Here’s my story on Clarkstown South’s dramatic win at New Rochelle:
NEW ROCHELLE — Stephen Collamore knew this much: He was not the first option. In fact, he wasn’t the second, third or fourth either.
“I was more of the last option. It would’ve been Conor, Joe, Kevin, Justin,” the grinning Clarkstown South senior said. “I was the last one, but I got it.”
To Collamore, that last fact mattered most. His only basket all game came on a wide-open layup to beat the buzzer as Clarkstown South stunned defending Class AA champ New Rochelle, 64-63, in overtime on Thursday at New Rochelle High School.
Although Collamore finished with just the two points, none were bigger in a game that saw seven lead changes in overtime alone.
New Rochelle’s Derek Dorn had his jump shot roll around the rim and fall to give his team a 63-62 lead with 3.9 seconds remaining in overtime. During the subsequent timeout, Vikings coach Matt Backs designed a play that called senior Joe Zayer to inbound to senior Kevin Martinez, who then handed it off to a streaking Zayer.
His main options were to either pass ahead to Conor McGuinness in the right corner for a 3-pointer or pullup himself on the run. Instead, Collamore hustled from the left sideline, cut diagonally to the rim and Zayer found him unguarded.
“Steve was wide open,” said Zayer, who scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. “I had to give it to him.”
“We had a mental breakdown,” New Rochelle coach Rasaun Young said. “I already looked at it on film. He was just consumed with the play and the ball and just lost sight of his man.”
The play capped a wild fourth quarter and overtime. Dorn and senior Alex Tuci — who had 14 points and 16 rebounds but lost sight of Collamore on the winning hoop — led New Rochelle to a nine-point lead at one point. South responded, pulling in front 56-54 on Zayer’s 3-pointer with 34.1 to left in regulation. Only the Huguenots tied it when junior Antoine Lewis scored on a contested putback of Tuci’s missed 3 in the final seconds.
The teams traded several salvos in overtime. McGuinness put South in front 62-61 on a pair of free throws with 19.2 to play. Dorn (19 points) then had his soft jumper drop for what appeared to be the game-winner until Collamore saw his hustle rewarded.
“I didn’t tell him to do it, but he trailed the play exactly like you’re supposed to,” said Backs, whose team lost to the Huguenots 67-36 at home in the opening round of last year’s Class AA playoffs. “Joey found him and that was it.”
New Rochelle (2-4) found the final play difficult to stomach, a pain similar to the one it dealt Mount Vernon on Khalil Edney’s famous buzzer beater from beyond halfcourt in last year’s Class AA final.
“That’s why this hurts so much today,” Young said. “Some of these kids were on the other side last year, and now they know what it feels like when you lose one.”