MORRISTOWN, NJ - The final minute of regulation of Wednesday night’s boys basketball matchup between Morristown and Roxbury was not suited for the faint of heart.
Three fast break baskets in a helter-skelter 20 second span. A technical foul given to Roxbury coach Joe Ansaldi following a lane violation after a made field goal that would have given the Gaels a 4-point lead with :18 on the clock had it not been called. And finally, a step back three-pointer by Steve Leung at the buzzer to force overtime at 50-all
Leung and Morristown would carry that momentum into the extra period, and the Colonials would ultimately pull out a 60-55 thriller and pull the winners back to 5-5.
“I’m really happy for Steve, as he’s one of our senior captains. Obviously hitting the three to keep us alive was huge, but so were his four quick points in overtime to put us ahead,” said Morristown coach Bill Connolly.
With the Gaels up 45-41, Duncan Wild got the frantic finish started by swishing a floater in transition to cut the deficit in half. Roxbury’s Ben Palanchi would finish a run-out lay-up on the other hand to put the visitors back up four, but that was answered by a runner off the fingertips of Morristown’s Kahleb Hicks on the other end to make it a one-possession game again.
The next sequence of events will be disputed by fans at the other end of the Sussex Turnpike.
With 26 seconds remaining, Roxbury point guard Brandon Lessig made the first of two free throws to make it 48-45. Lessig made the next free throw, but the point was voided due to a lane violation, and the ensuing argument led to Ansaldi being assessed a technical foul.
Leung would make both technical charity tosses, but a three-ball was off the mark. Roxbury’s Nick Danna would bump the Gaels lead back up to three with a free throw at the other end, setting up Leung’s big shot.
“(Free throw shooting) is two-steps,” Connolly said. “First you got to draw fouls and get there, and then you got to make them. Our guys did a good job with that tonight.”
In the overtime, Leung’s aforementioned pair of driving lay-ups put Morristown for good in the anti-climactic overtime period, and four in as many tries at the line by forward Ray Mundrick iced the victory. Leung led all scorers with 22 points.
Morristown had all sorts of problems with Roxbury forward Will Findlay in the early goings. Findlay – a Division I baseball prospect – led the Gaels with 18 points, including 10 in the first quarter to stake Roxbury out to a 17-7 lead after a quarter and a 25-15 advantage at half.
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