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Sports – High School Basketball Previews for Local Boys and Girls Teams

by Tom Pedulla

The Hudson Independent examines the prospects of local schools for the upcoming varsity basketball season.

Girls

Hackley senior guard Kristen Bringsjord

Hackley senior guard Kristen Bringsjord

HACKLEY

Head coach: Margaret Scarcella, second season
Last year’s record: 18-7
Top returning players: Forward Krissy Barrett (5’11”, jr.), Guard Kristen Bringsjord (5’6”, sr.), Guard Meaghan Cunningham (5’4”, sr.), Guard Ismene Germanakos (5’3”, soph.), Forward Ijeoma Nworkie (5’10”, jr.), Guard Jordan Wade (5’5”, soph.).

Key to success: Hackley will count on tenacious defense to compensate for what it lost in height and speed. It will look to be efficient on offense while harassing opponents into mistakes and quick possessions.

“Heart, hustle and hard work will define our season.”
– Scarcella

IRVINGTON

Head coach: Gina Maher, 41st season
Last year’s record: 23-2
Top returning players: Forward Mary Brereton (5’9”, jr.), Forward Kelly Degnan (5’8”, jr.), Guard Heather Hall (5’6”, jr.), Guard Lindsay Halpin (5’6”, sr.), Guard Katie McMahon (5’7”, sr.), Guard Olivia Valdes (5’7”, jr.).

Key to success: The Lady Bulldogs feature exceptional depth, including a promising group of sophomores and freshmen. Coach Maher will seek to capitalize on that by ramping up the defense and substituting frequently to ensure that players are able to compete with great energy at all times during a demanding schedule.

“I’m very optimistic. If they continue to work as hard as they’ve been working, they should be very successful. They’ve played together for a long time; they get along very well together. They’re excited and I’m excited. I’m not going to say we’ll be 23-2 again because it’s going to be very challenging.”
– Maher

SLEEPY HOLLOW

Head coach: Nick Romeo, 11th season
Last year’s record: 6-15
Top returning players: Guard Taylor Burnett (5’6”, soph.), Guard Sara Clarke (5’7”, soph.), Foardward Maggie Cusanelli (5’10”, sr.), Guard Gabby DelMonaco (5’8”, jr.), Foarward Marissa Fortugno (5’9”, sr.), Guard Grace Yawman (5’7”, sr.).

Key to success: Everything will revolve around defense and the ability to make stops that will lead to points off the running game.

“We have a very difficult schedule in league play. But if we pull together, we can shoot for 10 wins or more.”
– Romeo

Boys

HACKLEY

Head coach: Antione Johnson, second season
Last year’s record: 5-14
Top returning players: Guard William Ballentine (6’, sr.), Forward Andrew Chung (6’3”, sr.), Guard Matt Jean (6’2”, soph.), Forward William Jones (6’4”, sr.), Forward Jordan Patrick (6’3”, sr.)

Key to success: Turnovers and lack of confidence played a huge part in Hackley’s struggles last season. There is a renewed emphasis on maximizing possessions and overcoming adversity.

“As a first-year coach last season, we struggled to adjust to a new system. In my second full year, players will have a better understanding and familiarity with our style of play and expectations within our system.”
– Johnson

IRVINGTON

Head coach: Scott Brennen, 2nd season
Last year’s record: 6-14
Top returning players: Guard Daniel DeMatteo (5’9”, sr.), Guard Colby Martins (5’9”, soph.), Forward Henry Monness (6’, sr.), Center Sydney Thybulle (6’6”, soph.), Guard Thomas Wassman (5’10”, sr.).

Key to success: The Bulldogs will aim to combine stifling defense with tenacious rebounding in order to trigger their fast break to create layups and open looks.

“I think 12-8, 13-7 is realistic. Our goal is to reach the County Center for the Class B semifinals.”
– Brennen

SLEEPY HOLLOW

Head coach: Chris Starace, third season
Last year’s record: 12-10
Top returning players: Guard Malik Jones (5’9”, jr.), Forward Andrew Laub (6’7”, sr.), Guard Sean McCarthy (6’, jr.), Guard Jack Starkey (6’, sr.), Center Troy Tallman (6’4”, sr.), Forward Ethan Wilens (6’3”, jr.).

Key to success: Players bought into a rigorous off-season conditioning program, hitting the weights often and hard. There is every reason to expect that it will pay off with a stronger team that will be harder to keep off the boards and harder to defend.

“This is a very athletic team. We are going to be very up tempo and try to dictate the pace of the game.”
– Starace

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