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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Wednesday night was miserable for Kirkland Ottey. Not only did the New Rochelle senior have to go home thinking about the turnover he committed in a last-second loss to Kingston in the Slam Dunk, he got a reminder of it flipping through the channels.
“I was watching TV and the play came on News 12. I felt awful,” Ottey said. “I knew I had to get one back for my team.”
The opportunity arose in Thursday’s consolation game with Kennedy and Ottey seized it. With the Huguenots down two and inbounding with 9.6 seconds left, Ottey took a pass at the top of the key, set his feet and drained a 3-pointer.
Kennedy’s last second baseline jumper missed and New Rochelle pulled out a 56-55 victory at the Westchester County Center.
And Ottey got some much needed redemption.
“It was profound; almost feels like poetic justice after last night,” Huguenots coach Bill Murphy said. “I really felt terrible for the kid.”
In Wednesday’s 57-55 loss to Kingston, New Rochelle had the ball with the game tied with 7.6 seconds left. Ottey got the ball in the corner and went to throw a pass but his teammate had cut to the basket.
The ball bounced to midcourt and was scooped up by Kingston’s Justin Robinson, who was fouled at the basket with 0.4 seconds to play. He sank both free throws and Joe Clarke’s halfcourt heave at the buzzer bounced off the backboard.
“I felt like I let my team down,” Ottey said.
Ottey made up for it with his only basket — and only shot — of the game.
New Rochelle was inbounding from under its own basket. Ottey drifted back to the top of the key and was unguarded.
“I was the fifth option on the play,” Ottey said.
New Rochelle had missed all its previous seven 3-point attempt in the game. The Huguenots shot 36-percent from the field and 51 of their 56 points came in the paint or at the free throw line.
Kennedy, which lost to Jamestown 79-72 in a well-played semifinal on Wednesday, turned the ball over 28 times against New Rochelle. The Huguenots did a solid job denying Gaels big man Thiago Randazzo, holding him to just six points. Randazzo attempted only seven shots, but had 13 rebounds and three assists.
Clarke led New Rochelle with a second straight double-double, recording 15 points and 11 assists. Malik Burts and Terrence Holden each had 13 points.
New Rochelle’s next game will by far its toughest of the season: at home against rival Mount Vernon, the reigning state and Federation champs, on Wednesday.
“This game gives us a sense of hope for the season,” Murphy said. “We didn’t play very well. But we never stopped playing hard and we never gave up.”
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org