With the score tied and nine seconds remaining in a Section 9 Class AA semifinal on Friday, Felix Riascos looked his coach in the eye during a timeout and asked for the ball.
“We ran a high screen for him,” Franklin D. Roosevelt boys basketball coach Kevin Hart said. “He came off the screen and hit a foul-line jump shot with 1.3 seconds to go.”
Riascos’ shot gave the No. 2 Presidents a 47-45 victory over No. 3 Middletown and a spot in Sunday’s championship game at SUNY New Paltz. Roosevelt will face top-seeded Kingston.
“What can I say? He stepped up and hit a huge shot,” Hart said of his captain. “He’s been a leader all year, so it doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Riascos finished with eight points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Ruben Jimenez, who Hart said “really stepped up,” led all scorers with 18 points on four 3-pointers. Derek Hart contributed six points and 18 rebounds.
“It was a gutsy performance on our kids’ part,” Hart said. “It was a great game. We played our game and the kids executed beautifully.”
Leading at the half, 30-24, Roosevelt gave away its advantage in the third quarter by scoring only six points, and entered the final period leading by just two points. The Presidents, though, made enough plays down the stretch to reach Sunday’s final.
“We just got to keep playing defense,” Hart said of the final, “like we have all year, and we can go far.”