by Tom Pedulla –
Dobbs Ferry boys’ basketball coach Scott Patrillo knew there would be inevitable growing pains when the decision was made to promote a group of sophomores to the varsity three years ago. He was more than ready to endure those, convinced there would be a significant reward.
“We knew there was something special about them,” Patrillo said. “It’s something we’ve been building as a group for a few years.”
Perhaps even Patrillo and his players never imagined how grand the reward would be.
The Eagles secured the Gold Ball as Section 1 Class B champions, the school’s first such boys basketball title in 52 years. They compiled a 21-5 record in advancing to the state regional final before bowing to overpowering Center Moriches, 66-42.
“A special experience for all of us,” said senior leader Zach Holzman of the team’s magical ride. “We’re all family on the team and every player and coach worked hard to achieve our goal of a Gold Ball.”
Seven seniors will graduate knowing they made an indelible mark on the program. Dimaunie Meredith will go on to play in college after providing one spectacular play after another. He routinely finished in double figures in points and rebounds. “He was our go-to player,” Patrillo said. “He’s a highlight film.”
Point guard Jack Baglieri orchestrated the offense as the point guard. “He was like a coach on the floor, able to fix everything on the fly,” the coach said.
Damani Fraser, at 6-3, represented a formidable inside presence. His ability to step outside to shoot a three-pointer created opportunities inside for teammates.
The gritty Holzman displayed natural leadership as a sophomore and continued to evolve into that role. Emilio Nolasco, Tevaun Holness and Patrick Straub were dynamic coming off the bench.
Holzman undoubtedly spoke for everyone when he said, “To have the season that we did and overcome the odds is an achievement I will never forget.”
The future appears to be bright with six juniors returning. The group is led by Lester McCarthy, who topped a balanced attack this season by averaging 12.7 points per game.