Over the winter break, Eastchester’s hoopsters kept busy, competing at the annual Slam Dunk Tournament held at the Westchester County Center on Dec. 26 and 27.
Though the Eagles may not have walked away with a tournament win, their ability to hang with some tough out-of-section teams in the big venue might bode well for the Class A contenders.
Playing in the tournament opener against CHSAA power Iona, the Eagles suffered their first of two defeats the day after Christmas, falling to the Gaels 79-69. For the Eagles–whose loss to the Gaels was their first of the season–three-point shooting proved the difference maker as the Gaels were paced by 6-foot-7 junior Matt Ryan, who was able to convert on sixth three-pointers on the day.
Although Eastchester sophomore Benny Dimirco led Eagles scorers with a game-high 27 points, coming on eight three-pointers of his own, the balanced scoring of the Gaels proved too much for the Eagles to handle.
The following day in the consolation game, the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker against Brooklyn-based Beford Academy. Despite trailing by as many as nine points, the Eagles press defense helped them get going late, tying the game at 45 on a three-point play by Dimirco. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Bedford all but sealed the game when Layte Workman hit a jump shot with 30 seconds remaining in order to give the Brooklyn squad a 50-46 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Eagles, at 5-2, are still undefeated within Section I and are hoping that, by playing a stiff non-league schedule, they will be prepared if they reach the County Center during this year’s sectional playoffs. They return to Section I action on Jan. 6 against Ardsley. Prior to that, Eastchester will play another tough out-of-section game on Jan. 4, when it plays reigning Section IX champ Kingston at Poughkeepsie High School.
-Reporting by Mike Smith