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Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016: Controversial Sec. 5 finish won't be overturned

   Leading off today: I'm not sure what else goes onto the list, but Saturday night's Section 5 boys Class AA quarterfinal almost certainly earned a spot in the top 10 for bizarre finishes to a New York high school basketball playoff game.

   Rochester East's Theodore Buckner scored the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds while his team had six players on the court, and the Eagles went on to defeat McQuaid 59-58. The issue went unnoticed at the time, McQuaid's potential game-winner at the buzzer missed the mark and East advanced to the semifinals.

   On Sunday, Section 5 boys basketball coordinator Jack Purificato consulted with the rules interpreter and the sectional executive director and confirmed that the final score will stand.

   "It's a non-correctable error," Purificato told the Democrat and Chronicle.

   In the key sequence following an Eagles timeout, East's Brandon Hunt took the inbounds pass and launched a 3-point shot that missed. Buckner was free inside to grab the rebound and score an easy put-back with 6.5 seconds left for the 10th and final lead change of the quarter.

   Even after McQuaid coach Jack Leasure called a timeout to set up a final play, he had no idea anything was wrong but recalled thinking East had scored too easily.

   "We came out of the timeout making sure the focus was boxing out," Leasure told the paper. "I see this guy come in and he was untouched, and I was thinking, 'How was he untouched?'"

   Leasure only learned the details when several fans approached him shortly after the game.

   "As soon as I got home I watched it on tape and then it made my heart sink," Leasure said. "I felt like our guys did everything I asked them to do and this was out of their control. I felt bad for our kids."

   Sandy Swingle, the section's rules interpreter, said he spoke to one of the two referees Saturday night and he swore he counted five East players on the court. "It's referee error," Swingle said. "It's unfortunate, but it has happened before, and we hate to see it happen."

   Double-OT drama: Ogdensburg Free Academy fell behind by 17 points before halftime, rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter, overcame two buzzer-beating 3-pointers and downed Canton 75-72 in double overtime for the Section 10 boys Class B championship.

   Two of the five 3-pointers by Canton's Louden Porter (25 points) in a losing cause came at the end of regulation and then the first overtime.

   All five Ogdensburg starters finished in double figures, led by center Al Fisher (12 rebounds) with 21 points and Connor Badlam with 19, including four 3-pointers after the end of the third quarter.

   Canton opened a 60-46 lead when Dane Ames scored off a layup in the fourth quarter, but the Devils answered with 14 straight points as Badlam made three straight from behind the arc.

   The teams went to OT tied at 65-65. Badlam and Porter scored five points apiece in the first extra stanza, with Porter hitting a tying three with :06.4 to go.

   Ogdensburg took a 73-70 lead in the second OT as Fisher scored down low and Cale Sargent added a free throw.

   Ogdensburg next plays in the semifinals of the Section 10 round of champions Tuesday vs. Class C champion Brushton-Moira. Massena (Class A) and Chateaugay (Class D) meet in the other semifinal.

   Third-wildest game of the day: Yonkers Saunders beat Ossining 54-48 in overtime in the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals after a borderline surreal finish to regulation.

   With the score tied at 41-41 with :17.2 left, Saunders ran a play for senior guard Anthony Miller, who pulled up and made a short jumper with :02.2 left. Inexplicably, the Saunders bench and some fans ran onto the court after the made shot and the officials talked it over before opting to not assess a technical foul.

   On the ensuing play, a Saunders defender deflected the ball, but Ossining's Kahseem Trotter was fouled while launching a 3-pointer with :00.1 showing on the clock.

   Trotter made the first and third free throws to force overtime.

   Miller finished with nine points, all in the fourth quarter and OT. Teammate Derrick Saunders finished with a game-high 25 points.

   Joe Girard Sr. dies: Joe Girard Sr., a longtime coach at Glens Falls St. Mary's and a Section 2 fixture for decades, died Friday. He was 75.

   Girard made his reputation as coach of boys basketball and football teams at St. Mary's in the 1970s and '80s. He also served on the NYSPHSAA basketball tournament committee and was a longtime baseball umpire.

   His son, Joe Girard, Jr., played Division II basketball at LeMoyne College after scoring more than 2,000 points in his scholastic career. His grandson, Joseph Girard III, is a freshman basketball sensation at Glens Falls High School.

   More to come: I'll come back later with more details from Saturday action and a few other notes that have been piling up.

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