Good morning everyone. The 15th annual Slam Dunk Tournament wraps up today, but not before two more locals take to the court one last time.
North Rockland takes on Archbishop Molloy in the consolation game at 11 a.m., then Ossining looks to defend its title against Long Island Lutheran at 5 p.m. The latter match features two top-1o teams in New York’s Class AA, with the Pride checking in at No. 6 and the Crusaders at No. 3.
According to BOCES, those are the only two games on the slate.
My three game stories from Saturday are all posted, along with links to the photo galleries up at lohud.com. Feel free to give them a read before the NFL games kick off or if you have any down time. Now, for the two games we have today, here are my predictions for each:
Consolation: I was very surprised and impressed by North Rockland yesterday. As expected by both myself and Red Raiders coach Kevin Metcalf, the beginning of the game wasn’t the prettiest. However, the way North Rockland responded to one of the top teams in the state speaks volumes. My prediction for the final, a 25-point rout by Long Island Lutheran, was based on the Crusaders getting out to a hot start, then a dejected Red Raiders squad would fold up shop. Not the case. Yes, North Rockland struggled early (trailed by 14 after the first quarter), but by the end of the game, the Red Raiders had a legitimate shot to pull off the major upset. North Rockland never led in the game, but I’m a firm believer that how you act in defeat shows a lot more than how you act in victory. That said, I’m not sure what to make of this game. Molloy is currently ranked 24th in Class AA and played Ossining tough all game. I kind of feel this could be the same thing as yesterday — either North Rockland gets blown out, or the Red Raiders play to a one-possession game (if not, win). I was ready to bounce the Red Raiders from my rankings, but the fight they showed yesterday makes me want to keep them in. We’ll see what this game brings. My official prediction: Archbishop Molloy leads by nine at the half, ends with a big fourth quarter, 67-57.
Championship: Well, I had the point spread right about Ossining-Molloy, although it was slightly lower scoring than predicted. Still, it’s my most accurate prediction to date. The Pride kept saying they were expected to lose against Molloy, calling themselves underdogs. Now, whether they actually believed that or were using as a motivational/mind game tactic, I don’t know. What I do know is that Ossining winning a game against a tough team despite shooting 1-of-18 from beyond the arc is remarkable. I would be floored if Dan Ricci’s squad has another 3-point showing like it did Saturday, but I do expect this to be another close one. The Crusaders will be “picking on someone their own size,” for all intents and purposes, against Ossining. Long Island Lutheran had a significant height advantage over North Rockland, and it was still pretty close. The Red Raiders are a shooting team. They are undersized and not overly aggressive in the paint; they won’t overpower you. Ossining will. The combo of Knowles-Samuels-Squirrell will be a much different experience for the Crusaders, so it will be interesting to see how quickly they adjust to Ricci’s run-and-gun, aggressive style. My official prediction: Ossining wins its eighth consecutive game at the County Center, 72-69.
Photo credit: Peter Carr/The Journal News