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Sunday, March 4, 2018: A miracle finish and a marathon game
Leading off today: There were multiple boys and girls basketball championship games across New York on Saturday, but let's be realistic: There are two contests that everyone is talking about today.
Miracle win for Ardsley: Julian McGarvey missed two free throws and an opportunity to tie the Section 1 boys Class A championship game vs. Tappan Zee with 3.9 seconds to play. What happened next made the senior an instant sensation on TV and the internet.
The fifth-year varsity player and football quarterback made an over-the-shoulder interception of a long inbound pass from Tappan Zee, took one dribble (and arguably an impermissible step) to his right and heaved a one-handed shot from over 70 feet. His desperation shot sailed through the basket at the buzzer, giving Ardsley a 52-51 victory at Pace University for its first sectional championship since 1958.
"At one moment it looks like the whole world was ending and I'm about to start bawling on the court because I just missed the free throws to win the game for my team," McGarvey said. "And then they throw one down half court, I catch it, stumble a little bit, throw it as I'm falling back and it found the bottom of the net."
McGarvey finished with 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals to earn tournament MVP.
Ardsley calls timeout. Sean Cappiello didn't like something he saw. Ardsley really needs a steal here. Anything else and it's going to take an Edney-like shot to win.
Ardsley led 49-48 on Dan Hewitt's short jumper with 1:36 left. After each team made a defensive stop, Tappan Zee's Oziah Deloatch converted a three-point play with :14.2 to go.
On the ensuing play, McGarvey was fouled on a drive. When he missed the first shot with :3.9 left, coach Sean Cappiello called a timeout and told him to miss the second. When he did, Tappan Zee rebounded and Ardsley fouled Jackson Muncan.
With neither team in the bonus, Tappan Zee inbounded from its defensive baseline, and McGarvey leaped in front of the pass intended for Deloatch. The rest was up to McGarvey.
"Throw it up high and let your receiver catch up to it. This time I hit the spot -- right in the bottom of the net," he said.
Ardsley's season continues Wednesday against Maine-Endwell in the first round of the NYSPHSAA tournament.
• McGarvey's memorable moment came five years to the day after New Rochelle's Khalil Edney shocked Mount Vernon at the buzzer in one of the most famous finishes in high school basketball. Like McGarvey, Edney was a star quarterback who connected from beyond halfcourt.
They could have played all night: West Seneca West earned its first Section 6 championship since 2000 by defeating Williamsville South 97-95 in four overtimes in the boys Class A-1 title game at Buffalo State.
Juston Johnson scored six of his game-high 38 points in the final 1:06 to help WSW rally from a four-point deficit and advance to a post-sectional qualifier against Buffalo South Park for a berth in the state quarterfinals.
Williamsville South's Greg Dolan finished with 36 points to go over 2,000 for his career.
"That's probably one of the best high school basketball games everyone in this gym has ever seen," Indians coach Des Randall said. "It doesn't get better than that. Thankfully we came out on top."
Dolan fouled out in the fourth OT, and Johnson made two free throws to close to within 94-93. Alex Wayland followed with a steal and feed to Johnson for a 3-pointer with 58.6 seconds left.
After the teams exchanged free throws, Devin Degree missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
Williamsville South had a 64-53 lead late in the third quarter but West rallied to take a 69-68 lead with 4:09 left in the fourth. Scores after the first three overtime periods were 79-79, 86-86 and 90-90.
The fourth quarter and all of the OTs ended with the ball in Williamsville South's possession.
"We had six different shots, I believe, to win it and none of them went in," Billies coach Gabe Michael said. "Once Greg fouled out, the momentum in the whole building just changed and you could sense that it was their time."
More to come: I'll add some more to this basketball roundup later Sunday after my unday shift at my real job.