WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Ronald Garcia was eagerly awaiting Biondi High School's game in the Section 1 Class D Boys Basketball Final Four at the Westchester County Center Monday.
The 6-foot-2 junior forward missed the Yonkers' school's 2012 final-four appearance with an injury.
Once the semifinal between Biondi and Greenburgh Academy began, Garcia immediately asserted himself and would prove to be the best player on the floor.
Garcia finished with a game-high 24 points and also had 10 rebounds as the second seed defeated fourth-seeded Greenburgh Academy, 52-36.
Biondi returns to the Class D title game, scheduled for 3 p.m., Friday, against top-seeded Martin Luther King High School of the Greenburgh-Graham School District. The teams split the regular-season set with Biondi winning at home and Martin Luther King prevailing in overtime at its place.
“It was upsetting because I wanted to help the team win and then we won and they took the championship away from us,” Garcia said.
“This was my first chance to come here and we want to get the golden ball.”
Biondi coach Bob Delle Bovi said he expected Greenburgh Academy to come out in a box-and-one defense with them playing Johnnie Gray man-to-man. When Greenburgh Academy did not do this, Delle Bovi went to Garcia.
“We have a very good inside-out game with Ronald strong inside and Johnnie, who is an excellent three-point shooter,” Delle Bovi said. “We were getting open looks with Ronald inside so we continued doing it.”
In the second and third quarters, when Greenburgh Academy made runs at Biondi, the Lions went to Garcia. He responded with six points in the second quarter and added eight in the third quarter as Biondi extended its lead to 41-25 after three.
During one sequence in the third quarter, Garcia finished off a break with a left-handed layup. A Biondi steal led to a fast break with Gray feeding Garcia, who faked the defender in the air, then hit a five-footer off glass.
“In the third quarter, we were not playing well so coach told us we had to get back into the game,” Garcia said. “We took our time, moved the ball well and made our open shots.”
Gray added 14 points, including 6 of 8 from the free-throw line, and Derrick Alverez finished with seven points
Shamale Lawsom led Greenburgh Academy with eight points and Taylor Cummings had seven points.