Monday, March 4, 2013: New Ro, Edney pull out improbable win vs. Mount Vernon
Leading off today: Sure, I could have spent four hours this morning pulling together details on this blog from a multitude of Sunday basketball playoff games from across New York.
Let's be realistic, though. There was only one game most people were talking, tweeting or texting about Sunday. It'll be the same way today, tomorrow and the rest of the week.
And though there's a lot of time left for other contenders to emerge, "The New Ro Miracle" is also in the running for high school play of the century. That's not me talking, that's the Internet blowing up after New Rochelle beat Mount Vernon in the Section 1 boys Class AA championship game.
Within hours, the sensational finish -- senior forward Khalil Edney's 60-foot, dead-perfect-aim shot at the buzzer -- to New Ro's 61-60 victory over the most consistently dominant program in the state was the lead story on ESPN's SportsCenter and posted on mainstream news sites and popular web portals such as MSN.com. If you have any basketball fans in your Facebook news stream or Twitter feed, references to the shot may well have drowned out everything else.
For the record, here it is:
Where to start? So much took place even before Edney's winning basket following a crazy sequence -- New Ro's Joe Clarke rolled up MVP numbers (30 points, 7 rebounds) and the Huguenots rallied from a 59-49 deficit with 3:52 to play at the Westchester County Center.
And then came the final play.
Jalen David of Mount Vernon had made a free throw with 2.9 seconds left, and New Rochelle called a timeout. Coming out of the break, Edney threw a baseball pass downcourt toward Clarke just beyond halfcourt. But the ball was tipped away by David and scooped up by the Knights junior Devonte Banner in bang-bang fashion.
Rather than hang on to the ball and ride out the clock or be fouled by Clarke, Banner lobbed the ball diagonally downcourt toward a teammate. But before Traquann Scales could come down with the ball, Edney cut in to intercept it and heaved a two-hander toward the basket 60 feet away.
“I just threw it,” Edney told The Journal News. “Whether or not I got the shot off or not, I just threw it.”
The ball went in and hysteria ensued, with both teams celebrating at once -- some Mount Vernon players never saw the shot go in, others believed the buzzer had gone off before the shot -- and fans rushing onto the court.
Official Bill Sacco could clearly be seen waving off the basket as he began running off the court. With fans, players
and coaches still in a frenzy, Sacco huddled with the other referees, and Vin Cannizaro and Scott Moroney were confident the shot was released before the buzzer.
Though they did not have the benefit of viewing the video, replays from various angles appeared to confirm the shot should have counted. If there's any quibble, it would be that perhaps the clock did not start promptly upon David tipping the ball; even that though would have to be considered within the "margin of error" for human reaction time.
The story behind the story: There are so many nuggets from the New Rochelle-Mount Vernon game that deserve mention but got buried in the chaos of the sensational ending.
• Edney, the QB on the NYSPHSAA Class AA state championship football team, wasn't a sure thing to play. He'd suffered a sprained ankle in a scrimmage eight days earlier and missed the 47-42 win over Mahopac on Friday.
• There is no provision in the rules allowing for referees to review video in a sectional contest, which is why the three game officials did not look at replays before changing their call. However, there is a provision that would allow referees to view replays from the end of state tournament games in Glens Falls March 15-17.
• The dramatic finish evoked memories of Mount Vernon’s loss in the 2009 state quarterfinals, where Newburgh's Will Bouton hit from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer -- again with Knights fans storming the court in the belief they had won.
• Mount Vernon's last loss in the Section 1 playoffs had come to the Ray Rice New Ro team in 2005.
• The Huguenots forced 30 turnovers, including three in the last minute. It's almost unimaginable that any team -- never mind one that entered the game with a 12-9 record -- could do that.
• First-year New Rochelle coach Rasaun Young is a former Mount Vernon assistant coach.