By Mike Smith
After an eight-day layoff, Harrison’s boys basketball team wasted little time picking up where it left off, dropping John Jay 60-48 in the first round of the Class A playoffs on Feb. 16.
With the win, Harrison advances to the second round on Feb. 19 as it looks to continue its march towards the County Center.
The Huskies got big days offensively from Matt Stein, who scored 22 points, Coby Lefkowtiz (15) and Joe Nan-nariello (10), but despite the balanced attack, head coach Gary Chiarella felt his team could have been a little sharper on the offensive end if not for some weather-related delays at the end of the week.
Despite Harrison’s double-digit win, the Huskies found themselves behind early, as their shots were not falling from the floor or the charity stripe.
“Honestly, I felt we were a little bit rusty,” Chiarella said. “We were only 8 for 12 from the free-throw line, and I think that having not playing against another team in eight days didn’t help us.”
After playing their last regular season game on Feb. 8, the Huskies–like other squads in Section I–had to wait out the snow in order to begin the playoffs, which were scheduled for a Feb. 13 start. In that time, Harrison did its best to carve out a little practice time in order to get ready.
“With that storm, we had to wait till the late afternoon until the roads got better to get into the gym,” Chiarella said. “We’re just happy to have this game under our belts, play against a team who wasn’t us and come away with a win.”
The Huskies will be back in action on Feb. 19 after press time, against a 12th-seeded Somers team that upset 5th-seeded Saunders.
Somers, behind Matt Moros’ 12 points, was able to beat the Blue Devils 54-51 to advance to the second round.
According to Chiarella, the Tuskers are a team that blends some quick, accurate outside shooters with a lot of size up front. The undersized Huskies have been matched up against larger teams all year, the head coach said, so giving up a few inches won’t be a foreign concept when they take on Somers.
“Height-wise, Somers might be taller than Fox Lane, but I don’t think they’re more physical than Fox Lane or a team like Peekskill or even Byram Hills,” Chiarella said. “Playing against teams like that, I think it’s prepared us for this game.”