Eastchester basketball reaches county center
They may not have walked away as section champions in 2013, but the Eastchester Eagles may well have been the most fun team to watch in the area.
A young, undersized crew with a host of able bodies off the bench, the Eagles ran teams out of the gym last year, finishing with a 19-2 record and making an appearance at the county center, where they fell to Poughkeepsie.
Led by Jack Daly and Michael Milo, this Eastchester unit was about as well-oiled a ma-chine as you will find in high school athletics with each player committing to a full-court pressure defense that confounded just about every opponent the Eagles faced.
The Eagles also got an infusion of youth as freshman guard Benny Dimirco began to establish himself as a premier Section I player–and high energy guy–during the latter stages of the season.
For Eastchester‑a program that hadn’t played a sectional game at the county center since 1971‑ making it to Section I’s biggest stage was goal number one heading into the season. After the Eagles’ quarterfinal win that propelled them to a semifinal showdown with Poughkeepise, Jack Daly told the Eastchester Review just how special the trip was to him and his teammates.
“It didn’t matter who we were playing today,” Daly said after the game. “It’s all about making it [to the county center]. I’ve been going there since I was a kid to watch basketball but I’ve never played there. This is amazing.”
Bronxville falls at states to Cazenovia
For the last few years, the Broncos have run roughshod through Section I with an experienced crew of talented players looking to find that same success at the state level. Last spring, the Broncos nearly did just that, but fell in a title-game heartbreaker to a tough Cazenovia squad.
Bronxville plowed through the regular season and the playoffs with ease, dropping just one game on the year, and seemed poised to take home a state title in the early goings of the game, leading Cazenovia by three headed into halftime thanks to a tremendous effort from brothers Henry and Jack Grass as well as a stellar day in-net by goalie Eric Pass.
Cazenovia came out swinging in the second though, took the lead and won the time of possession battle to send the Broncos packing.
Although the Broncos lost a couple of key players to graduation, they will still have a roster chock full of guys who played significant minutes down the stretch last spring, and head coach Tim Horgan said after the game he believed the Cazenovia game would be great inspiration for 2014.
“They said that that they wished the next season started right away,” the head coach said. “That’s how much they want to get back out there and get after it.”
Tuckahoe football wins Class D
Although it’s not a rarity to see the Tigers hoist the Class D trophy come Novemeber, this year’s Tigers squad had a couple of setbacks that had some doubting whether its run as Section I champs would end this year.
Losing a number of key seniors who led the Tigers to an appearance at the Carrier Dome in 2012, the Tigers’ offseason was a tumultuous one as several procedural and behavioral accusations were leveled against the program, making the return of head coach John D’Arco, Sr. and his staff uncertain and forcing a halt to summer workouts for the squad.
Ultimately, with the support of the community behind them, D’Arco and his coaches returned and the Tigers got back on track after slogging through a grueling regular season schedule that saw them tangling with top teams from higher divisions, including Rye Neck and Bronxville.
When it came time to take on Haldane for the Class D crown, the battle-tested Tigers were ready for the challenge, easily dispatching the Blue Devils by a score of 42-8. For the team’s seniors, including quarterback Mike Castracucco, the opportunity to thrive in the face of adversity was a rewarding one.
“Honestly, this feels better than last year,” the quarterback said after the game. “I mean, it’s my senior year, so this means more.”