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Rivalries highlight boys basketball brackets

Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 by Kevin Devaney Jr. and Josh Thomson - The Journal News
February 12, 2009

What's the best way to make a playoff game even more intense? How about playing your cross-town rival.

Three of the fiercest rivalries in high school sports - Rye vs. Harrison, Pearl River vs. Tappan Zee and Gorton vs. Lincoln - highlight the Section 1 boys basketball tournament, which begins today with outbracket games.

The brackets for the boys and girls tournaments were officially released yesterday.

Rye will host Harrison and Tappan Zee will travel to Pearl River in Class A quarterfinals. Gorton will play at Lincoln in Class AA.

"It's going to be an incredible environment to play in," said Pearl River coach Jerry Houston, whose team lost to Tappan Zee in overtime before a standing-room-only crowd at the Pearl River Holiday Tournament in December.

"If the holiday tournament was any indication, Tappan Zee will bring its whole student body. They're similar to ours and just the student bodies alone could fill the place. There's going to be incredible electricity with what's at stake in this game."

The girls draws have less crosstown appeal. Instead, they are highlighted by a wide-open Class AA field.

Just imagine: The four-time defending champ didn't even qualify. Without White Plains, at least half the field could legitimately find itself riding a hot streak to a gold ball.

The favorites, by seed and record, are No. 1 Our Lady of Lourdes and No. 2 Mount Vernon, yet even those two powerhouses aren't locks to reach the County Center.

Last year, the Cinderella was the defending champion, 10th-seeded White Plains. This season's surprise team remains to be identified, but come Championship Week some team might find itself pulling off an equally impressive shocker.

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