NEW PALTZ – Throughout this season, the Marlboro High School boys basketball team has found strength in its ability to find a way to win.
No matter the stakes. No matter how many overtime periods it needs, or how often it falls behind in those overtime periods.
“We don’t give up,” Tyler Jollie said, after the guard led his Iron Dukes past Spackenkill in triple overtime, 82-76, to win their second consecutive Section 9 Class B title at SUNY New Paltz Sunday. “That’s our main thing. No matter what’s happening, we play through it. We know if we keep working hard, good things are going to happen.”
Jollie provided the top seed from Marlboro with 30 points and 15 rebounds, not to mention a 3-pointer that sent the game into a second overtime.
Marlboro rallied back against the second-seeded Spartans several times to emerge victorious and earn a place in the regional semifinals. The Iorn Dukes will now face Section 1 champion Briarcliff at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh on Wednesday. Marlboro (20-3) handed Briarcliff its only loss this year.
“We played them our first game of the season,” said Nick Mongelli, who finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals. “It’ll be two competitive teams going at it and we’ll see how it comes out.”
The Iron Dukes and Spartans began the third overtime frame tied at 71. Camron Abalos knocked down a 3-pointer to give Spackenkill an early lead.
Abalos finished with 29 points to lead the Spartans, battling a leg cramp from the fourth quarter to the end of the game.
“That’s what Camron does,” said Spackenkill coach Tom Bell, whose Spartans finished 15-6. “He’s a warrior.”
But, Jollie responded and got the lead back for Marlboro with a basket, and padded that lead with two good shots from behind the foul line as the Iron Dukes finally pulled away.
“It was just big play on both sides,” Marlboro coach Mike Koehler said. “We just happened to make the last couple ones, really.”
Teammate Alex Strom added 16 points while Kyiev Bennermon scored 12.
Spackenkill trailed 46-38 at the end of three and were down by as many as 16 before rallying to tie it at 53 at the end of regulation.
Mongelli called Spackenkill’s resiliency “a reality check.”
“They were still in the ballgame,” Mongelli added. “It wasn’t over yet.”
Spackenkill gained a four-point lead in the second overtime frame, but Oliver buried a 3-pointer to trim the Iron Dukes’ lead to one. Abalos was fouled and made one free-throw. Oliver was then fouled and made both shots to tie the game and sent it into triple overtime.
“Every single second (was exciting),” Jollie said. “We live for every second on that court.”
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports