Brendan Stanzione’s Putback Lifts Johnson Past Holmdel in Overtime in NJSIAA Central, Group 2 First Round

Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Brendan Stanzione leaping for the game-winning layup to help the No. 3 seeded Crusaders sink the No. 6 seeded Holmdel Hornets 64-62 in overtime. Credits: Bobby Dante
Arthur L. Johnson High School sophomore Brandon Hund watches the basketball as it drains through the hoop to tie the game at 57 to force overtime. He scored 14 points in the win for the Crusaders. Credits: Bobby Dante
Arthur L. Johnson High School head coach Dave Kennedy talking to his players in their final timeout in the fourth quarter before going back on the floor for the final possession of the fourth quarter. Credits: Bobby Dante
The Crusaders players and fans celebrating on the floor following the game. Johnson will play No. 6 seeded Lincoln HS Wednesday night in the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 Quarterfinals Wednesday night. Credits: Bobby Dante

CLARK, NJ-  Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Brendan Stanzione’s putback basket with 0.9 seconds left in overtime lifted the No. 3 seeded Crusaders past the No. 14 Holmdel High Hornets by a final score of 64-62 Monday night in Clark. 

The Crusaders called their final timeout with 17 seconds left in overtime to plan out a strategy and it all paid off. Stanzione grabbed the ball and banked it home to give his team the win in their first home state playoff game in over 30 years.

Holmdel had no timeouts and couldn’t respond as the clock ran out.

Sign Up for E-News

“I tried to get in good position to get a putback and I jumped over the other player to try and get the ball," Stanzione said. "I knew I only had a few seconds so I just put it up and thankfully it went in.” 

The teams engaged in a tug-of-war battle in the first half, with Johnson ahead of Holmdel 22-19 at halftime.

The Holmdel Hornets took a 40-38 lead heading into the third quarter, but Johnson would stay close  as the fourth quarter went on. The Crusaders were in danger of elimination, trailing by three points with less than 15 seconds left, but sophomore Brandon Hund would not allow Holmdel to pull it out.

He beat the buzzer with a game-tying three-pointer, knotting the score up at 57-57 heading into the extra frame. Hund talked about the moments leading up to one of the biggest shots of his career so far for the Crusaders.

“In the huddle, I knew that since we had no timeouts left, we needed a three,” Hund said. “So after Brenden Kelly shot the ball, it bounced off the rim and I saw [Brendan] Stanzione go up for it and I knew he was going to get a piece of it because he always dominates the glass.”

“He happened to tip it to me and I wasn’t sure how much time was left because I didn’t have a chance to look, so I just shot from the corner where my favorite spot is. Right in front of the crowd and when I shot, I just knew it was going in. I felt it and then before I knew it, the whole bench was running out and I had a big smile on my face. But then we had to get back to business to put the game away and come out with the win.”

The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the extra four minutes, with Stanzione scoring the game-winning basket. Holmdel, with timeouts left, was forced to inbound and weren’t able to set anything up. Tt was bedlam in Clark.

For Johnson, junior George Visconti scored 24 points in the win, while Hund put up 14 points for the Crusaders in the nail-biting victory.

The two teams met in the Rahway Christmas Tournament on December 27, with Johnson winning 61-58.

For Holmdel, junior Timmy Zhou led all scorers with 26 points in the heartbreaking loss for his team.

The Johnson Crusaders (20-4) advance to the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 Quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.  They will face off against No. 6 seeded Lincoln HS Wednesday night in a home game at 7:00 p.m.

The Holmdel Hornets finish their 2016-17 season with a 12-10 record.

---------------  is Clark’s official electronic news source and the only free daily paper. 

“LIKE” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @TAPintoClark.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service


Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Reminder: Free Electronics Recycling for Union County Residents, June 30

June 14, 2018

Union County is offering a free electronics recycling event on Saturday, June 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools campus, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

Any Union County resident may bring unwanted televisions, computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to this e-cycling site. There is a limit of six items per ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans

Do you know the benefits and potential pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans? Do you know when to use them?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he gives and overview of them and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  



Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...


Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more