ARDSLEY, N.Y. Ardsley Panthers senior Jake Liebersohn knew that one of two Sleepy Hollow players would take the potential game-tying shot on Monday. So when he realized who would get the ball off the inbound pass, he acted.
I saw the referee had counted for four, Liebersohn said. (I knew) he was going to throw it right to the middle.
Liebersohn intercepted the pass and the home team held on for a 36-33 victory against Sleepy Hollow (1-5). The senior led all scorers with 14 points.
Turnovers were abundant on both sides Monday, and Ardsley (2-5) coach Andy Beames knew it.
We turned the ball over a million times, Beames said. At one point, I think there were more turnovers than points (for both teams). It was ugly.
While turnovers were plentiful, scoring was sparse in the first half. Ardsley had a 17-14 advantage at the break. Sleepy Hollow then started the second half on an 8-0 run before the Panthers finally scored with a little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Horsemen led 24-23 at the end of third quarter but did not score until 4:52 remaining in the final quarter.
Free throws threatened to doom the Panthers at the end of the game. Ardsley had a 32-28 lead when sophomore John Scrofani missed the front end of a one-and-one with 35 seconds left. Junior Eric Scaperrotta did the same at 32-30 with 10 seconds remaining.
Sleepy Hollow called timeout with 8.4 seconds remaining down by two points. The final play collapsed when Liebersohn stole the inbound pass. Scaperrotta then sank two free throws to ice the game.
First-year Horsemen coach Rob Rizzo said his team had faced several situations similar to the crucial possession on Monday, but that the execution failed.
Theres only so many things you can practice (in that situation), Rizzo said. We tried to put a little wrinkle in something we run all the time. The execution just broke down.
Sleepy Hollow will play next at the Slam Dunk tournament at the Westchester County Center next week, and Rizzo is optimistic about the direction of his team.
Were making progress because weve gone from bad losses to close losses, Rizzo said. Im not down on the kids, and I dont think the kids are down on themselves.
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