The Section XI Class AA championship was finally here and the Walt Whitman Wildcats and the undefeated Half Hollow Hills West Colts who each had something to prove were on the floor face to face. In a packed house, which included Coaches from St. John's and Rutgers and a crowd that rivaled any college the game began
While Walt Whitman would have the most aggressive fans, Hill West would have the biggest and loudest roar at the end of the game as they bested the Wildcats 41 - 39 to capture the championship and accomplish what Whitman had originally set out to do. To go undefeated.
Whitman star Kyheem Green would dunk emphatically seconds after the tip off, signaling the state of affairs, but senior forward Mike Meglio countered with 2 baskets back to back for Hills West. Hanif Malloy then drives hard to the basket against Colts 6'7"shooting guard Tobias Harris giving him his first foul. Early in the first quarter, the Colts were up 7 to 4 as Wildcats triple teamed the sophomore phenom Harris.
Center Alex Aurrichio would pound the glass keeping Hills West in front as Wildcats continued triple teaming Harris limiting his touches
Colts would exhibit good ball movement as senior point guard Steven Rollino controlled the tempo however Harris would pick up his second foul late in the 1st. Green would also pick up his second foul as both teams played very physical egged on by the frenetic crowd.
Tobias Harris wouldn't score his first bucket until 2:20 left was left in the quarter but they were up 4 points. Rollino would follow-up going coast to coast for two and Will Hennep would strip Malloy, as quarter would end with Colts up by five..
Whitman would come out in the second quarter as they did in the first with Billy Joyce scoring quickly but Aurrichio would manhandle C.J. Humphries to score down low. Kyheem Greene would sit out with two early fouls however, Colt's Coach Bill Mitaritonna would opt to keep Harris in the game .
The Wildcat zone did somewhat contain the Colts but Rollino would score from outside. As back and fourth turnovers ensued and fouls mounted the Colts would push the lead to 7 points as Aurrichio would hit one from the line and grab his own miss and call time with 3:29 left in the half.
Coach Tom Fitzpatrickk opting to keep Kyheem Green seemed to take some of the steam out of the Wildcats and the Colts would push lead to 9. Miles Jones would again foul Harris and the Colt lead was suddenly pushed to 11 points.
The Colts man to man would frustrate Whitman and the Wildcat defense would put Harris on the line frequently swelling the score to 25 - 12.
Hanif Malloy would score a three pointer as the half ended 25 -16 with Tobias Harris scoring 8 points while Malloy led the Wildcats with 7 points.
In the third quarter, Malloy and Green put on an offensive show along with Nick Barrotta as Harris was bothered by Wildcat defense. They also capitalized on Will Henneps poor shooting. The Colt lead would soon evaporated to one and was tied off a Malloy lay-up with 3:30 left in the third. Harris would quickly untie it, however, with a three pointer followed by another two.
Malloy would again bring Whitman to within two off a three ball with 2 minutes remaining in the third but C.J. Humphries, who was guarding Harris, would commit his third foul and Hennep would put the Colts up by four on a scoop shot at the buzzer.
The crowd was insane as the fourth would begin and C.J. Humphries would commit a hard intentional foul on Harris off a fast break knocking him to the floor. The subsequent foul shots and possession further extended the Colt lead but did succeed in temporarily altering the momentum for the Wildcat
The game became physical as bodies hit the floor and Tobias Harris would pick up his third foul as tempers flared.
Malloy would nail yet another three pointer to bring Whitman to within one with 4:13 left in regulation.
Kyheem Green would then score on a turnaround to give Whitman their first lead 37 - 36 but Harris would regain the lead at the line.
Rollino and Hennep controlled the ball and Hennep nails a three to give the Colts the lead by four points with 1:50 left.
As Rollino ran down the clock to 55 seconds, Nick Barrotta got an unexpected steal and got fouled hard by Aurrichio with 45 seconds left but poor foul shooting plagued would prevent the Wildcats from closing the gap
Humphries gets his fifth as he fouls Aurrichio to stop the clock. A missed basket gives the Wildcats a chance to tie or win with 18.3 seconds left in regulation however Malloy would lose the ball and Half Hallow Hills goes on to win 41 - 39.
The high scorer for the Colts was Harris with 19 points followed by Meglio with 6 points. For Whitman, Malloy had 17 points while Green only scored 8 points.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Go to NYC Hoops for all the late breaking NYC basketball news and rankings plus access to FREE BASKETBALL WEBCASTS.