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High School Basketball Teams Ready to Hit the Hard Court

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February 17, 2021

By Tom Pedulla—

The Hudson Independent examines the prospects of local schools for the varsity basketball season. Due to the pandemic, Hackley School in Tarrytown and The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry will not field basketball teams this winter.

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GIRLS

DOBBS FERRY

Last year’s record: 11-12

Top returnees: Senior point guard Kayla Halvorsen, senior guard Erin Hogan, senior forward Julia Schwabe.

Key to success: Schwabe looks to build on an outstanding junior season in which she averaged 23 points and 13 rebounds per game. Great results also are expected from Halvorsen, an excellent ball-handler and shooter who will spearhead an up-tempo offense. Hogan is a tenacious defender.

Coach’s Quote: “My expectations are pretty high. We had a rebuilding season last year. I hope to win a lot of games. We have a pretty solid roster.” – Stephanie Mills

IRVINGTON

Last year’s record: 17-7

Top returnees: Senior guard Aine Cleary, senior forward Kate Hanna, senior forward Katie LeBuhn, senior center Grace Thybulle.

Top newcomers: Junior forward Sara Gavagan, freshman guard Anders Knapp, sophomore guard Amanda Raimondo.

Key to success: The Yale-bound Thybulle anchors a strong senior core. LeBuhn also is attracting college interest. Gavagan finished as the second-leading rebounder last year. She is an excellent defensive player.

Coach’s Quote: “They have to keep the attitude they have now, to do the right thing to be able to play and to play well. We have to continue to be smart and safe.”– Gina Maher

SLEEPY HOLLOW

Last year’s record: 9-14

Top returnees: Junior forward Elle Bertolacci, junior guard Alexa Charles, senior guard Emma Clarke, senior guard Bella Myers.

Top newcomers: Sophomore guard Shea Bertolacci, junior guard Juliana Jean Largess, sophomore guard Lilly Lopez, sophomore forward Lotte Steinert, sophomore center Natalia Wagner.

Key to success: Sleepy Hollow made significant strides in Tony Pignataro’s first season, leading him to be named Coach of the Year. They will look to Clarke and Charles to lead them to bigger and better things. Clarke is a pure shooter with a great understanding of the game. Charles is outstanding in every aspect and may be able to take her game to the college level with continued development.

Coach’s Quote: “I want to improve on where we were last year. I think we’re definitely in a better situation. I think the team understands basketball a lot better now. I think we’re going to do fine.” — Tony Pignataro

BOYS

DOBBS FERRY

Last year’s record: 18-6

Top returnees: Senior guard James McGovern, senior center Sebastien Orlowski, senior point guard Ryan Ritch.

Top newcomers: Junior forward Ryan Brunenavs, senior forward Harry Dann.

Key to success: With Ritch as the lone returning starter, many players will have to step up for the Eagles to enjoy a successful season. McGovern will be expected to pick up much of the offensive load. The 6-6 Orlowski must emerge as an offensive and defensive force inside. Brunenavs was a junior varsity standout who must transfer his skills to the varsity level. Dann, better known as the Eagles’ quarterback, returns to basketball after taking a year off from the program. He makes up in feistiness what he lacks in size.

Coach’s Quote: “It’s really going to be about how fast we can get ourselves to a level where we’re reaching our potential. We always say we want to be peaking in February and this year we’re starting in February. It’s going to be tough for us to make the adjustments so quickly and with so much change. We’re going to have to make the most out of every minute we’re together. I think early on we’re going to have to play really good defense until our offense comes around.” – Scott Patrillo

IRVINGTON

Last year’s record: 9-12

Top returnees: Senior forward Andrew Brereton, senior guard Edward Hanlon, senior point guard Liam Pakola, junior forward Liam Sawian.

Top newcomers: Freshman guard Christian Davis, junior forward Eliav Malone, senior forward Jacob Stein.

Key to success: The backcourt is in good hands with Hanlon and speedy point guard Pakola. Brereton is a capable scorer and rebounder in the frontcourt. Although Davis is only a freshman, he possesses tremendous upside and has the ability to make an immediate impact. He represents a great building block for first-year coach David Boykin.

Coach’s Quote: “It’s going to be a quick learning curve with a new coach, but I expect us to be very competitive.” — David Boykin

SLEEPY HOLLOW

Last year’s record: 6-14

Top returnees: Senior center Julian Asante, senior forward Kishaun Cole, senior center Mike Gates, senior guard Ben Good, senior center Zach Rudder, junior guard Todd Smith, senior forward Kevin Sullivan.

Top newcomer: Junior guard Tommy Rickles.

Key to success: Sleepy Hollow must play better defense if it is to capitalize on a very strong senior presence that is capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Players recognize that it is now or never for a group that has endured its share of adversity while building toward this season.

Coach’s Quote: “Our expectations are very high. That’s not something I’ve said a lot over the years. We’d like to go out and win our league and, if we’re fortunate enough to have playoffs, really make a run.” – Chris Starace

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