Binghamton High spun a five-point deficit into a 13-point lead with a dominant third-quarter outburst Thursday night that led to a 75-58 win over Union-Endicott for Section 4’s Class AA boys basketball championship.
KJ Rose scored 19 points and three senior classmates added 11 or more for the Patriots (16-3), who advanced to the opening round of state playoffs against a to-be-determined Section 1 foe. Tip-off for that game at SUNY-Purchase is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday.
U-E took a 41-36 lead 2:38 into the second half at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena when Rob Malvasio converted a zipped feed from C.J. Krowiak high on the perimeter. Thereafter, nearly seven minutes elapsed before the Tigers’ next field goal.
Meantime, the Patriots picked up the pace to produce a landslide of game-changing offense.
“When we went into the locker room at halftime, coach really got on us,” said senior Jamie Curtis, who closed with 12 points. “We still had it close but we weren’t playing that well in the first half. So we came out with fire, stepped it up on defense and that’s what got us the ‘W.'”
Said Pats coach David Springer: “We came out in the third quarter and went to that matchup zone a little bit, I think that kind of gave us a little more full-court action and we started running and getting some offense.
“Our defense fueled our offense.”
The opening half of play was tight throughout and concluded with U-E ahead by 34-30 on the strength of 12 second-quarter points from junior guard Krowiak, who finished with 26.
The sides punched and countered until Binghamton began its take-charge surge with a spin into the lane for a softly lofted conversion by Rose. He added three free throws over the next half-minute, and the Pats’ go-ahead goal was a 3-pointer from the wing by Eginhard Jean-Philippe to make it 44-41.
Patriots field goals through close of the third quarter included a layup in transition by freshman Andre Hawkins, a cherry-picking finish and subsequent three-point play by Jean-Philippe, a 3-point goal by Michael Midyette from near the right corner and Hawkins’ goal in transition off a pass from Curtis.
Then came the quarter-closing bucket. Rose snared a defensive rebound and handled into the frontcourt where, in full charge mode high out top, he delivered a bull’s-eye dart that Curtis tucked in with two seconds remaining and it was a 56-43 difference.
A check of the math reveals Binghamton 26, Union-Endicott 9 in the third period — a whole lot tidier defensive effort than that which permitted the Tigers 34 in the first half.
The clock assured eight minutes remained, but U-E sure did appear cooked against a rejuvenated Binghamton squad.
A free throw by Rose and Curtis’ twirling move into the key for a goal extended the margin to a game-high 16 points in the opening minute of the fourth.
Over the final six minutes-and-change, Binghamton free throw shooters made good on 12 of 14 tries.
Krowiak, who’d dumped 37 on the Pats last time the teams met, was perfect in 13 tries from the line on a night he made it 25 or more points in seven of the final 13 games of his junior season. That 26-point total came though he didn’t log a second field goal until nearly 11 minutes had expired.
For the Pats, Jean-Philippe turned in a sound 16-point effort that included two 3-pointers within a first-half segment of a shade over two minutes.
Andre Yevchinecz was another two-digit scorer for the Pats, though his 11 points were somewhat offset by a one-on-none dunk try-gone-haywire and a technical foul rooted in excessive gum-flapping apparently directed at Krowiak, who was likewise assessed a ‘T.’
The sectional championship is Binghamton’s second in succession and fourth over the last seven seasons. For Rose, this one makes it three in a row. He wore a Union-Endicott uniform when the Tigers advanced to state playoffs in March 2011.