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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hilltop Basketball Preview

By Andy Gross
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Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Riverdale Country School boys’ basketball team. In the front row, left to right: Charles Shaviro, James Wolf, Aaron McIntyre and Zach Light. In the back row: Jared Gaer, James Prisk, Michael Gardner, Thomas Ryan, David Goldman and DeWitt Goss.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Horace Mann school girls’ basketball team. In the front row, left to right: Grace Warder, Jennifer Reiss, Meredith Peskin and Lily Essner. In the back row: Skylar Rosen, Riya Satara, Caroline Levy, Jaylah DeGout, Joanna Levy, Taylor Sanders.
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As the action launches on the hardwood with another winter of fast breaks and crashing the boards, The Press looks at the upcoming high school basketball season with a preview of local boys and girls private school teams. 

Riverdale Country School Falcons 

The Falcons are coming off of what coach Andrew Marinos termed a “fantastic” season. The Falcons went 22-5 last year and were co-Ivy League champs. They also beat Poly Prep to win the New York State Association of Independent Schools’ (NYSAIS) division championship.

The team loses four starters this season. But Marinos said senior Tom Ryan, a 6-foot-2-inch forward who played a significant part of last year’s championship game, will return to drive the offense.

Returning Falcons also include senior Aaron McIntyre and junior Michael Gardner, both 6-foot-2-inch forwards who are expected to pick up the scoring slack from graduated stars Josh Wetzler, Hal Friedman and Nicky Raven.

 The Falcons open their season on the road on Thursday, Dec. 5 against the Lawrence-Woodmere School.  

Horace Mann Lions 

Coach Tim Sullivan hopes to improve on last year’s 8-11 record. “We return five players who started games last year: Tom Schnepp, Andrew Verbinnen, Kosta Bajovic, Ben Fox, and Mike Lighte,” he said. “We believe all of our players can score and all are willing to share the ball with each other. We lost a lot of close games last year and hope we can build upon that and win those same close games.”

Sullivan has high hopes for this season despite acknowledging the tough competition his team will face.

“We are very excited about our team this year but are fully aware of how talented our league is,” Sullivan said. “This is the hardest working team I have been with. Hopefully that translates into a wining season.”

The Lions open their season on Saturday, Nov. 30 at home against Dexter.

Fieldston Eagles  

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