Lakeland/Panas and Yorktown Track and Field

Section 1 State Qualifier
Sunday, Feb. 23 (Armory Track and Field Center, New York City)

The Lakeland/Panas girls 4x200 relay of Taryn Hodge, Lauren Salazar, Makayla Waugh, and JaLia Williams placed second at the Section 1 State Qualifier in a time of 1:46.43, the relay’s fastest time of the season.

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That qualified the relay for the 2020 New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Indoor Track and Field Championships. They will take place on Saturday, March 7, at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Facility, on Staten Island.

“I am so proud of these ladies,” said Lakeland/Panas coach Ryan Johnson. “They had to fight through some major injuries but stepped up in the clutch.”

For Salazar, a senior and a second-year track captain, this is her second trip to states in the last three years on this relay.

“It is so exciting that I am making it back to states this year,” said Salazar, who was also a captain for Lakeland’s state championship field hockey squad in the fall. “We had missed qualifying last year by tenths of a second, and it’s great to have another exciting and nail-biting race that resulted us in qualifying for states on March 7.

Salazar said they Lakeland/Panas faced stiff competition in the state qualifiers.

“Our anchor leg, JaLia Williams, fought for it at the line and it resulted us in coming in second and automatically qualifying,” Salazar said. “Today’s race could have been our last 4x200 of the season, so we knew we had to make it count.”

As a group, Salazar said that being adaptable was the key to their success.

“We had a last-minute change in our first leg runner to Taryn Hodge, who absolutely killed it,” Salazar said. “We all rely on each other so much and truly do support one another all of the time. After we didn’t run as well as we wanted to in semis, we knew we had to kick it up a notch and nail our handoffs. We improved significantly and would have been happy about the result of our relay even if we did not qualify. We have come so far this season and knowing we can count on each other, is something I believe, that helped us tremendously.”

Aaron McGirr (sixth, long jump, 20 feet, 2 inches), Ashley Dobransky (eighth, shot put, personal best throw of 32-9.75) and Keira

Flaherty (ninth, 1,500-meter relay, personal best time of 5:57.79), stood out for Yorktown.

“The team performed well today and they ended their season on a high note,” said Yorktown coach Keith Smith. “They are all looking forward to the spring.”

Yorktown Girls Basketball (10-12)

Hen Hud 45, Yorktown 42
Friday, Feb. 21 (Hendrick Hudson High School)

No. 15 Yorktown gave host No. 2 Hendrick Hudson, led by Marist-bound Caitlin Weimar, all they could handle but the Sailors beat the Huskers in a highly competitive contest, 45-42, in the first round of the Section 1 Class A Tournament.

The Huskers were led in scoring by Melissa Severino’s 16 points.

“Melissa was helped by the fact that we had three other kids hit two threes each, and that kind of opened it up a little,” said Yorktown coach Brian Mundy. “They couldn’t just key on her on the perimeter with other kids shooting well. She did a good job moving without the ball and was able to hit four threes.”

The three players to which Mundy was referring were Emily Ward (8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Jesse Barer (8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists), and Olivia Lucas (6 points).

A big reason why the Huskers were able to hang tough with the Sailors was because of their defensive play.

“I thought we did a decent job in the zone after the first quarter,” Mundy said. “Most of the game we had the pace slowed down and that eats up time off the clock, which limits their possessions. We knew we were going to have to live with giving up some open looks outside in order to protect the paint. Unfortunately, they ended up hitting the one more outside shot they needed.”

One player who stood out defensively for the Huskers was Alyssa Perrino.

“And (Ashley) Zeolla was kept in check, so we rotated Alyssa Perrino in and she played a lot of minutes,” Mundy said. “By far, the best defensive game she has played this season.”

As for the team’s play this season, Mundy was pleased with its performance.

