Five days after Pine Bush’s boys’ basketball team won its second straight Section 9, Class AA title, Mount Vernon proved to be the obstacle at preventing the Bushmen advancing to the state semis.
Mount Vernon, the defending state champ, stopped Pine Bush last year in the regional semis, and Friday, at Pace University in Pleasantville, they eliminated the Bushmen 63-58 in the regional final.
Bryan Powell led Pine Bush with 26 points, and Brandon Powell, his twin brother, finished the game with 19 points. Anthony Potts scored 10 points in the loss to round out the team in double figures.
Pine Bush trailed by 15 points at the half before going on a 25-7 run in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Bushmen offense cooled as Mount Vernon regained the momentum and advanced again to the state final four.
Pine Bush, which finished the season 23-2, advanced to the regional final after beating Ithaca convincingly Tuesday in the first round, 72-57, at SUNY Orange in Middletown. Friday’s defeat ended two weeks of playoffs in which the Bushmen beat NFA, Kingston and Burke to earn their sectional title.
“As the number one seed, we had a tough run,” said Steve Distefano, Pine Bush’s coach, prior to facing Ithaca. “Going through Newburgh, going through Kingston and going through Burke has us completely prepped for tonight.”
Pine Bush will forever reflect upon this time as having one of the best teams in the state during the past two seasons. But the run is likely over with the departures of the Powell twins and Mason Memmelaar, a pillar inside, when these seniors graduate in June.
By Bond Brungard