Arlington comeback stuns Lourdes
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — As comebacks go, this one was pretty epic.
The Arlington High School boys’ basketball team had what can only be described as offensive meltdowns in the first and third quarters of Tuesday night’s game against Our Lady of Lourdes, trailing by 16 to start the second period and by 14 to start the final period.
But when the Admirals do score points, they score them quickly and in bunches. The Warriors found that out the hard way.
Arlington reeled off the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to get back in the game and then completed the comeback with a stunning 51-48 come-from-behind win over Lourdes in the first round of the Dutchess County Coaches Association Holiday Tournament, played on OLL’s home floor.
Arlington, now 4-2, will take on Spackenkill in one semifinal on Thursday night, back at Lourdes. The other semifinal, on Wednesday night, pits Beacon against Ketcham.
Gio Rodriguez led the Admirals with 15 points, and Mike Scocozza added 12. Scocozza scored on a tip-in offensive rebound that gave Arlington its first lead of the night at 49-48 with 33.2 seconds left and then hit a pair of free throws to ice the game with 13.5 seconds remaining.
“Coach just told us to keep pressuring the ball and try to win the game on defense,” Scocozza said, “and that’s what we did.”
Indeed, despite scoring just four points in the first quarter and five in the third quarter, Arlington hung around with its defense, forcing 23 turnovers. Still, nobody thought it would end this way, not after the Warriors went on a 17-2 run in the first quarter and into the second quarter, turning an 8-4 game into a 25-6 rout. But Arlington settled down and forced eight OLL turnovers on its last 11 possessions of the half to cut the deficit to 30-23 — and that's only because Kyle Santoro (11 points) drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer.
“They always play tough defense and their help side was awesome,” Arlington coach Matt Hoyt said of Lourdes’ defense. “But our team this year, even though we got flustered we don’t give up. We have a good offensive team.”
Still, when OLL’s Chris Metz hit another buzzer-beating three-pointer to end a quarter, this time the third period, the Warriors were on top 42-28 and it didn’t appear the Admirals would be able to fight back. Then Arlington’s Scocozza opened the final frame with a short jumper, Nashon Lassie hit a three-pointer and Rodriguez hit consecutive treys for an 11-0 run, and suddenly it was 42-39 with six minutes still to play.
Arlington’s defense forced five consecutive turnovers at one point, and when Rodriguez buried yet another triple, this time from the corner, it was 47-47 with 1:26 to play.
“My mindset is to forget the last play,” Rodriguez said. “I had turnovers, I got stripped, I missed shots, but I try to forget the last play and just go forward.”
OLL’s Nick Porter (11 points) briefly gave the Warriors the lead back when he hit one of two free throws with 46 seconds to go, but Scocozza snuck around the weak side to tip in a missed shot with 33.2 to play, and then buried two big free throws.
“On the tip-in I saw the ball coming and nobody boxed me out,” Scocozza said. “The free throws, we work on those every day in practice and you just have to do what you have to do.”
Follow Rich Thomaselli on Twitter @RPTSPORTS