CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y.— Both of Mahopac’s games came down to the wire in the 15th annual Holiday Basketball Tournament at Walter Panas High School last weekend.
Although the Indians only won their first game of the four-team tournament, coming from behind to stun Yorktown, 44-41, on Thursday, Dec. 7.
“A win is a win,” Mahopac coach Chuck Scozzafava said. “The girls fought hard and we did what we had to do. I am really proud of the effort and the fact that they understood there was a sense of urgency at the end of the game.”
Each team committed a number of turnovers, but the Indians finally turned it up a notch to tally 19 fourth quarter points to steal the victory.
They trailed 37-30 with just four minutes left in the game, but senior point guard Amanda Geyer sparked the rally with a 3-pointer after a steal on the press. She finished with a team-high 15 points and was selected for the all-tournament team.
Junior forward Claire Felix heated up at the right time, scoring seven fourth-quarter points in less than three minutes. Felix finished with 14 points overall and was named to the all-tourney team.
Felix’s last basket was a game-defining jumper on a pass from sophomore Zina McInerney, extending Mahopac’s edge to 43-38 with 50 seconds to spare.
Sophomore Kathryn Severino kept the Huskers relevant, draining a three-ball from the corner on the next possession. Following a traveling violation called on Felix, Yorktown took the ball with 26 seconds remaining.
Its inbound pass was overthrown as McInerney chased it down and was fouled with 16 seconds on the clock. She only made the second free throw, as the Huskers called timeout with 11 seconds left and a three-point deficit.
Yet again it was Felix who poked away the inbound pass towards mid-court, but Yorktown recovered as freshman Jesse Barer’s air-ball ended the game.
“We sat back while bringing the ball over [half-court],” Scozzafava said. “We just did not get the ball down the court quick enough. We also did a poor job of on-the-man ball defense. We just ran next to people, rather than making them move east and west.”
Junior forward Siobhan Hynes played wonderfully on the block, scoring eight points while sinking 6 of 8 free throws.
“Siobhan gives us solid minutes,” Scozzafava said. “The thing about Siobhan is that she knows what she is doing. You don’t have to worry about her being out of place—she’s always right there.”
Even though Mahopac played better in the championship against Ketcham late Saturday afternoon, it spoiled an eight-point fourth quarter lead and lost, 44-43.
“The thing that I am happy about is that we are making progress,” Scozzafava said. “We played better defense but had too many lulls on the offensive side. We made some bad passes and could not continue getting the ball in the post. We just need to get to a point where we can finish a game.”
The championship game was neck-and-neck with the score tied at 18-18 at halftime.
McInerney made a slick baseline fake-out before splashing a buzzer-beating jumper to end a third quarter full of hustle and stingy defense from the Indians.
Keeping on the gas pedal midway through the fourth, McInerney buried another triple off a kick-out from sophomore forward Natalie Scanlon to put Mahopac ahead by six points.
But tournament MVP Katie Wall answered with three of her own as the Ketcham Indians continued to grind it out by drawing fouls and cashing in from the stripe.
Scozzafava called timeout with Mahopac up one point with two minutes to play, but it could not muster up any offense.
Sophomore Meg Nardelli netted a corner three on a quick dish from senior Jykayla Elting to give Ketcham a 40-38 lead with 48 seconds left.
A give-and-go layup from Scanlon to Geyer reduced the deficit to three points with only 11 seconds left.
Wall was fouled with five seconds left and made one free throw to put Ketcham up by four points. Geyer raced down the floor and banked in a half-court shot as the buzzer sounded.
A senior captain, Geyer earned her second all-tournament award of her high school career (last year at Somers tournament was the first). She scored 16 points and knocked down three shots from downtown in the tough loss.
“Our defense was really shown this game,” Geyer said. “On offense, though, we did not really move the ball as much. At times, we found some cutters after looking down the middle and over to the sides when breaking their press. We just need to move it quicker and everyone—including the guards—needs to box out better.”
McInerney scored nine points, while Felix recorded five points. Hynes also pitched in with five points. Senior forward Allison Reilly and sophomore guard Katie McDonough had three points apiece.
Mahopac (2-2) traveled to Clarkstown South on Dec. 14 and will take part in the Somers tournament this weekend. The Indians take on host Somers at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16, with the championship game at 3 p.m. and consolation game at 11 a.m. the following day.