BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — With three seconds remaining and Glens Falls down one point in overtime, everyone in Floyd L. Maines Veteran Memorial Arena knew where the ball was going.
Syracuse signee Joseph Girard III shook off two defenders to catch the inbound pass before hitting an acrobatic layup at the buzzer to lift Glens Falls to a 75-74 win over Lowville in the New York state Class B championship.
“There are a lot of things going through my mind. I couldn’t do it without the local community here. We travel well, we’re behind each other and I couldn’t do it without these guys,” Girard said.
His dream moment almost didn’t happen. After Girard missed the game-tying free throw with five seconds left he was called for a lane violation and was taken out of the game so the Indians could foul.
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Lowville turned the ball over on an offensive foul, but Girard couldn’t enter the game since no time had gone off the clock. However, Red Raiders knocked out Glens Falls first inbound pass out of bounds, giving Girard one more chance to make magic.
“When I saw the opportunity to go back in, I knew it was my time. I credit my grandfather, he helped me with that play and got me open,” Girard said.
Girard, New York state’s all-time leading high school scorer with more than 4,000 points, entered the state tournament weekend averaging 49 points per game and finished with 50 points in the title game. He sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in regulation.
The state championship was Glens Falls first ever in basketball and Girard led the Indians to the 2016 and 2018 Class B state championships in football.
Girard will also get at least one more opportunity to play in front of his home fans as the Federation Tournament will be played in Glens Falls next weekend.