The Albertus Magnus and Byram Hills boys basketball teams both carried home hardware from the Westchester County Center last season.
Byram Hills won the Section 1 Class A championship and Albertus Magnus won the Class B title.
The two teams returned to the County Center Wednesday for the finals of the 13th Annual Slam Dunk Tournament, with Albertus Magnus taking home the championship trophy with a 64-60 victory.
“It was a gutsy performance,” said Albertus Head Coach Pat McFadden. “Arnell Dandrige’s defense was tremendous. Pat McGuinness did some job running the club for us. Jack Sullivan is just a great weapon and Tyler Sayre is a difference maker. It was a total team win.”
“It was a great team effort,” said Sullivan. “Our defense stepped up and made a couple big stops at the end. I think that was the difference maker. It’s always good to come in here and get a win but to win a championship early on in the season will definitely give us confidence going forward.”
There was a very quick up and down pace to the game. Byram Hills pushed the ball up court at every opportunity. It was clear that the Bobcats wanted to dictate the pace of the game. The Bobcats did that by shooting 50 percent from 3-point land and 48 percent from the floor.
Sullivan seemed to thrive in the fast paced environment. The Falcons fell behind by seven at one point in the first half and trailed for most of it but they were able to straighten their flight.
Albertus led, 35-32, at halftime thanks to some excellent play from Sullivan and Sayre. Sayre was filling it up from all over the floor, making both 3-point attempts, all five free throws and six of nine from the field. Sayre had 19 at the half. Sullivan had three assists, four steals and six points in the first half.
“Tyler [Sayre] is like a kind of safety net. We all work hard out there but we know we can dump it inside to him for a quick bucket if we\ need one,” said Sullivan.
The game was played at the same hectic pace in the second half. Both teams shot exactly 21-of-38 from the floor on the night, and in the second half, both teams made three 3-pointers. The difference being the Bobcats’ three trifectas came on 12 shots while the Falcons’ three long balls came on four attempts.
Jack Sullivan scored 14 second half-points and carried his team for a stretch while Sayre was forced to the bench with foul trouble. He finished the game with 20 points.
“[Sullivan] just made big shot after big shot, especially when we needed him in the second half,” said Sayre. “He is absolutely a key player for us this year and he showed that tonight.”
In the final minute, when they needed a basket most, it was the Falcon’s safety net, Sayre, who swooped in with an offensive rebound and secured the win.
“That was definitely a huge play,” said Sayre. “ It was a 2-point game at that point and they were just hoping to grab the rebound and being able to sneak in to the rim and put it back in was great.”
Sayre scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds. He finished with 42 points in the two-day tournament to earn MVP honors.