#12 – 2017 SECTION 1 CLASS A CHAMPIONSHIP: LOURDES 42, TAPPAN ZEE 39
Game recap: After upsetting Byram Hills in the semi finals, the number 1 ranked team in the state, Lourdes new that it had its hands full with the number 2 team in the section and arguably the number 2 team in the state, led by All-Section big man Kevin Lynch. Lourdes took an early 9-3 lead despite James Anozie, the big man for Lourdes, picking up two questionable fouls early in the first quarter. But then Lynch also picked up his second foul and then his third on a technical foul with 1:40 left in the first. Two of the best players in section 1 went to the bench to finish out the first quarter with Lourdes leading 9-3. In a foul substitution chess match with TZ, Lourdes took a commanding lead with Lynch on the bench with 3 fouls and Anozie on the court with 2. Down by as many as 16, Ryan Holder kept TZ in it with 10 of his 16 points in the second quarter cutting the lead to 10 at the half. Kevin Lynch and Matt McGivney hit key 3-pointers to ignite a Dutchmen rally in the third. Lourdes was leading 40-37 with just over a minute left. Lynch’s free throws cut the lead to 1. Up 1 with 9.3 second left in the game, Lourdes did not want Anozie to be the one to go to the line. But the inbounds ultimately went to him and TZ immediately fouled him. After missing the front end of a the one and one, TZ had the ball in the final seconds. But Kevin Townes’ stripped Matt Gibson as he crossed half court and his dunk in the final seconds sealed it.
The Hero: James Anozie. As he did in the previous games, the senior big man owned the interior. Anozie posted 14 points and 10 rebounds and did a solid job defensively. Both Anozie and Lynch played the entire second half despite their first half foul woes.
Why it’s Top 50: TZ was the clear favorite despite Lourdes knocking off Byram Hills. Lourdes continued to stun the entire section. Although the two big men were plagued with foul trouble in the first half, both had outstanding games in the second making this championship exciting for at least 16 minutes. This game was so emotionally-charged from the start and it remained that way through the final buzzer.
Lasting image: Kevin Townes dunking the ball (almost) as time expired was certainly a memorable moment. A stunned section 1 was now dealing with the reality that Lourdes had continued their upset streak by taking down 3 top ranked teams (they beat Saunders in the quarter finals), all on the road. The run lasted all the way to the NYS finals in Binghamton where they fell to Irondequoit in a game decided in the last minute.