Christian Brothers Academy had to dig deep for its latest Section II championship.
Joe Krong’s difficult jumper with three seconds left capped a grand comeback, and the Brothers rattled off the first 10 points in overtime to beat Troy, 62-57, in a frantic Class AA final Monday night at the Times Union Center.
The Brothers trailed by 12 points three different times in the first half before clawing back to derail the Flying Horses, and claim their fourth consecutive title and seventh in nine years.
“We played from behind twice before with these guys. We made our way back both times. We got them the last time, and we got them again,” said 6-foot-6 CBA junior Nate Robinson, who collected 16 points and 10 rebounds in the most impresive game of his career. “It’s a situation where you try to do the things you practiced, and hold your composure.”
Krong’s leaning jumper from just inside the top of three-point line tied the contest at 48-48 and ended a 10-4 CBA run. The senior guard started overtime with two foul shots that were rewarded when the Troy bench was hit with a technical foul at the end of regulation, and Chaz Lott followed with a three-point basket.
Christian Leppanen dropped in a layup, Greig Stire slammed the ball for a basket and Robinson added a free throw to make it 58-48 with 2:06 left in the extra session. Troy got as close as four points on three occasions after that.
“That was a senior leadership shot by Joe,” said Robinson. “That was an incredible shot. It gave us so much momentum heading into overtime.”
“One of the things we worked on was what are we going to do when they brought pressure,” CBA coach Dave Doemel said of the overtime. “When they jumped us, we were able to get it in and around.”
Lott and Troy’s Trahmier Burrell got tangled up after Krong’s fourth-quarter jumper, and Flying Horses coach Rich Hurley thought a foul should have been called which would have sent his star senior to the line.
Burrell finished with 27 points, including a three-point play that gave his team a 47-44 lead with 54.3 seconds left, as well as nine rebounds and three blocks.
“I’m not going to comment on the end of the game,” Hurley said. “Hats off to CBA. They made plays.”
Krong had 14 points and eight rebounds, Lott delivered 14 points and Stire totaled 12 points and 14 rebounds. Stire’s rebound and putback tied the game at 44-44, and Robinson’s rebound and putback pulled CBA within 47-46 with 28.2 seconds remaining.
“It came down to nothing that I coached,” said Doemel. “They made up their mind that they were going to get the ball.”
Eighth-grader Dyaire Holt made one of two free throws with 17.2 seconds left to increase Troy’s lead to 48-46, setting up Krong’s clutch bucket.
“What else would you expect if it wasn’t a wild finish?” asked Doemel.
The first two games between Troy (Big 10 No.1, 19-3) and CBA (B10 No. 2, 20-2) were decided by two points, with the Flying Horses prevailing on Jan. 3, 45-43, and the Brothers coming out on top in overtime, 52-50, on Feb. 7.
Troy took change early in the rubber match by racing to an
18-6 first-quarter lead, and was up, 20-8 and 28-16, in the second frame. Burrell scored 14 of those points, including a three-point hoop and a three-point play in a 14-1 spurt to close the first period.
“Something like that, you just can’t let it get to your head,” said Lott, a senior guard. “You’ve just got to continue to play hard, and try to put the ball in the basket.”
A jumper by Stire and a putback by Robinson cut CBA’s deficit to 28-20 at the half. A layup by Krong and a baseline jumper by Robinson ended the third quarter and had the Brothers within 34-31.
Burrell sank a three to begin the fourth quarter, and Troy was still up by six, 44-38, when Holt made a reverse layup.
“At the end of the game, I thought we had it,” said Hurley. “Joe Krong made a great shot.”
CBA’s 10-4 run at the tail end of the fourth quarter started with a foul shot by Stire, two by Krong after an offensive rebound, and another free throw by Krong after a quick steal.
Krong was named the Class AA most valuable player, and joined Lott, Burrell and Troy’s Jerrell Reid on the all-tournament team. Reid had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“They played so hard and so well,” Doemel said of the Flying Horses. “They put so much pressure on us.”
CBA will take on Proctor of Utica (Section III, 19-2) Saturday night at 8 in a regional game at Hudson Valley Community College.
Leppanen 1-0-2, Lott 4-3-14, Krong 3-7-14, Robinson 4-8-16, Ricketts 0-2-2, Brundige 0-2-2, Stire 4-4-12. Totals: 16-26-62.
Reid 3-6-13, Holt 1-1-3, Paul 1-6-9, Burrell 9-7-27, Brown 2-1-5. Totals: 16-21-57.
CBA 6 14 11 17 14 — 62
Troy 18 10 6 14 9 — 57
Three-point goals: Lott 3, Krong, Reid, Paul, Burrell 2.