With 1.5 seconds still on the clock, Justin Rhynders jumped up and down near the mid-court stripe at the Westchester County Center.
Rhynders had just seen the opposing team’s final shot fall short, and the junior guard knew that finally — after 22 games this season, after years of trying and after Saturday’s back-and-forth overtime period — the gold ball belonged to the Warriors.
Paced by five double-digit scorers, the third-seeded Our Lady of Lourdes High School boys basketball team beat fourth-seeded Dobbs Ferry 85-80 to win the Section 1 Class B championship and advance to the state regional tournament.
“Our kids have worked so hard at this,” head coach Jim Santoro, now in his 23rd season leading the Town of Poughkeepsie’s Warriors, said after earning the first Section 1 title in program history.
Santoro said the closest Lourdes has come to a boys sectional title was one season in the 1980s, when Section 1 was split into two divisions. The Warriors won their division, only to lose the actual sectional championship to the other division winner.
The importance of Saturday’s win wasn’t lost on Rhynders.
At a school that’s produced more than its share of girls basketball championships, he said he was “extremely ecstatic” he and his teammates have now etched their place in Lourdes lore.
“I remember when I was young kid, I looked up at those banners and there weren’t too many boys championships up there,” Rhynders said after scoring 18 points. “I’d always think to myself, ‘One of these days, my team is going to be up there,’ and the day finally came.”
Note to Lourdes’ administration: It’s time to order a new banner, but hold off a couple weeks; the Warriors have the chance to add accomplishments to that blue-and-gold sash.
Lourdes (17-5) faces Marlboro in a state Class B regional game at SUNY Purchase on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Iron Dukes beat Spackenkill 58-53 on Saturday to clinch its second straight Section 9 title. The Warriors beat the Dukes earlier this season in overtime.
Despite Nick Porter’s seven early points, Dobbs Ferry capitalized on early turnovers and too many missed shots by Lourdes to take an early lead. On his way to a team-high 20 points, though, Jack Kolosky turned the tide to end the first period when his half-court heave beat the buzzer to tie the score at 17-17.
“Shots like that always seem to change the momentum of the game,” said Santoro, whose Warriors used Kolosky’s last-second heroics to start a 10-0 run.
The teams headed into halftime knotted at 32-32, foreshadowing what was to come.
Behind a game-high 34 points by the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, junior guard Eric Paschall, Dobbs Ferry grabbed the lead five times in the second half; the lower seed’s final advantage in regulation, 69-68, came with 35.8 ticks left.
With the score tied 71-71 at the end of regulation, Santoro said his team “gutted out” the win with an overtime performance that included four lead changes, and everything from Mike Donnelly’s three-point play to open the extra session for Lourdes, a Rhynders 3 and junior guard Kyle Santoro going 7 for 8 from the foul line.
Kyle Santoro finished with 15 points, while Porter added 10.
“The teams were really evenly matched. I think the biggest difference might have been just us sticking together,” said Donnelly (17 points), a senior forward and one of only eight players on Lourdes’ roster. “I saw them get a little rattled in places, but so did we. But I felt like we stayed together and played more cohesively the entire time.”