CARMEL, N.Y. — It was not the Peekskill team many are used to seeing over the years, but a win is still a win when one looks at a team’s final record.
The Mahopac Indians defeated Peekskill 57-49 on Jan. 2 at the Putnam Challenge at Carmel High School.
“We talked all week about respecting them,” Mahopac coach Matt Simone said. “Even thought they don’t maybe have the talent that they usually have, they still have talent and they still pressure the ball. The way that they pressure the ball in their press; I scouted them against Greeley and they could come back. They were down 11 against Greeley and they came back and won by 12. When they have that pressure, anything can happen if we start getting careless with the ball and not respecting your opponents.”
Senior Jonathan Jacklett, who was named the game MVP and finished with 19 points, started the fourth quarter with two buckets to stretch the lead to 44-31.
“We just needed a little pickup to keep the lead going,” Jacklett said. “I had nice teammates to give me up the ball and they kept feeding me. Coach just told us to keep pushing. [Peekskill] is a fast team, a good team and he just told us to keep going.”
Junior Mike DiMicco provided a lift off the bench, scoring five of his seven points in the fourth and his putback stretched the lead to 48-37 midway through the fourth.
“He’s been doing a great job coming off the bench for us,” Simone said. “At Croton he started coming on and he played very good down the stretch in our overtime win. He’s a big body, a kid that can score and he’s definitely a very big help off the bench so far this season.”
Simone said they talked plenty about defending the three-point line against Peekskill.
“We knew they had some shooters,” Simone said. “We really focused all week in practice on getting out and at halftime we talked about limiting turnovers. We came out in the third quarter and had way too many. We kind of regrouped at the end of the quarter and talked about what we could to take care of the ball because with the lead, as long as we took care of their pressure we would be alright. The kids did a good job adjusting and taking care of the ball.”
Senior Aidan Hynes, who had 15 points, had a bucket and nailed a 3-pointer to give the Indians a 54-43 lead with just 1:34 remaining in a game that quickly turned into a foulfest down the stretch.
Right before halftime, junior point guard Andrew Ryan (seven points) nailed two 3-pointers to send Mahopac into the break with a 28-20 lead.
Senior Christian Donahoe added five points and fellow senior Ryan Vitkus had four.
The Indians have won three out of their last four after starting the season 1-3 and are now at .500 at 4-4.
“We’ve just been sharing the ball, we’ve been playing like a team and just playing hard,” Jacklett said. “We all have a good bond and we’re all friends, so we share the ball and like to see everyone do well.”
Simone thinks the key to winning three of four has been locking down on defense.
“We know what we can do and we’ve been having guys such as DiMicco and Jacklett stepping up offensively, but we’ve really just been focusing on communicating on defense,” Simone said. “When we communicate on defense like we did tonight, I think it makes a difference in the game.”
Mahopac will travel to Arlington for a 6 p.m. contest on Jan. 7 and then host Somers at 6:45 p.m. the next night.