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By Tom Rottkamp of

The Last Play of the Game

March 12, 2017

LI AA Championship at Stony Brook

Westbury vs. Hills East

Jalyn Dunlap’s fantastic putback gave Westbury a 1 point lead with 10.5 seconds to play.

As the ball circled the rim and then fell through the net, Westbury guard Darius Young bounced over to Hills pg Savion Lewis and “faceguarded” him tightly.

Lewis put his hands together, above his head, signaling for a time out.

Hills’ big man, 45, grabbed the ball out of the net and dropped it to the floor for Julien Crittendon …… who, in an effort to keep the inbounds pass away from Young, nearly threw the pass away.

Lewis made a stretching, saving catch and began his 10 bounce drive up the left sideline.

Lewis caught the ball with 7.2 seconds remaining and passed to teammate, 33, with 2.2 remaining.

33 passed to 45 in the lane immediately, despite having Crittendon wide open at the top of the key.

45’s ten foot jump shot in the lane was well contested by Dunlap. It missed.

The photos tell the story.

Hills East was left wondering : what happened ?

Remember, they clearly outplayed Westbury early in the game, streaking to 28-13 lead, 4 minutes into the second quarter.

Their aggressive match-up zone defense was limiting Westbury to forced jumpers late in the shot clock.

Lewis and Crittendon were scoring with confidence. And, their home crowd-like cheering section was sensing an easy blowout victory.

Westbury recovered to trail by only 4 just before the half by realizing that contested jump shots do allow for offensive rebound opportunities. The Green Dragons are a physically strong team and they used the “putback basket” as their best weapon.

It should come as no surprise that these two talented team would look up at the scoreboard with 14.7 seconds left to play ….

And the score reading :

Westbury 59

Hills East 60

And, it is no surprise that the amazing play by Dunlap to give Westbury the lead, sent the crowd into a deafening frenzy …. thus, possibly causing some confusion for the players on the floor.

What was surprising, of course, was that there was neither the use of a time out by the Hills staff ( yes, a TO was available ) OR a late game plan.

Savion Lewis is speedy. 10 dribbles is a lot but, he was being pressured by Darius Young and he did advance the ball from the far baseline to his own basket’s mid post area, before pivoting and kicking it out.

Foul trouble cost the Thunderbirds.

45 and 33 are not starters. They seemed unsure in this last play transition.

Perhaps, the surprise, the noise, the stage, missing two key players ….. all led to a poor game – winning attempt .

7.2 seconds, and even 2.2 with a guy wide open is certainly a missed opportunity.

Both Lewis and Crittendon are juniors.

Be prepared Long Island.

They will be working for a chance to play in this game again next year ……

To finish the game as Westbury did :

Focused. Determined. Successful.

And sprinting into the arms of their teammates and fans under the sound of beautiful noise.

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