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bballThe Scarsdale’s boys’ basketball team hosted the Mamaroneck Tigers on February 12 in its regular season finale. The Raiders were looking to avenge an overtime loss at Mamaroneck earlier in the season. In that contest, Jayshen Saigal lit up the scoreboard with 27 points featuring five 3 pointers. The evening began with Senior Night – celebrating Scarsdale’s graduating class of 2020. The following seniors and their families were honored in a pregame ceremony:

Dennis Alter
Michael Callahan
Evan Kashanian
Matthew Lipsay (co-captain)
Chris Saenger
Jayshen Saigal (co-captain)
Fisher Waterhouse

With the playoffs to open in just a few days, Scarsdale was hoping to snap a five game losing streak and get on track for a post-season run. Unfortunately, the Raiders’ shooting was as cold as the early February weather. In a messy game marked by poor shooting and tightness on the part of each team, the Raiders fell to the Tigers 39-29.

The contest began with both teams having trouble making progress on the offensive side of the court – and neither team scored for almost the first half of the first quarter. After the slow start, Saigal got the Raiders rolling with a 3 point play on a drive and another basket after a steal. The Raiders utilized a 2-3 defense which was quite effective in keeping Mamaroneck off the scoreboard - holding the Tigers to a mere four points. Saigal paced the Raiders with seven and the Raiders led 10-4 after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Tigers get its offense going. They, too, switched to a 2-3 defense which paid immediate dividends and led to a few Mamaroneck baskets. Saigal, who was awarded all league, conference, and section honors earlier in the week, was hit with two quick fouls on consecutive plays – on both ends of the court - and was relegated to the bench for the final several minutes of the half. With Saigal watching from the bench, the Raiders offense was slowed, and the Tigers knotted the score at 17 at the half.

bballseniorsSenior Varsity Basketball Players: (left to right) Dennis Alter, Michael Callahan, Jayshen Saigal, Matthew Lipsay, Fisher Waterhouse, Evan Kashanian, and Chris Saenger. Captain Jayshen Saigal was named to ALL SECTION

After two quick baskets by Mamaroneck to start the second half, Jacob Smith responded with a three pointer. However, the remainder of the third quarter saw the Raiders continue to struggle when they had the ball. The Scarsdale effort was further stymied when Saigal picked up his third foul on a charging call midway through the quarter. Smith’s three represented the only Scarsdale points of the quarter. On the other side of court, the Tigers got hot from the outside: neutralizing the Raider zone by hitting three three pointers and opening up a 7 point lead. The quarter ended with the Raiders being outscored 13-3, trailing by 10 points, and looking for a spark.

Unfortunately for Scarsdale, the Raiders could not overcome the deficit during the final quarter. Despite a tireless effort, Scarsdale continued to have difficulty scoring and the teams played a fairly even fourth quarter. The game ended with the Raiders on the wrong end of a 39-29 score.

LipsayCo-Captain Lipsay looking for an open man. Photo by Ray Cooper.


The Raiders will look to reverse course with the “fresh” playoff season commencing within the next week. Given how well the team played against some of the stronger teams in the league and conference this season the Raiders look to rise to the level of their competition and make some noise. Senior photos by Maryellen Saenger.

SaigalSaigal going for 3 from the corner. Photo by Ray Cooper.

blballparentsProud moms of seniors with Head Coach Joseph Amelio wearing their son's jerseys.

teamhuddleCoach Amelio giving the team last minute instructions.On February 6th the Scarsdale boy’s basketball team hosted perennial basketball power Mount Vernon. The Knights got off the bus in a heavy drizzle for their early evening affair looking to improve their post-season seeding – and wary of a Raider team that gave them all they could handle in their previous contest earlier in the season. In a game that was close throughout, until a blown call by the referee that changed the momentum with four minutes remaining, the Raiders eventually fell to the Knights 55-35.

