WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The White Plains High School boys basketball team lost to New Rochelle by three points when the teams met on Jan. 3.
So it came as no surprise to Tigers’ head coach Spencer Mayfield that Thursday’s rematch at New Rochelle was another close contest.
“We knew that it would be a battle and we’d have to bring our best effort,” Mayfield said.
The Tigers hung around, but New Rochelle (7-7) held off White Plains (2-10) for a 54-48 victory.
It seemed as though New Rochelle was headed for a comfortable game when they jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter. But White Plains battled back and had several chances to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter. Missed shots and untimely turnovers ultimately doomed the Tigers down the stretch.
“I don’t think it was too much to climb back from. We were right there and every time we got a chance to really make some hay, we’d have some misfortune,” Mayfield said. “We’d turn it over or miss a shot or didn’t make a big play.”
Huguenots’ forward Joe Clarke, who hit clutch free throws in the final minute to seal the win for New Rochelle, was not surprised by the flow of the game.
“We knew they were going to come out fighting just like us,” Clarke said. “We have a bad record just as well as them. So we knew they were going to come out fighting .. so they came into the game thinking they were going to beat us. And that’s what they did. They played a hard-fought game.”
New Rochelle has struggled this season and lost to Scarsdale and Mount Vernon last week. But Mayfield knew he and the Tigers had to respect the Huguenots, regardless of their record this year.
“It’s (Class) AA. You’ve got to go through New Rochelle and Mount Vernon if you want to play at the next level,” Mayfield said. “They bring out the best in you.”