SOMERS, N.Y.-When two evenly matched teams take the basketball court, the contest usually turns into a game of runs.
Somers’ boys team fought tooth and nail but it was eighth-seeded Ardsley that went on the final run to close out a 56-50 victory over the No. 9 Tuskers in the Section 1 Class A opening round.
Drew Lasher’s three-point play brought Somers within a point at 49-48 with 2:33 remaining in the game.
Ardsley, however, made its free throws down the stretch and closed the game on a 7-2 run to pull out the win on Feb. 16.
“Basketball is a game of runs, so for our run in the fourth quarter to come up short obviously stings,” senior Jack Gilroy said. “But everything happens for a reason, so you can’t worry about stuff like that.”
The Panthers, who led 27-23 at halftime, began the second half on fire. They took a 44-34 lead with 2:13 left in the third quarter. Chris DiCintio scored after a steal and then Lorenzo Bicknese finished on a layup. Somers trailed just 44-40 heading into the final quarter.
Somers started the game with a purpose behind Bicknese, who scored 10 of Somers’ first 14 points. The Tuskers led 14-5 late in the first quarter after a Lasher layup. “We came out strong because we applied a lot of pressure in the first quarter and we were shooting very well,” Bicknese said.
Ardsley gained momentum and took a second quarter lead. But Gilroy’s play in the paint helped Somers pull within four points at halftime.
“I honestly think neither team had control over this game and it was evenly played throughout,” Bicknese said.
Bicknese led the Tuskers with 18 points. Gilroy added 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. Lucas Fecci dished out seven assists.
Somers routed Sleepy Hollow 57-43 in a Class A outbracket game on Feb. 14.
Despite leading 23-13 at halftime, the Tuskers weren’t that happy with their play in the first half. They turned on the jets in the third quarter, taking a 41-24 lead into the final stanza.
“We kept our pressure on (in the third quarter),” said Bicknese, who paced Somers again with 17 points. “We didn’t really change our game plan because we usually like to stick to the same thing. We just kept pushing the ball and pressuring them. Eventually our layups started to drop because we started to gain confidence from our defense.”
Fecci and Lasher keyed the run, forcing the Headless Horsemen into a plethora of turnovers.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. [Fecci] and Drew both have the best stamina I’ve ever seen,” Bicknese said. “I guess it’s from soccer. They have very quick hands; they got a lot of steals. They really start at least 50 percent of the fast breaks.”
Max Germaine added seven points while Fecci netted six. DiCintio, Lasher and Charlie Weissman had five points each.
The core senior four of Bicknese, Gilroy, DiCintio and Gio Tradito, who was lost for the season after an injury against North Salem late last month, all came up to the varsity as sophomores. After some initial growing pains, the foursome helped mold Somers into a contender.
“Somers basketball was always so much fun for me,” Gilroy said. “I’m going to miss the relationships I’ve made with the coaches and players. Somers basketball was very good to me so it’s only good memories that I have.”
Along with that quartet, the Tuskers also lose guard Kevin Halper to graduation.
The team achieved many of its regular season goals with two of them being to win their own tournament and to help get coach Chris DiCintio his 200th career win. However, they came up short of their first league championship since 1989.
“I am going to miss this year’s team more than any team before because we were truly like a family and we had chemistry like no other team,” Bicknese said. “I’m going to miss the coaching staff the most because from freshmen to varsity coaches and boys’ and girls’ coaches everyone was involved in the program. It was really an amazing experience and I will never forget playing at Somers. Honestly, there is nothing that I won’t miss.”