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Raiders Boys Basketball Team Wins First Game But Falls in Overtime in the Second Game of the Final Four at the County Center

raiders3-3With the long winter sports season coming to a close, the end of February holds much excitement. Boys Varsity Basketball participates in the Section 1 class AA tournament, a playoff single-elimination bracket against the top teams in the section. The "final four" games (semifinals and finals) are played at the Westchester County Center. The winner of this tournament is deemed the champion of Section 1, receiving the coveted "Gold Ball" and continuing to compete on the regional level, for the chance of winning the state competition.

With playoff tournaments of this style, seeding is extremely important. A team's rank in the section is determined by wins and losses against Section 1 opponents in the regular season. This ranking decides which teams play each other in the 1st round of the playoffs. The lower seeds play against the higher seeds, meaning the lowest ranked team (#16), would play the highest ranked team (#1) to begin the playoffs. For this reason, an entire season of performance is essential for a top seed and the chance to make it to the Final Four. For most other sports, a trip to the semi finals might seem like a forgettable experience. However, for Section 1 basketball, playing in the County Center is almost as coveted as winning the gold ball itself.

Under the leadership of Senior Max Bosco and Junior Nash Goldman, the boys Varsity basketball team looked to make it far in the Section 1 tournament. In their last regular season game the Raiders clinched the #3 seed in the section over New Rochelle. Last year, the boys lost to New Rochelle in the quarterfinals, keeping them from competing at the County Center. However, the Raiders were able to dominate in this game, utilizing the shooting abilities of Max Bosco and Nash Goldman. Bosco, who is headed to Middlebury to play basketball next fall, led all scorers in the game with 30 points. Goldman, only a junior, followed him totaling 29 points. This deadly guard duo won Section 1 honors as co "Player of the Week" for their electric performance. Although Scarsdale went into this game as underdogs, as they had lost to New Rochelle earlier in the season, they came out of it proving their ability to play with strong teams in the section. This #3 seed was not only important to prove Scarsdale's legitimacy as a contender for the title, but it also gave the team a home court advantage jn their opening playoff game against Mamaroneck.

This home court advantage would prove to be crucial in Scarsdale's 3 point win over Mamaroneck in their first playoff game to advance to the quarterfinals. The Raiders won their last regular season game against New Rochelle in the smaller JV gym due to a leak in the ceiling of the larger Varsity gym. After this clutch victory, the team decided to play in the JV gym for their opening playoff game. The team noted the forgiving rims and the electric atmosphere due to the smaller space as reasons to play the game in the auxiliary gym. The Raiders relied on this atmosphere when they entered the 4th quarter of their game against Mamaroneck. Mamaroneck came back from a 13-point deficit, leaving the game up in the air with only 2 minutes left to play. However, the Raiders were able to finish off the game with a score of 61-58, advancing to the quarterfinals against Horace Greely. Scarsdale dominated this game, leading the boys to the semifinals at the Westchester County Center, with a significant chance at securing the gold ball.

In their first County Center performance since 1997, Scarsdale dominated this semifinal game against Yorktown, winning 61-44. The team's energy was palpable as they entered the first quarter, beginning with a 11-0 run. Contributing to this hot start was Junior Center Will Hoffman, who scored the first points of the game with a 3-point play. Another factor to Scarsdale's dominance early in the game were the early fouls called on Yorktown. With starter Marc Spinelli forced to sit due to 2 fouls called in the first 55 seconds, Scarsdale was able to capitalize. At the end of the half, the Raiders led 34-16. The Raiders finished the game, playing the entire bench. Junior Guard Nash Goldman was the leading scorer, finishing the game with 19 points 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Senior Guard Max Bosco totaled 11 points 3 assists and 2 steals. Both guards received all-section honors this season. Both Centers for Scarsdale made notable contributions, Will Hoffman scoring 8 points and Trevor Nossel coming off the bench for 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Scarsdale came into the Section 1 Final game as complete underdogs. They had lost to Mount Vernon twice in the regular season, as the Knights and Raiders are in the same league. However, in their last meeting, Scarsdale was leading at the half. A Section 1 title victory was not guaranteed for the Knights, especially with a motivated Raider team.

In the first half, Mount Vernon dominated. Scarsdale, a team that relies heavily on outside shooting, was not getting shots from outside. Mount Vernon defense extended to double Senior Guard Max Bosco, making it difficult for him to score. Additionally, Nash Goldman got into foul trouble early on in the game, causing him to play apprehensively throughout the first half. Goldman totaled only 2 points for the entire 1st half. The team seemed deflated, going into the second half down by 22 with a score of 37-15. Scarsdale Senior Max Bosco added only 5 points in the half, an unprecedented low for the All Section Guard.

In the second half of the Section final game, Scarsdale's overcameRaidersKnights a 26-point deficit to bring the game into overtime. Captain Max Bosco carried the team on his back, going on a 10 point run with 14 points in the third quarter. Mount Vernon continued to utilize their size advantage in Center Greg Calixte, ending the third quarter up by 15 with a score of 45-31 Mount Vernon. Junior Leo Katz opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point basket followed by a charge taken by Mount Vernon, emphasizing the shift in momentum for the Raiders. With Nash Goldman on the bench due to foul trouble, the Raiders' ball movement showed offensive proficiency that did not show in the first half. With 3 minutes left, Scarsdale pulled it to a 10-point game, trailing 43-53. Nash Goldman's floater in transition closed the gap to 4 with one minute left to play. This forced Mount Vernon's first timeout call of the game, displaying the pressure that the Raiders team had put on the Knights in the fourth quarter. After a defensive rebound by Trevor Nossel, Max Bosco was fouled taking the ball up the court, going to the line to make one free throw. With just 20 seconds left to play, the Raiders were down by 3 (52-55). Mount Vernon, expecting a 3-point attempt by sharp shooter Bosco, guarded Bosco tightly. This gave Center Will Hoffman room to get to the 3-point line, throwing up a 3-pointer, which bounced in to tie the game. This shot sent the Raiders into overtime, outscoring Mount Vernon 40-18 in the second half.

Mount Vernon got two easy baskets early in the four minute overtime, putting the Raiders behind with two minutes to go. Eric Monroe of Mount Vernon totaled 5 points for the entire game, all of which were in overtime. Nash Goldman utilized the foul bonus, going to the line to bring the game within three off of a reaching foul by Mount Vernon. Seconds later Nash Goldman fouled Center Greg Calixte, using his fifth foul which forced him to sit for the rest of the game. The Raider strategy in the last minute was simple: foul Greg Calixte to stop the clock. The purpose of fouling Calixte, the Knights' least successful free throw shooter, was to slow down the time in an attempt to get more Scarsdale possessions. However, this method left Mount Vernon open to score easy uncontested layups. With 47 seconds left, Max Bosco fired a shot from 3-point range for a chance to take the lead. The shot bounced over the back of the rim, giving the Knights possession up by 2. Mount Vernon was able to finish off the game with two quick layups, making the final score of the Section 1 AA Final 67-61.

The emphatic comeback by Scarsdale, with Senior Bosco at the helm, was just the way to go out for this team's historic season. Graduating Bosco is a tremendous loss for the team going into the 2017-18 season, but with the predominant junior starting lineup the future looks bright for Raider Basketball.

Photos above by Jon Thaler. See more here.

SHS Senior Alec Carroll also shot photos at the game against Yorktown. See his work below:

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