on the floor. She will be missed.”
Scarcella was encouraged by the progress of the Wade sisters. Jordan Wade, a sophomore, who paced the team in scoring with 10 points per game while Dylan, a freshman, also flashed potential. Hopes will be high for Ijeoma Nnworkie, a 5-10 forward, as she looks to her senior season.
Gina Maher, in her 41st season, has produced one exceptional team after another. She paid this year’s roster quite a compliment when she said, “I really love this team.” She also praised the unit as “probably one of the most cohesive teams I’ve coached.”
The Bulldogs rolled through the regular season at 19-1. Point guard Lindsay Halpin, the team’s lone senior, paced them in scoring with approximately 15 points per game. Kelly Degnan and Mary Brereton also averaged in double figures offensively.
The future appears to be blindingly bright since, after Halpin, the roster is composed of four juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen and one eighth grader.
Coach Nick Romeo viewed the season as a “learning experience” for a team that has young talent to build around. Sleepy Hollow finished at 8-13. Junior guard Gabby DelMonaco closed as the leading scorer. Sara Clarke, a sophomore guard, added an
important new dimension by developing a strong inside game to complement her reliable outside shot.
Romeo envisions sophomore Taylor Burnett and freshmen Adriana Davis-Sumpter and Jennifer Stewart as other building blocks. “We had an extremely difficult league schedule,” Romeo said. “We have to bring those lessons into next year.”
Hackley improved on last year’s 5-14 record but still found itself in an uphill climb to reach the break-even point. The loss of Andrew Chung, a senior forward and an integral member of the team, did not help. He required a season-ending surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand. Guard William Ballentine and forward Tyler Sexton-Holtmeir paced the scoring.
“We’ve made progress, but we’re still underachieving a little bit,” said Antione Johnson, in his second season as coach. Johnson hopes for more consistency from his players in the future.
Irvington’s off-season effort to improve on last year’s 6-14 record was rewarded with a turnaround 12-8 regular season. The Bulldogs gathered for a Team Camp last June, played nine games last summer and participated in workouts last fall. Improvement might have been greater if not for injuries and illness.
Second-year coach Scott Brennen has plenty to work with, beginning with sophomores Colby Martins (14.3 points per game), a guard, and Sydney Thybulle (11.8 points), a center. Sophomore Jared Topman and freshman James Rhodes were the first two players off the bench late in the season, an encouraging sign.
Third-year coach Chris Starace always thought his team was capable of beating any opponent on the schedule. The Horsemen proved that.
They upset highly-rated Our Lady of Lourdes 55-51 before a packed gym as part of a Senior Night to remember. Fittingly, seniors Andrew Laub (15 points), Troy Tallman and Jack Starkey (14 each) finished as the leading scorers in that game, the highlight of a 9-10 regular season.
Hard-working junior Sean McCarthy will be counted on to lead next year’s squad. Sophomore forward Daniel Williams shows great potential. Manny Perez is another sophomore with a big upside. “It’s really a good core we’re going to be bringing back,” Starace said.