WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Dobbs Ferry High School boys basketball team held off No. 9 North Salem for a 72-66 win in the semifinals of the Section 1 Class B tournament.
Star junior Eric Paschall knew coming into the game that he would eventually have to dish the ball to open teammates. So with a 61-57 lead with a little less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, as Paschall was double teamed, Dan Riefenhauser repeatedly found himself open on the baseline.
Paschall fed him the ball on three straight plays and Riefenhauser converted every time.
The two teammates always practice feeding the ball to each other "because I’m always running the baseline,” Riefenhauser said. “And after so much pressure goes up to Eric after a game like this, things just started opening up for me." He added, "As soon as he sees me, he just dishes it.”
Riefenhauser scored nine of Dobbs Ferry’s final 11 points, including three of four at the free throw line to ice the game. He also scored nine of his 11 total points in the fourth quarter after he had just two points with three minutes left in the game.
The junior was clutch for the Eagles down the stretch but said he didn’t do it alone.
“We just came together on that floor,” Riefenhauser said. “We said we’ve only got one more quarter to end this and we made a pact from the beginning of the year to make it to the championship game and bring home a gold ball.”
Riefenhauser’s efforts would have meant nothing without Paschall, who finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. North Salem’s Umar Singh finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Joe Tunas has 19 points.
The two Eagles perhaps best showed their chemistry late in the third quarter when Riefenhauser lobbed the ball up to Paschall, who elevated for a monstrous dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
“Me and Dan, I had three alley-oops this season, so we just have that connection out there,” Paschall said.
Paschall received two technical fouls in last year’s semifinals and had to sit out the championship game as a result. That fact still eats at him, and now he has a chance to do what he could not last year when the Eagles play in the title game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“I’m very hungry. I knew last year my first tech and the second tech wasn’t supposed to happen,” Paschall said. “I didn’t agree with it. So I’m very hungry coming into this game.”