ORANGEBURG, N.Y.— After falling into a 15-point hole after one quarter, a comeback looked unlikely for the Somers boys basketball team in the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals.
The No. 10-seeded Tuskers were able to make a game of it, but fell short of a comeback in a 53-38 loss to second-seeded Tappan Zee on Feb. 23 on the road.
“The key was just knowing this could be it,” senior captain Matt Pires said of how they were able to battle back. “We worked so hard all season that we knew we needed to get back into the game and try to win it.”
Somers trailed 17-2 after one quarter as the Dutchmen executed a backdoor alley-oop layup at the buzzer.
“We had open shots, but we just weren’t hitting them at all,” said Pires, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “We were very prepared for the game—we just came out slow.”
Lorenzo Bicknese trimmed the deficit to 27-13 on a feed from Jack Gilroy. Pires then knocked down a shot and took a charge on the other end. Bicknese knocked down two free throws and Tappan Zee made 1 of 2 free throws with 2.7 seconds left. The Dutchmen led 28-17 at halftime.
Tappan Zee star center Kevin Lynch started the second half with a three-point play, but Somers wasn’t going down easy. Gio Tradito answered with a 3-pointer then Marc Maestri banked in a deep three right before the shot clock expired to cut it to 31-23 less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Every time the Tuskers went on a run, Tappan Zee had the answer as it knocked down two consecutive threes to go up by 14 points.
Pires wasn’t giving up as he scored on two straight possessions and Tradito knocked down a triple to cut Tappan Zee’s lead to 40-30 after three quarters.
Pires splashed two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and then Lucas Fecci made two free throws to cut it to 48-38 with 4:52 remaining, but that was as close as the Tuskers would get.
Bicknese and Tradito both finished with six points for Somers.
Somers finished its campaign at 12-11 and won two playoff games, including an upset over seventh-seeded Peekskill in the opening round.
“I’m happy about our season,” Pires said. “We came out 7-3 at one point after a very long fall season. It’s sad that it’s all over but I’m happy with what we accomplished.”
Pires, who is committed to the University of Rhode Island for football, said that he’ll miss everything about playing basketball at Somers.
“It hasn’t hit me yet that my senior year is almost over but it’s more than basketball here,” Pires said. “The team would spend hours together off the court too, so playing basketball here is something I’ll always remember.”