“From where we were the first week of the season to where we ended up, I actually think we outperformed a little,” Mundy said. “When kids graduate, there are some things you just can’t replace. But you just hope that the leaders have set a good example of what type of person and player the underclassmen need to be, in order to bring success to the program.”

There is indeed a bright future ahead for the Huskers, who started two freshmen (Ward and Lucas), one sophomore (Severino), one junior (Zeolla) and one senior (Barer), against the Sailors.

“There is a lot of youth in this program, but the fact that we have allowed the younger kids to get valuable competitive game experience, is going to help them and the program drastically in the future,” Mundy said.

Yorktown Boys Basketball (11-11)

Tappan Zee 60, Yorktown 34
Friday, Feb. 21 (Tappan Zee High School)

No. 16 Yorktown hung tough for a half against top-seeded Tappan Zee, trailing just 8-5 at the end of the first quarter and 24-16 at halftime, before falling to the host, 60-34, in its opening round Section 1 Class A contest.

“I thought we played great defense, and missed some easy opportunities around the rim early,” said Yorktown coach Mark Pavella.

Tappan Zee took control of the game in the third quarter, where they outscored the Huskers 20-5.

Leading the Huskers in Rockland County were brothers Roni Brucaj (14 points) and Eddie Brucaj (11 points, 10 rebounds).

Roni Brucaj is one of five seniors on the team, along with Rob Miller, Matt Mahoney, Sean Vogel and Martin Kopacz, who played their final game in a Husker uniform.

“The whole team battled the entire game, and I’m proud of their effort all season,” Pavella said. “The seniors will be missed; Roni, Rob, Matt, Sean, and Martin.”

BYSNS Hockey (6-15)

Monroe Woodbury 11, BYSNS 3
Wednesday, Feb. 19 (Brewster Ice Arena)

Monroe-Woodbury jumped out to a 4-1 first-period lead, and continued to build on it, en route to an 11-3 triumph, against the host BYSNS.

Hart Nullet (1G, 2A), Sava Makarenko (1G), Jonathan Graham (1G), and Matt Gergley (19 saves) earned their way into the box score for the BYSNS in their regular-season finale.

Clarkstown 4, BYSNS 3
Saturday, Feb. 22 (Palisades Center Ice Rink, West Nyack)

The No. 10 BYSNS almost came back in their Section 1 Division 1 first-round game against No. 7 Clarkstown, but fell to the host, 4-3.

Trailing 3-1 in the second period, the BYSNS cut the Clarkstown lead to one on a goal by Frankie Vigiletti, assisted by Ian Woloshyn and Connor Brooks, before tying it on an unassisted score by Makarenko.

BYSNS’ co-coach Joey Bonitatibus said that hard work and determination were the keys to the comeback effort.

“They had this drive to win like I’ve only seen in a few games before,” Bonitatibus said. “Smart hockey, dump and chase, with a hard fore-check.”

Clarkstown garnered what turned out to be the game-winning goal with just 1:47 remaining in the second period.

Brooks scored the first goal of the playoff contest in the opening period, courtesy of an assist from Graham.

Matt Gergley made 20 saves in goal for the BYSNS.

“I thought the team played extremely well tonight,” Bonitatibus said. “They never gave up, even when they were down. We outshot our opponent (29-24), but unfortunately the pucks didn’t bounce our way. I’m really proud of their last game.”

Overall, Bonitatibus saw the season as a success, for a squad whose players were made up of student-athletes from Brewster, Yorktown, Somers and North Salem.

“This is a bunch of young kids from competing high schools. They don’t know or play with each other,” Bonitatibus said. “The difference between the team that started the season and now is incredible. They support each other, trust each other, and played like a family. We have a lot of returning players, so we will be back to compete, even harder next year.”

Makarenko, Nullet, Allen Rondel, Francesca Mangione, Michael D’Erasmo, Cal Duff, Dylan Delaney, and Hellebo Hawken were the players from Yorktown. Samantha Miley and Maya King, the team managers, are also from Yorktown.