Here’s part 2 of today’s preview.
1. Ossining going for perfection: Ossining steamrolled through its competition throughout the regular season and the first two rounds of sectional play and now it will look to continue its undefeated ways in search for its second consecutive gold ball. The Pride have become an even tougher team this year, as Destini Walker and Jalay Knowles provide an extra offensive boost alongside Saniya Chong.
2. Chongsanity: In last year’s sectional play, Saniya Chong scored the second-highest single-game total in Section 1 history, when she dropped 61 points in the Class AA quarterfinals. She’s capable of going off on a scoring rampage at any given moment, but with a more experienced group around her, she’s also become an assist machine.
3. Double trouble in Carmel: Don’t be too surprised that the No. 10 seeded Rams are in the Class AA final four. Guards Sabrina Diaz and Alyssa D’Apice give Carmel a fighting chance and they have proven how tough they can be on opposing defenses with their speed and quickness, as they demonstrated in a quarterfinals upset against the No. 2 seed Arlington.
4. Can anyone take down Irvington and its Big Three? The two-time defending Class B state champion Bulldogs appear to be unstoppable with its fast-paced, high-intensity offense. While Lexi Martins, Brittni Lai and Marley Giddins can beat you on the run, they also give Irvington a top-notch defense.
5. Rockland domination in Class A:
Three of the four semifinalists in Class A are from Rockland County with Pearl River, Tappan Zee and Albertus Magnus all there. Last year’s champion Peekskill has already been dethroned and a new champ will be decided. Pearl River and Tappan Zee are considered the favorites to meet in what would be an exciting gold ball game as the teams split the season series.
6. Can anyone consistently break Pearl River’s 2-2-1 press?Pearl River has been stifling opponents with its 2-2-1 press ever since Lorrain Moylan took over as Pirates head coach 20 years ago. If any Class A team plans on taking down the No. 1 Pirates, they will have to figure out a way to hold onto the ball against this defense.
7. A new power in Class C: Hamilton is considered the heavy favorite in a smaller Class C field and with Maia Hood running the offense for the Red Raiders, it’s no surprise why. Last year’s sectional champion and state semifinalist Haldane is rebuilding and will have a lot to handle in its semifinals matchup against Hamilton.
8. Dobbs Ferry’s quickness vs. Blind Brook’s size: The last time these teams played, the Trojans found themselves in foul trouble as the Eagles continually drove hard to the basket. While Blind Brook had eked out a 44-43 win in that meeting, it will be interesting to see how Blind Brook’s forwards can halt Dobbs Ferry’s speed and stay out of foul trouble.
9. Will the third time be the charm for Solomon Schechter?: No. 3 Keio has already beaten No. 2 Solomon Schechter twice this season. The first game was a 27-21 win, but the second was won by a larger margin, 34-22. Hannie Everett led the Lions in both losses and will need to step up her game along with her teammates if they are to beat the Unicorns this third time around.
10. The experience factor: How much will experience matter at the Westchester County Center? Teams with players who have already been there such as Ossining, Irvington, Pearl River and Blind Brook know what to expect and know what it’s like to play on a bigger court under the lights, but teams such as Tappan Zee, Sleepy Hollow and Solomon Schechter may have some trouble adapting to what can be a very intimidating environment.