DANBURY - The Abbott Tech boys basketball team is on a mission this year to outwork every team it plays. The Wolverines know that many games are won or lost in the final moments of the fourth quarter.
Then again, a little luck does not hurt, either.
After rallying all night long, the Wolverines relied on a desperation 3-point field goal to tie the game in the final seconds before earning a 54-48 overtime victory over
in the consolation game of The News-Times Tip-Off Classic at the
Western Connecticut State University
Trailing 47-44 with six seconds remaining, Wolverine guard
found himself double-teamed along the baseline. The senior let fly an awkward jump shot from behind the 3-point line.
"I just threw it up and it hit right off the glass," Whitaker said. "Sure, I guess I knew it was going in."
While Whitaker joked about the game-tying shot that forced overtime, his coach used the moment to demonstrate Tech's resilient attitude and deliver a goal for the season.
"When you work hard, luck tends to come your way," said Abbott Tech head coach
. "We knew we were in a fight all game. We out-worked them in the end."
"We don't have 6-8 or 6-9 kids," he added. "We have to work hard for everything we get. However, we have no excuse for conditioning and we've seen that good conditioning in scrimmages and in games."
In the overtime, Ryan Greenfield opened the scoring with a basket that gave the Wolverines the lead for good. Whitaker added five of his 13 points in the extra frame to close out a 7-1 run that ended the game.
"We all stepped up as one team in overtime," Whitaker said. "My captains Ryan Greenfield and Malvyn Paulino stepped up and played great team defense."
Barlow opened the game with a 7-2 run and out-scored the Wolverines 11-4 over the first quarter. The fast start, combined with timely baskets, provided the Falcons with a lead that lasted into the fourth quarter.
During the first three quarters, inside baskets from sophomore
(12 points), and outside jump shots from senior guard Chris Stevens (14 points), kept the Falcons in the lead.
"We were a little bit sloppy early," said Nadeau. "It was the same kind of start as Thursday night. The press was finally efficient, but we weren't scoring."
Early in the fourth quarter, it all came together. Tech forward
, playing with four fouls, sparked a run with a steal that led to a
3-pointer. Tech went on a 9-2 run, as a basket from Whitaker, two more steals, and three baskets from Dickey gave the Wolverines their first lead.
"We just wanted it more than they did," said Dickey, who finished with 13 points. "We both lost on Thursday night. We felt that we wanted to gain their respect and get that first win."
The 44-40 Tech lead was short-lived, as a 7-0 run by Barlow over the final minutes gave the Falcons a chance to win.
shot ruined the Falcons' plans.
"He banked it in from the corner. It was a tough shot," said Joel Barlow head coach
. "We got out-worked. The thing that bothers me is we gave up at least 16 second-chance points in the second half. Those are hustle points."
Joel Barlow (0-2) 11 10 13 13 1 - 48
Abbott Tech (1-1) 4 13 14 16 7 - 54
JOEL BARLOW (48) :
Chris Stevens 5 0
-0 14, Billy Kastanaras 0 0-0 0, Ricky Muir 2 0-0 4,
Evan Kaufman 3 0
-1 7, Evan Hanczor 1 2-2 4, Mike D'Amato 0 0-0 0,
Matt Lisi 1 4
-8 7, Ryan Brown 4 4-6 12. TOTALS: 16 10-17 48.
ABBOTT TECH (54) :
Ryan Greenfield 2 0
Malvyn Paulino 3 0
-1 6, Vandrese Whitaker 5 1-2 13, Randy Checo 4 1-4 10, Romano Dickey 6 1-2 13,
Barry Hart 1 3
-5 6, Eren Ceylan 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 22 6-14 54.
3-POINT GOALS: Abbott Tech: Vandrese Whitaker 2, Barry Hart, Randy Checo. Joel Barlow: Chris Stevens 4, Matt Lisi, Evan Kaufman.