Last game of the season ends in overtime play

Central Valley. By the end of the fourth quarter, both basketball teams were tied with 48 points.

| 05 Mar 2024 | 02:51

On Saturday morning, March 2, the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders boys varsity basketball team hosted the Tigers of Kingston in the OCIAA Section 9 Class AAA Boys Final. The Crusaders came into the final with a 16-5 record after beating Newburgh 68-56 in the semifinal. The first place Tigers came into the final with a 15-5 record; they were the #1 seed in this year’s section playoff. The Tigers beat the Crusaders twice during the regular season: 70-52 in Kingston and 63-61 in Monroe earlier in the season.

In front of the largest crowd of the season, the Tigers jumped out to a 8-0 early lead. Jayden Desir led the Crusaders back into the game as he scored 7 of his 12 points in the game, cutting the Tigers’ lead down to 1 point by the end of the first.

In the second quarter, the Crusaders took the lead and pulled away as Kyle McDermott scored 8 of his 18 points in the game, and the Crusaders took a 29-22 half time lead. In the third quarter, the Tiger defense tightened as they battled their way back into the lead at 40-36. The Crusaders desperately battled back in the fourth quarter with their season on the line.

The Crusaders tied the score on Desir’s 3-point shot with 4:44 left in the game. That was when McDermott brought the packed house to its feet when with his two-handed jam to put the Crusaders up 44-42 with 3:16 left in the game. The Tigers fought their way back into the lead but with :10 on the clock and the Crusaders down by 2 points, Jankarlos Mendoza stepped to the line and hit his two free throws to tie the game at 48 and send it into overtime.

Unfortunately for the Crusaders, the Tigers outscored them in the four-minute overtime period 7-3 and the Crusaders’ season came to an end. The Tigers will advance to the regionals this week where they will face either the Section 4 or Section 1 winner. The Crusaders’ 55-51 loss brings their record to 16-6 and ends their season.

Head coach James Hahn will have his work cut out for him during the off season. He will try to replace the seven seniors that he will lose to graduation this year, but with a strong JV team to pick from, the Crusaders look to make another run at the playoffs next year.