Matt Simone’s tenure as Mahopac head coach started on a positive note with a win over Beacon, but the Indians dropped three straight games after the opening night win.
Mahopac competed in the Walter Panas Holiday Tournament and fell to host Panas 60-49 in the opening round on Dec. 11.
Senior Christian Donahoe paced the Indians with 18 points. Junior Jonathan Jacklett added 11 points and senior Aidan Hynes, who was named to the all-tournament team, had 10.
Trailing 24-19 at halftime, Mahopac quickly tied the game after a Jacklett 3-pointer and hung tight until the Panthers caught fire and took a 42-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We had a few defensive breakdowns,” Simone said. “We came out in a little press, a little zone. But it was really just a lack of communication on defense and a breakdown on our part where we give up an open shot. Credit to them; they were hitting their threes.”
A Hynes free throw and a Donahoe 3-pointer cut the deficit to four points early in the fourth, but that would be as close as the Indians would get.
“When we attack we’ve got to look to share the ball and play more as a team,” Simone said.
Mahopac lost to Brewster 54-39 in the consolation game of the tournament on Dec. 12. Hynes (eight points), Jacklett (seven points), Andrew Ryan (six points), Zac Carlin (six points) and Mike Pilgrim (five points) were the main contributors for Mahopac.
In the season opener, Mahopac defeated visiting Beacon 72-65 behind a balanced scoring effort with four players getting in double figures on Dec. 8. Donahoe led the attack with 17 points, while Ryan (15 points), Hynes (14 points) and Jacklett (13 points) were also in double figures. Ryan Vitkus added nine points.
“We had our energy up,” Simone said. “It was our first game, our home opener and I think we matched their intensity. When we’re playing hard and we’re more intense and the more energetic team, I think we’re gonna be fine. But if teams are outhustling us and playing a little bit more physical than us then it’s going to be tough to win those games.”
The Indians held a 50-49 lead after three quarters and outscored the Bulldogs 22-16 in the fourth to earn the win.
Mahopac fell to visiting Putnam Valley 51-32 on Dec. 10. Pilgrim had eight points for Mahopac.
Donahoe, who missed the majority of the preseason, is not yet 100 percent after suffering a rib injury near the end of the varsity football season.
“He got a late start to the season,” Simone said. “I think he’s getting his wind back and he’s starting to feel a little bit better. I don’t know if he’ll ever be 100 percent with the rib but I think as the season goes he’s just gonna keep getting his wind and hopefully get his feel back a little bit.”
Mahopac (1-3) takes on Somers in the opening round of Somers’ tournament at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. The championship game is slated for 3 p.m. the following day with the consolation game at 11 a.m.
“We’ve got to play a little bit harder,” Simone said. “We’ve got to play with a little more energy and a little more heart. We’re going to win games on the defensive end, so we’ve got to stop teams. We’ve got to keep the score a little bit lower and just play hard and play team basketball.”