The Raiders were looking for their first league win and a break of their four game losing streak. They also were hoping to gain momentum going into the playoffs. Scarsdale came out playing hard from the opening tip and kept the game in check despite falling behind 9-2 early. Michael Callahan led the defensive charge with an early block. As would prove to be the theme of the evening, the Knights trio of Irvin Patrick, Troy Hupstead, and Orlando Dawkins led the way and scored 9 of the Knights 11 first quarter points. Hupstead and Dawkins were potent from the inside and caused Scarsdale problems all night. The Raiders found it difficult to penetrate the Knights’ defense in the early going but found a spark as Jacob Smith hit a buzzer beater at the quarter’s end to leave Scarsdale trailing by only five points – 11-6.

Bball1Jayshen Saigal drives to the hoop.

The Raiders came out with a lot of energy in the second quarter and had many open looks as a result of solid passing and penetrating by co-captains Matthew Lipsay and Jayshen Saigal – but had trouble converting the opportunities. Saigal had a brilliant steal immediately after a converted free throw, keeping the Raiders within six points during the second quarter. The penetrating Raider offense led to multiple fouls by the Knights – putting Scarsdale on the foul line often. With three seconds left in the half, Fisher Waterhouse ripped a rebound away from Mt. Vernon and hit a turnaround jump shot – cutting the Raider halftime deficit to four – 21-17.

Scarsdale’s momentum carried into the second half as the Raiders got two quick baskets off a Callahan led fast break to Lipsay. Saigal then converted a drive – tying the game at 21. This outbreak brought the nearly full gym to its feet. Hupstead kept the Knights in business with his inside play and the third quarter was a major part of his game high 23 points. Saigal had yet another steal and converted a quick basket. Dennis Alter had a fabulous third quarter. First he drew a foul while converting a layup and completing the three point play, and then he followed it up with another driving layup. The Raiders, however, could not solve Hupstead and the teams entered the fourth quarter with Mt Vernon maintaining its slight lead 36-30.

The defenses were strong to start the final quarter. The Knights had an advantage as they were already in the double bonus and received two free throws upon each Scarsdale foul. With a little over 4:30 left in the contest, the Raiders were very much alive – trailing by eight. As the Knights went up for a shot, Saigal made what looked like a beautiful from behind block – and the ball bounced to the Raiders. Unfortunately, the referee saw a foul somewhere in the block and instead of Scarsdale having the ball with a chance to cut into the lead, Mt. Vernon was awarded two foul shots. Clearly upset with the call, Saigal barked at the referee and was assessed a technical. The combination of the foul call and the technical led to foul numbers four and five on him – which led to his removal from the game.

alterDennis Alter with some hoop and harm.

Compounding the difficult situation, yet another technical was called: this time on the Raiders’ bench. The outcome of all this chaos was the Knight’s Hupstead being awarded six consecutive free throws – and he converted five. This call completely changed the tone and rhythm of the game and the air slowly came out of the Scarsdale machine. With the lead swelling to 13 points and Saigal on the bench for the remainder, the Raiders were in deep trouble. After a minute of hard fought play, the final three minutes saw both teams empty their benches – with Sophomore Matt Wolfe showing off some of his unique dribbling skills. After a few dunks and fast breaks from the Knights in the waning minutes, the Raiders ended up on the wrong end of a 55-35 score. Saigal led the Raiders with 12 hard earned points followed by Alter’s seven and Waterhouse contributing six. Scarsdale ends its regular season on February 12 when it hosts Mamaroneck and the team celebrates senior night.


ScarsdaleWomensClubThe Scarsdale Forum will host its twelfth annual membership party, Winterfest 2020, on Saturday, February 1 at the historic Scarsdale Woman’s Club, 37 Drake Road from 7 to 11 PM. The snow date is Sunday, February 2, from 4 to 7 PM.

Among the highlights of the evening will be the delicious buffet dinner prepared by Plates and the home brewed beers of Bruce Wells. Several member pianists will set the mood throughout the evening in the beautifully appointed Music Room of the club. Home baked desserts will lure Forum members and their guests into the charming dining room near the library towards the end of the evening. Winterfest 2020 is perfect for chasing away the winter blues and the conversation is always chill around the beer station. Scarsdale residents are invited to join the Forum and come to the liveliest party of the year!

