Boys basketball: Dissecting Law's overtime triumph

In the midst of what was turning into another season where wins were a scarcity, the Jonathan Law boys basketball team pulled off its second last-second win of the in the span of three days last Wednesday night when Diontae Eady's 3-pointer hit nothing but net with 14 seconds left in overtime.

Eady's shot, which came about two feet outside the three-point line, gave the Lawmen a 64-63 victory over a Platt Tech team which had leads of seven points twice in the fourth quarter, and a four-point lead with a little under two minutes showing in the four-minute overtime.

Ironically, it was also Eady who knocked down a 3-pointer two nights earlier in Law’s 71-70 home win over Lyman Hall of Wallingford which ended a 42-game losing streak.

"He's not comfortable with that shot," said Law coach Tim Dooley about Eady, a freshman who finished with nine points. "Usually, he takes the ball to the rim."

Trailing by four points, 63-59, Eady scored with 35 seconds left, narrowing the margin to two, 63-61. He then got open on the right side, took a pass from Dean Pettway and calmly knocked down the shot.

Platt Tech coach Chris Burnham took a time-out to organize a final play.

"Dan (Luperella) was having a good game," Burnham said. "Our hope was to get him to penetrate off the dribble and get the final shot. If he didn't make it, or got fouled on the way to the basket, hopefully, he could get to the line."

Luperella's short jumper in the lane hit the rim and caromed off. There was contact under the basket as Platt Tech's Justin Rucker fought for what would've been his 19 rebound in the game. The ball was knocked away and went out of bounds shortly after the buzzer went off.

"Tonight, we showed heart, lots of moxie and enough resiliency to get the win," Dooley said. "I think these kids are getting it. We now seem to be able to make plays when we need to."

Twice during the final eight minutes of regulation, the Lawmen (2-11) came back from seven-point deficit, the last when they trailed 59-52 with 2:30 to play.

A basket by junior Conor Creane (team-high 16 points) cut the Panthers' lead to 59-54. After subsequent stops, hoops by Sam Nassar and Jeremiah Bravo made it a one-point game with 1:04 left.

When Pettway was fouled with 28 seconds to play, he went to the line with a chance to give Law the lead. Pettway missed the first of his two-shot attempt, but he calmly dropped in the second and tied the game, 59-59.

The Panthers had one, last attempt to win it, but Luperella's jumper from in the lane bounced off the rim.

Two foul shots by Rucker (17 points) gave Tech, now 4-7, the lead in overtime. It was 63-59 when Stephen Giambra's long inbounds pass hit Rucker on the run and he converted the lay-up.

But Platt Tech couldn't contain the Lawmen and Eady's shot won it.

"We needed to run more time off the clock in the overtime," Burnham said. "Our goal was to get the ball into the big kid (Rucker) as much as we could. I thought that we pressured them well for a good part of the game. But not well enough in the overtime.

"They earned  this win. They did because they made the shots when they had to."

Law led, 13-9 after one quarter only to give up the lead late in the second quarter. Leading 27-22 with 1:42 left in the half, Platt Tech went on a 6-0 run and grabbed the lead, 28-27 on a steal and basket by Jacob Tamburrino in the waning seconds of the half.

With Creane scoring seven points and Nassar and Bravo hitting a field goal apiece, the Lawmen drew even at 46-46 with one quarter to play.

Creane got scoring help from Nassar, who had 13. Pettway threw in 12.

Law converted 25 of 65 field-goal attempts while Platt Tech was good on 26 of 79 (32 per cent).

Law had six, 3-point conversions to five for Platt Tech. The Panthers held a 56-48 rebounding edge. Giambra had 11. Bravo led Law with eight rebounds while Creane had seven.