Man, what a basketball game…
SPRING VALLEY — Even Spring Valley would admit, adversity had not been its friend. The Tigers had played their best from from ahead, but they never had that luxury Wednesday night against Tappan Zee.
In fact, Spring Valley trailed every second of the second half and by as many as 13 points. Still, the Tigers didn’t fade. Instead, they forced overtime and thrived amid a playoff-like home atmosphere, winning 77-71 in a matchup of two of the Top 10-ranked Class A teams in the state.
“This is the hardest game we’ve ever played,” said senior Rickey McGill, who had 23 points and nine assists. “Usually when we’re down, we keep our heads down and get blown out by 20. This game, we came out in the second half, went at them and got the win.”
The Tigers (8-1) had trailed 42-30 at halftime after the Dutchmen closed on a 20-4 run. Tappan Zee (9-2) tacked on a point to start the third quarter when Spring Valley’s bench was assessed a technical during intermission.
A 15-3 run cut the deficit to one, but the Tigers were hit with another technical late in the third. It resulted in a six-point swing that was capped by Robert McWilliams’ three-point play.
A Jamarr Joseph 3-pointer tied it 55-55, but Tappan Zee pushed ahead by five again. Finally, Devan Lawson hit a pair of free throws with 1:08 remaining to tie it again, 66-66.
Finally, in overtime, the Tigers grabbed a lead on Rob McGill’s 3. McGill and Jy’Quan Boykin – in after two teammates fouled out – each had steals in the final minute, one of which resulted in a clinching dunk by Kai Mitchell.
“This was really good for us,” said Mitchell, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds. “It will keep our team level-headed and let us know not to get our heads down. We can come back from anything.”
Both teams left with reason to be upbeat. Coach George Gaine said McWilliams (38 points), Luke McLaughlin (24) and and his Dutchmen gave their best effort of the season.
“I was upset after games we won this year, but I wasn’t upset about this one,” Gaine said. “I think we competed. There’s nothing to be upset about.”
The teams meet again on Feb. 3 at Tappan Zee.
PHOTO GALLERY: Photos by Seth Harrison.
Best of the rest: Jason Schneider scored a career-high 28 points off the bench as North Rockland beat visiting Ramapo, 84-55. Schneider hit eight 3-pointers and had six rebounds and six assists. Evly Davis added 26 points and 14 rebounds. Divine Cesar scored 20 of his 27 in the second quarter for Ramapo. … E.J. Smith had 15 points and six rebounds as Nyack beat visiting Nanuet, 44-37. … Christian Conklin had 22 points for Albertus Mangus, which edged visiting Pearl River 54-53. … George Santangelo had 16 points as Hackley topped Trinity, 38-35. … Salim Green scored 30 points, but Rye Country Day lost to Hopkins, 71-57. … Kevin Jefferson had 20 points and Eric O’Neal added 18 as Suffern beat Clarkstown North, 75-55. … Benny DiMirco scored 11 points in Eastchester’s 64-46 victory at Port Chester. … Derrick Felder had team-highs of 24 points and seven steals in Saunders’ 69-45 victory over Roosevelt. … Andrew Groll totaled 31 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks and Ross Weinfeld had nine assists as Byram Hills beat Pelham, 76-62. Brendan Roche had 23 points for the Pelicans. … Luis Cartagena had 29 points and C.J. Layne added 18 in White Plains’ 72-66 victory over Scarsdale. … Arnold Smalls had 16 points and 18 rebounds as Martin Luther King dropped Biondi, 51-41. … Ricky Hicks led Harvey with 20 points, six rebounds and eight steals in a 49-33 victory over Christian Heritage.
Spring Valley 77, Tappan Zee 71 (OT)
Byram Hills 76, Pelham 62
Hopkins 71, Rye Country Day 57
White Plains 72, Scarsdale 66
North Rockland 84, Ramapo 55
Saunders 69, Roosevelt 45
Suffern 75, Clarkstown North 55
Eastchester 64, Port Chester 46
MLK 51, Biondi 41
Nyack 44, Nanuet 37
Hackley 38, Trinity 35
Harvey 49, Christian Heritage 33
Yonkers 44, Gorton 33
Albertus Magnus 54, Pearl River 53