YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— It was a tough week for Somers as it faced two formidable Class AA foes in the 20th annual George Budries Basketball Tournament at Yorktown High School.
The Tuskers fell to Yorktown in a heartbreaker, 52-49, in the consolation game of the tournament on Jan. 16. It was their second setback against Yorktown this season, previously losing to the Huskers in the championship game of Somers’ tourney.
“We put up a good fight against Yorktown and played tough,” senior captain Marc Maestri said. “It’s unfortunate to drop both games to the rival this year, but physical games like that will only make us stronger mentally and physically for the rest of the season.”
Somers trailed 36-27 after three quarters but went a dismal 2 for 13 in the fourth quarter from the foul line.
Maestri did his best to keep the Tuskers in it in the fourth, scoring 10 of his 16 points on his way to being named to the all-tournament team. Junior Gio Tradito also netted 16 points.
Sophomore Lucas Fecci added eight points in the loss.
Somers battled with a tough Class AA opponent in Clarkstown North, but fell 54-51 in the opening round of the tournament on Jan. 13.
The Tuskers had a five-point fourth quarter lead after two free throws from junior Lorenzo Bicknese, but they struggled to score down the stretch and the Rams capitalized on offensive rebounds.
Bicknese paced Somers with a game-high 22 points. The combination of Bicknese and junior Nick Gargiulo (nine points) were a formidable presence inside for Somers, but the Tuskers were without junior forward Jack Gilroy, who suffered an injury in the first half.
“We just listened to coach’s game plan: shoot when you are open on a set play and most of our plays were set up to feed the post,” Bicknese said. “We ran in transition and forced a lot of turnovers and I thought that was huge for us.”
Fecci (six points) forced a turnover and converted to trim the Rams’ lead to 54-51 with 49.7 seconds left.
Bicknese had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer, but his shot was long and rattled off the rim.
Tournament MVP Dylon Wynne (17 points) and Tyrese Richardson (14 points) torched Somers from the perimeter.
“It was tough staying with their shooters,” Bicknese said. “They had a lot of them and they’re a talented team. The loss of Gilroy was huge because we needed him on the boards. The biggest thing we can learn from that game is to just box out shooters. They had way too many offensive rebounds. We also have to improve free throws to win games down the stretch.”
The Tuskers improved to 3-0 in their league with a 63-53 win over visiting John Jay-Cross River on Jan. 11.
“We outrebounded them which was huge and we shut down some shooters,” Bicknese said. “We didn’t allow them in the paint and we played great defense.”
Matt Pires, who was recently named the Class A co-state Player of the Year in football, and Bicknese sparked Somers with 17 points apiece.
Somers (7-5) looks to bounce back from the two tournament losses when it hosts Brewster on Jan. 18. The Tuskers then host Walter Panas at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 20, in their second league game in three days.
“Having two tight and tough losses to strong AA teams will help us moving forward and make us tougher as we look to close out league play,” Maestri said. “We have to put the losses behind us, but keep the intensity we had in the Yorktown tournament.”