Within the matter of three minutes and only 2.1 miles apart, Cameron Lewis and Justen Rodriguez lit the matches of the Friday nights fire in Rockland County basketball.
Nyack junior Justen Rodriguez drained a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Indians a thrilling victory at Albertus Magnus. Just around the corner at Clarkstown South, Lewis, a North Rockland senior, drilled a 3-pointer with one second left for a heart-pounding win over the Vikings.
Strangest of all: Both teams were 48-45 finals.
Each of the game-winning shots lifted their teams to upset road victories and signaled how emotional league matchups in Section 1 can be.
“We have been struggling a little to score,” first-year North Rockland coach Jamie Ryan said. “My assistant Shaenan Martinez cold me to keep it simple and run a high ball screen.”
North Rockland had possession in the final seconds, inbounding at midcourt. Matt Vigliotti, who had 10 points in the game, recognized South in a zone defense and found Lewis alone on the wing. Here’s the result:
Lewis’ shot gave North Rockland its second “victory” of the day. Earlier in the evening, Beacon announced it had to forfeit each of its first 10 games for using an eligible transfer player. Included was a victory over North Rockland, which is now reversed to a Red Raiders (3-4) win.
Carlens Vilfortt had a team-high 16 points for North Rockland and Lewis added 13. Ryan lauded Vigliotti for giving up the ball for the winning shot.
“We have been talking a lot about the things that create good culture; unselfishness, communication, leadership,” Ryan said. “When you see those things on display and get a big win at the same time, it is nice to see.”
Nyack’s victory may have been its biggest of the season thanks to Rodriguez’s dramatics.
The circumstances were similar: the Indians had the ball in a tie game in the final seconds. Nyack missed its first shot but the rebound was kept alive and kicked out to Rodriguez, who sank a rainbow 3-pointer as time expired. Here’s the play:
“It was a huge relief,” Nyack coach Ethan Smith said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games this season. To finally get a close game to go our way was a huge moral boost. Winning at Albertus is very tough. They’re well coached and play hard.”
Beacon vacates victories: The promising start to the season for Beacon that got off to in December was wiped away on Friday. The Hudson Valley Sports Report detailed the school forfeiting all of its first 10 games (7 victories) for using an ineligible transfer player.
The Bulldogs were a team that graduated pretty much everybody from last year’s team and weren’t expected to start the way they did. The closed December with a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback win over Spackenkill to claim the Duane Davis Tournament title.
Beacon coach Scott Timpano is optimistic his team can overcome the adversity and will be “business as usual next week.”
Going from 7-3 to 0-10 from a No. 7 seed in Class A Bracketology to No. 27. It’s likely the Bulldogs will need to win at least 6 games the rest of the way to qualify for the postseason.
Section 1 rallies in McKenzie’s memory: It was truly inspirational this week how Section 1 girls basketball as a whole rallied together following the tragic death of Mount Vernon JV player Shamoya McKenzie.
The 13-year-old sophomore was hit with a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting in Mount Vernon. She was returning home from practice when shot.
Countless schools ran fundraising efforts for the McKenzie family. The University of Connecticut women’s program honored McKenzie by making her an honorary member of the program. It was McKenzie’s dream to one day play for the Huskies.
Leaking roof suspends Iona-Stepinac: By now, you know what has happened and have probably even seen the bucket.
The anticipated Iona Prep-Stepinac showdown was suspended with 3:15 left in the third quarter because of a leaking roof in Iona’s gym. Read the full story of the bizarre events here. Also watch the game replay up to that point — and us trying to explain the stoppage play-by-play — on the Game Replay.
The game will resume from that point, with Iona Prep lead 39-34, on Friday back at Iona at 6:30 p.m. News 12 Varsity will stream the conclusion live.
One of the strangest aspects of the situation is the case of Nick Brennen. The Gaels senior missed the game because of the flu. Assuming he’s recovered by Friday’s continuation, he will be eligible to play but Iona must receive a technical foul since he was not entered in the scorebook.
Putnam Challenge postponed: The first two games of the Putnam Challenge on Saturday at Carmel were completed — Pawling defeated Webutuck and Arlington beat Brewster — but three of the remaining four were postponed to Sunday.
The schedule for Sunday back at Carmel:
Haldane vs. North Salem, noon
Mahopac vs. John Jay-CR, 2 p.m.
Dobbs Ferry vs. Putnam Valley, 4 p.m.
Croton-Harmon vs. Carmel — PPD to a later date, TBA
Player of the Day (Friday): Sean Bresnan, Saunders. The junior wing carried the Blue Devils to yet another victory in Yonkers city play. Bresnan dropped 29 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 62-47 victory over Gorton.
Player of the Day (Saturday): Mike Manley, Pleasantville. It was in a losing effort, but man has Manley developed into a clutch player for the Panthers. After pouring in 32 points in Thursday’s wild overtime comeback win against Westlake, the senior guard scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter in the 69-62 loss to Briarcliff in the final of the Charles Garbarini Tournament at Pace University.
Tweet of the Day: A touching tribute by the Mount Vernon girls junior varsity team in its first game following the death of Shamoya McKenzie.
Mount Vernon JV does not send anyone to take the opening tip, which was usually done by Shamoya McKenzie. pic.twitter.com/DYN1P2SJwK— Mike Zacchio (@Zacchio_LoHud) January 6, 2017
Bracketology Central: Get the latest Bracketology updates for boys and girls basketball, including bracket projections for boys basketball here.
Three Best Games of the Day (Monday): Light schedule of games to start off the week. Heavier schedules on Tuesday and Thursday
1. Valhalla at Hastings, 4:30 p.m.: Two Class B contenders that are on the second echelon behind Briarcliff and Pleasantville. This is a game that could be important for seeding purposes long term.
2. Putnam Valley at Woodlands, 4:30 p.m.: No team maybe in Section 1 needs to a victory right now more than Woodlands, which was struggled mightily after being saddled with championship aspirations in the preseason.
3. Pine Bush at Marlboro, 5:45 p.m.: While the Iron Dukes have been up and down to start, they’re extremely well-coached and defensive-minded team that will give an unbeaten Pine Bush everything it can handle.
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