Raiders Fall to Mt. Vernon in Controversial Contest

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.