Its postseason hopes swinging in the balance with every possession in overtime, the Danbury High boys basketball team did its best Monday to withstand Staples' offensive punch.
And when the ball landed back in the Hatters' hands late in the second overtime -- with the score knotted at 68 -- guard Danyjoel Harris did the rest.
Harris took an inbounds pass, dribbled nearly the length of the court and knocked down a jumper at the foul line right before the buzzer sounded, lifting the Hatters to a 70-68 win over Staples at home.
"They let us get the ball in and our option was to get the ball to (Harris), and isolate him," Danbury coach Casey Bock said. "It worked out where he got the ball and made a good shot."
Harris, who did not start the game, finished with 14 points for the Hatters (7-12, 5-12 FCIAC), who can clinch a state tournament berth with a win at Greenwich on Wednesday.
Forward Mike Kline led Danbury with 15 points, while Corey Brosz added 12.
Staples led once in the second overtime -- 64-63 on a layup by forward Ross Whelan -- before Danbury re-took the lead by a point on a bucket by Kline. The Hatters went ahead twice more, but Staples tied it both times.
Forward Nick Esposito's layup tied it for Staples 68-68 with under 10 seconds left in the second overtime.
"I'm really proud of our kids," Staples coach Colin Devine said. "They responded to every situation -- down two, up two. We just came up a little short at the end. That's all it really is."
Staples dropped to 11-8 (10-7 FCIAC) and needs either a win in its season finale -- Wednesday against Bassick -- or a Danbury win over Greenwich to earn a berth in the eight-team FCIAC playoff field. The Wreckers entered Monday in sole possession of seventh place, a game ahead of Wilton.
"These kids have responded all year," Devine said. "We lost four games in a row and then ran seven out of eight. There's no reason after one day of practice that we can't respond."
The Wreckers led twice by two points in the first overtime, but each time, Danbury answered right back.
The Hatters jumped ahead 57-55 and had an opportunity to push their lead to two possessions. But guard Corey Chaffee dribbled the ball off his foot with 48 seconds left, leaving Staples a chance to tie it. On Staples' next possession, guard Peter Rankowitz did just that, drilling a jumper to make it 57-57.
Rankowitz finished the game with 20 points, while Staples guard James Frusciante led all scorers with 29 points.
"They're a solid team, and for us to pull this one out was nice," Bock said. "I give us some credit. We got stops when we needed to get stops, and (Harris) hit a big shot there at the end."
Danbury trailed 32-28 at halftime and by five points after three quarters, but got to within 50-46 in the final two minutes of regulation.
Staples pushed the lead back to three with 49 seconds left when Frusciante made one of his two foul shots. Kline, however, tied it up 51-51 with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc late.
"It was pretty nerve-wracking, but the team stood together. We kept playing hard and came out on top," said Chaffee, who finished with 11 points.
Staples connected on just 14 of its 26 free throws in the loss.
Whelan scored 11 points for the Wreckers.
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DANBURY 70, STAPLES 68 (2 OT)
STAPLES (11-8, 10-7)
Jake Melnick 0 0-1 0 James Frusciante 8 9-14 29 Joe Greenwald 0 0-0 0 David Katz 0 0-0 0 Nick Esposito 2 0-2 4 Darryle Wiggins 2 0-4 4 Ross Whelan 4 3-4 11 Peter Rankowitz 7 2-2 20. Totals 23 14-26 68
DANBURY (7-12, 5-12)
Mike Kline 5 3-8 15 Corey Chaffee 5 0-2 11 Danyjoel Harris 6 1-3 14 CJ White 0 0-0 0 Washaun Hendricks 0 0-0 0 Marquise Marrero 1 0-0 2 Donovan Trimandilis 4 0-0 9 Tysheen McCrea 0 0-0 0 Javonte Parker 0 0-0 0 Jalen McCallum 3 1-3 7 Dezshawn Daley 0 0-0 0 Corey Brosz 4 2-2 12 Will Orr 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 7-18 70
STAPLES......................16 16 8 11 6 11 -- 68
DANBURY.....................19 9 7 16 6 13 -- 70
3-pointers: S -- Rankowitz 4, Frusciante 4; D -- Kline 2, Brosz 2, Harris, Chaffee, Trimandilis.
Fouled out: S -- Melnick, Wiggins; D -- McCallum.