Late shot sends GFA hoops past Hamden Hall
WESTPORT—Greens Farms Academy junior Henry Holzinger took about 22,000 3-point shots over the summer in preparation for a moment like this.
When he got the opportunity to knock one down at the end of a close game, Holzinger didn’t blink.
Holzinger hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left with the Dragons trailing by one point, sending them to a 69-65 win over Hamden Hall in a pivotal early-season FAA matchup between New England Class C hopefuls.
The Hornets had defended the play well when Cole Prowitt-Smith launched a contested 3-pointer, but the ball hit the backboard and ricocheted right into Holzinger’s hands. The ball went through the net as the shot clock expired.
"I didn't know how much time was left on the shot clock," Holzinger said. "Cole got a great rebound and was able to find me and I just hit the shot."
Said Prowitt-Smith: "I was trying to draw the foul and I noticed that there was no whistle so I just threw it off the backboard as hard as I could, hoping for a long rebound. Henry came up so big, that was a big shot."
The dramatic play capped a furious rally in the second half by the Dragons. GFA trailed by a game-high 15 points at the break, but refused to go away quietly.
"We were heartbroken with our effort in the first half," GFA coach Doug Scott said. "I have to give (Hamden Hall credit); they came out harder than we did. We could have packed it in, that’s more of a character win than anything."
The biggest spark on offense to begin the second period came in the form of Prowitt-Smith. The sophomore guard hit a pair of 3-pointers and converted a layup to get the Dragons close. Prowitt-Smith and Sunday Okeke — who hauled in 19 rebounds — led the Dragons with 16 points each.
"(Prowitt-Smith) has got some talent," Scott said. "We’re a team that’s going to take what the defense gives us; it took us a little while to figure out what that was, but when we did we started feeling really good."
After trailing almost the entire second half, GFA took its first lead on a layup from Greg Lawrence with four minutes left. TJ Rountree hit a 3-pointer to give the Hornets a 61-60 lead, and a 3-point play pushed it to 64-60.
Evan Roteman hit a three and Okeke sunk a foul shot to tie the game, and one Hamden Hall free throw with a minute left made it 65-64 to the visitors. After Holzinger’s clutch shot to give the Dragons a 67-65 lead, Rountree was fouled driving to the lane but missed both free throws. Okeke iced the game with two foul shots with 9.7 seconds left.
GFA limited Rountree to 15 points, while Vin Baker Jr. — son of former NBA player Vin Baker — led the visitors with 17.
The Dragons are next in action Friday, when they host a tournament featuring teams from several states from the region, many of which reside in Class C. GFA’s win Wednesday may prove crucial down the stretch in terms of seeding for the FAA and Class C tournament.
“We don’t know who we are yet, but wow, we played St. Luke’s close and we just came back from 15 down,” Scott said. “I think they’re going to go home and look in the mirror and start to figure out who that person is.”
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 69, HAMDEN HALL 65
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY (3-1, 2-1 FAA)
Sunday Okeke 6 4-6 16 Evan Roteman 4 0-0 11 Mack Muller 0 0-0 0 Jacob Manton 0 0-0 0 Henry Holzinger 5 0-0 13 Bennett Close 0 0-0 0 Greg Lawrence 6 1-2 13 Cole Prowitt-Smith 6 0-0 16 Teddy Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 5-8 69.
HAMDEN HALL (4-2, 2-2 FAA)
TJ Rountree 6 0-2 15 Andrew Rice 2 0-0 5 Dan Draffman 7 1-1 16 Aiden Rountree 0 1-4 1 Vin Baker Jr. 8 1-1 17 Pasquale Villano 1 0-0 3 Chris Wright 2 1-3 5 Avery Brown 1 0-0 3. Totals: 27 4-11 65.
3-pointers: H—T Rountree 3, Villano, Rice, Brown, Draffman; GFA—Holzinger 3, Prowitt-Smith 4, Roteman 3.