BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. – The top-seeded Briarcliff High School boys basketball team begins its pursuit of a gold ball Friday at 6 p.m. when it hosts No. 16 Irvington in the opening round of the Section 1 Class B playoffs.
The Bears defeated the Bulldogs, 53-47, at Irvington on Feb. 1. Big man Brian Daniels scored 28 points for Briarcliff, while Ryan Huegel chipped in 12 points.
Briarcliff finished the season with a 15-3 record. The losses came against Nyack, Byram Hills and Kellenberg Memorial.
The Bears weathered a difficult schedule and still emerged as top seed. Briarcliff played 12 games against Section 1 playoff teams and won 10 of them.
Daniels has been a force in the paint for the Bears all season and a nightmare for opposing defenses. He can pour in points almost at will and has the size and athleticism to outwork his opponent on the boards.
Huegel has been another key player for Briarcliff this year, and the outside shooting of Jared Jones has given an extra dimension to the offense.
Irvington ended its season at 6-12 and struggled against the other playoff teams on its schedule, including Pelham, Dobbs Ferry and Bronxville.
John Goldreich has led the way for the Bulldogs and put up 18 points to the lead the team in a 53-49 win against No. 17 Ardsley in the outbracket round on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs will have an uphill battle on their hands against the Bears. Briarcliff played a tougher schedule than Irvington and finished with a much better record. Briarcliff also has the benefit of extra rest, while Irvington played a close game on Wednesday.
Irvington will need to play its best game of the season to shock the Bears.