An online fundraiser has been put into place with Pampered Chef which will run from January 17 through February 9. Shoppers will find just the right gift for their favorite Valentine baker or chef from the unique selection of kitchen products in the Pampered Chef line at: 15% of all sales will go to the Scarsdale Forum to aid its civic educational mission.

Admission is $50 per person and limited to members and their guests. Due to the popularity of this event, advance reservations are encouraged. Please RSVP by Monday, January 27, 2020.

Advanced reservations, membership renewal and joining the Forum for the first time may be done online here or by mailing a check to Scarsdale Forum Inc., P.O. Box 86, Scarsdale, NY 10583. For additional information regarding the event, please contact the Forum office by phone at 914-723-2829 or by email at:

Scarsdale Forum Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to community education through discussion and analysis of issues relevant to Scarsdale residents. Since 1904, it has contributed meaningfully to village affairs through written reports, public speaker events and committee discussions. Membership is available to all Scarsdale and Mamaroneck Strip residents, regardless of citizenship status.

For questions pertaining to the press release please contact B. Kathleen Munguia,
Winterfest 2020 Committee at 914-325-2729.

ShaareiTikvahHundreds of mourners lined Fox Meadow Road in Scarsdale on Monday February 3 to attend the funeral of Jordan Wachtell, age 57 of Ardsley at Shaarei Tikvah. Wachtell and 17 year-old Eric Goldberg, also from Ardsley, were killed in a head on collision on Interstate 287 on Thursday night January 30, 2020.

According to police, an Amawalk man drove his 2006 Jeep onto Interstate 287 at exit 10 at Westchester Avenue and Route 120 at 8:30 pm that night. He drove 2 ½ miles in the wrong direction before he had a head on collision with Wachtell’s 2018 BMW 330 east of exit 9A, between Harrison and White Plains.

Wachtell was killed at the scene and Eric Goldberg died en route to Westchester Medical Center. Wachtell’s son Preston and another 17 year-old student survived.

The driver of the Jeep has not been charged.

Jordan Wachtell is survived by his wife Mary, son Preston and daughter Skylar.

CukierScarsdale High School Senior Wolf Cukier became an overnight media start this week when news broke that on the third day of his internship at NASA last summer he discovered a new planet, 6.9 times the size of earth, located 1,300 light years away.

Working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD, Cukier was analyzing data that had been sent back to earth from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). He was looking through data that was flagged by citizen scientists who have access to the data when he found a planet that had two orbiting stars called a circumbinary planet. The system has been named TOI1338 and is the first circumbinary planet discovered by the TESS project.

In a news release from NASA, Cukier said, “I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit,” Cukier said. “About three days into my internship, I saw a signal from a system called TOI 1338. At first I thought it was a stellar eclipse, but the timing was wrong. It turned out to be a planet.” Once he made his discovery, he spent weeks with other scientists confirming his hypothesis.

The discovery was announced at the 235th American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu on Monday January 6.

Wolf was kind enough to answer a few questions about himself and here is what he shared:

How did you first become interested in astronomy

I’ve always been interested in science.  My mom is trained as a geologist and has passed on that love of science to me.  

Where did you find encouragement at the high school to pursue an internship at NASA?

The science research program at my school requires that students have a mentor to do research with over the summer.  To find a mentor I sent emails to various researchers throughout the country in my field and eventually one referred me to Ravi Kopparapu, my mentor for my first summer.  That summer I did research on calculating the habitable zone for binary star systems. This past summer I was invited back but Ravi was unable to mentor me due to travel plans so I worked with Veselin Kostov on finding a circumbinary planet.

How does you plan to continue your study of astronomy in the future?

In college I intend to study astrophysics or physics to gain the skills needed to continue my studies. 

Describe what’s happened since the news was released- how has the media been treating you

Yesterday and today have been overwhelming with the number of interviews that I have had but overall the media has treated me very well.

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