As the throng of media assembled outside the Union-Endicott locker room shortly after the finish of Saturday’s state Class AA boys basketball semifinal, it would have been understandable if Osama Barwari had decided to opt out of talking about what had unfolded moments earlier.
The U-E senior had played admirably against Jamestown, scoring 17 points to help keep the Tigers in the game on a day when their outside shooting did not cooperate to the tune of 0-for-13 shooting from 3-point range.
But with 2.2 seconds remaining, and U-E trailing 64-63, Barwari found himself at the free-throw line. Make both, and U-E was likely headed into the state title game. Make one of two, and overtime was a strong possibility.
Barwari missed both, however, providing a stunning ending to what had been a fine season for both Barwari and the U-E squad.
“It was tough, but what are you going to do,” said Barwari, who received a warm response from the crowd at the Glens Falls Civic Center as the U-E players were announced after the game. “Two points, two seconds left, last play … you can’t do much about it now.”
Barwari had scored four points in a span of about four seconds, the last two coming with 11 seconds left to knot the score at 63.
Jamestown quickly regained the lead, though, when C.J. Krowiak fouled guard Zack Panebianco in the backcourt with 9.9 seconds remaining. Panebianco making one of two free throws to put Jamestown ahead 64-63.
The foul was Krowiak’s fifth, the senior fouling out after an impressive 30-point outing. So when Panebianco missed his second free throw, there was little doubt that Barwari would have the ball in his hands for the final possession.
Barwari drove hard to the basket, and got the foul call. The rest did not go according to plan for Union-Endicott.
“I was feeling a lot of emotions. I had a dumb foul,” Krowiak said of the reach-in foul as he tried to hinder Panebianco’s path from the backcourt. “Osama did his thing and got to the line but … it happens, not everything is going to fall.”