As the final seconds of a crisply-played, philanthropic and at times intense Friday evening of boys and girls basketball at Manhattan College wound down, the Horace Mann faithful lined the courts in anticipation.
When their boys’ team finished off its 54-44 win over Riverdale in the annual Buzzell Games, the crowd stormed the Draddy Gynmnasium court.
Included in the scrum were most of the players from the Horace Mann girls’ team, which earned a 39-29 win over Riverdale in its penultimate game of the season.
“Our game was pretty intense,” said junior point guard and captain Jenny Reiss, who led the Lions with 19 points, seven rebounds and five steals. “It was a very physical game. I think the spectators got into it a little more in the boys game, so most of us stayed and stormed the court.”
The Buzzell Games pitted hilltop rivals Horace Mann and Riverdale — both members of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) — against each other, with the proceeds of the game split between the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society. Friday’s games had more than 650 people in attendance and brought in $2,400 for charity, according to Horace Mann girls coach Ray Barile.
For the players, it’s the biggest game on the schedule every year.
“Because it’s a major tradition, we have a lot of feelings toward this game,” said Reiss, who was playing in the game for the third time. “It’s our star game, so a lot of us have an affinity to it. You feel like you’re playing at a higher level on a college court.”
In the boys’ matchup, senior captain Thomas Schnepp scored 19 points, including the 1,000th of his career in the first quarter, as the Lions (12-11, 5-9 NYSAIS) used an 18-2 run in the fourth quarter to come back from a two-point halftime deficit. It was their first win at the Buzzell Games since 2006, according to head coach Tim Sullivan, and it avenged a 66-57 loss to Riverdale in December.