Well, after weeks of torturous one-loss nights, I had finally had my first perfect pick’em night of the season, going a blemish-free 9-for-9 in the Class A and C quarterfinals (and one Class B make-up first-round match).
During today’s Class AA and B quarterfinals, I will be covering the Hen Hud-Pelham match, in what will be a rematch of last year’s Class B section final. Please shoot me tweets and e-mails with updates from around the section and I will retweet them out as soon as I can. Thanks to my awesome tweeps out there, I had all quarterfinal results by like 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
As you saw from my predictions, I have the two-time defending champion Pelicans winning this one. But, if you saw my video recap of the first round, this one has definite upset potential. The Sailors, much like last year, have caught scorching fire towards the end of the season. I still think the Pelicans (pictured right) take it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the match went five or if the 10th-seeded Sailors wound up winning. Hen Hud’s seed doesn’t reflect this team’s talent in the least bit, don’t be fooled.
This match will feature two of the most experienced coaches in the game, as well as two of the most successful in recent years. Hen Hud has been to a section final in 16 of the last 18 seasons under Diane Swertfager, including three consecutive state title runs from 2006-08. Pelham, led by Mark Finegan, has won the last two Class B regional titles and will be seeking its third consecutive trip to Glens Falls (and elimination of the Sailors) this year.
The section final last year featured a tremendous crowd from both teams, especially considering it was at Arlington. With this match closer to home, the “Bleacher Creatures” and Pelham faithful may pack the seats a little more in this next rendezvous.
UPSET ALERT: As I just stated, the Hen Hud-Pelham match is most certainly on “upset alert” in my book, but it isn’t the only one; the potential for upsets are plentiful on Tuesday. I think both 4-5 matchups could easily go the other way, but then again, it’s hard to call any seed that’s one rank lower an “upset” over the other.
I actually think both No. 3 seeds (Scarsdale and Byram Hills) should be fine, as well as No. 2 Suffern. However, both No. 1 seeds (John Jay-East Fishkill and Ardsley) aren’t as safe as many may think. The Patriots (17-1) go up against a scrappy Mahopac team that has high potential, but low consistency. If the Indians put it together, mixed with a subpar performance from the Patriots, we could see the first No. 1 seed fall.
In Westchester, undefeated Ardsley (16-0) will host Nanuet — a peculiar team which nobody can seem to get a solid read on. The Golden Knights have had their share of struggles, but a five-game loss to the Panthers earlier this season suggests that coach Jen Adams’ girls will be more than able to handle their own on the court Monday. Again, I still have both top seeds advancing (and winning) in their respective brackets; these are called upset “alerts,” not upset “guarantees.” Think of them as the fire alarms of predicting — the real threat of the alarm is minimal… but it gets your attention.
Here is the complete schedule; I chalked the board in my predictions:
Section 1 tournament
No. 8 Mahopac at No. 1 John Jay-East Fishkill, 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Fox Lane at No. 2 Suffern, 4:30 p.m.
No. 6 Mamaroneck at No. 3 Scarsdale, 5 p.m.
No. 5 Clarkstown South at No. 4 Arlington, 5 p.m.
No. 8 Nanuet at No. 1 Ardsley, 4:30 p.m.
No. 11 Pearl River at No. 3 Byram Hills, 4:30 p.m.
No. 5 Edgemont at No. 4 Lourdes, 5 p.m.
No. 10 Hen Hud at No. 2 Pelham, 5 p.m. — Live coverage
Zacchio’s prediction record today: 9-0 (Finally!)
Zacchio’s prediction record for the Section 1 tournament: 29-4
Zacchio’s prediction record for the season overall: 358-72
Photo credit: John Meore for The Journal News