BINGHAMTON — This is the kind of stuff they make movies about.
State career scoring leader Joseph Girard III forced overtime with a 3-point basket, and his buzzer-beating layup lifted Glens Falls to a 75-74 win over Lowville and the New York Class B championship Saturday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
Girard III finished with 50 points, delivering 32 after halftime as Glens Falls secured its first state title in basketball.
"I know it's cliche, but it's not how you start," the tournament most valuable player said. "It's how you finish."
The finish to this one was crazy and frantic, and it went the Indians way after Trent Girard found his cousin with an inbound pass from the end line, and Girard III sliced in for his game-winning hoop.
"It's so fitting," said Glens Falls coach Rob Girard, who saw his star senior guard notch seven of his teams' 11 OT points. "We're down one with three seconds to go. You all know who is going to get it. He got it and scored."
Glens Falls (27-1) made it to the state Class A final in Jimmer Fredette's senior year in 2007 and lost to Peekskill, and reached the Class B title game in Mike Van Schaick's senior year in 2003 and bowed to Amityville.
Glens Falls became the second Section II Class B team in as many years to secure a state flag following Mekeel Christian Academy's superb run to the top spot in 2018. For Glens Falls, it also marked a significant double as the school's football team quarterbacked by Girard III claimed a state championship back in the fall.
"To be the first in basketball and to win two [state titles] in the same year, it's unexplainable," Girard III said. "I can't put it in words right now."
Girard III was at the line with five seconds left in overtime and Glens Falls down 74-72, and after making a free throw, he was called for a line violation while attempting his second. Lowville (Section III, 21-3) was called for a pushing while attempting to inbound the ball, giving the Indians the ball and final gasp.
"This is for all the guys who got there before," Rob Girard said. "They all get a little piece of this."
After Trent Girard's first inbound attempt was booted by a Lowville player, his next found Girard III, who went off glass to propel Glens Falls on to next weekend's New York State Federation Tournament of Champions at Cool Insuring Arena.
"I saw I could get to the hole," Girard III said. "I had one man to beat. I knew it was my time."
"We ran our line play, and he [Girard III] got to the basket," Rob Girard said. "To go from so low 10 seconds ago to getting a state championship is quite a swing."
Glens Falls held the lead only once in overtime before Girard III's finisher, when Brendan Quirk's layup opened the scoring for a 66-64 edge. Aidan MacAulay scored seven points in a 10-4 Lowville run that followed including a foul shot that gave the Red Raiders a 74-70 lead with 18 seconds to go.
Girard III's two free throws with 15 seconds left got Glens Falls within 74-72.
"That's the best team we've played all year," Rob Girard said of Lowville, which led by as many as 11 points twice in the first half. "They attack. They've got shooters. They rebound."
"They had a great game plan and great character," Girard III added.
Lowville turned a 56-49 deficit into a 64-61 lead in the fourth quarter. Girard III sank his sixth 3-point basket with 15 seconds left from the top of the circle to tie the game and force the extra session.
Girard III matched his 18 first-half points with all 18 of Glens Falls' third-quarter points as the Indians went from 37-34 down to 52-46 up.
Girard III's 50 points are No. 2 in the state tournament record book behind Jack Lambert of Cooperstown who amassed 53 points earlier Saturday when his team outlasted Greenport in triple overtime 108-98 in a Class C semifinal game.
Trent Girard scored 11 points, and Quirk had 10 with a pair of overtime baskets. Aidan MacAulay finished with 30 points for Lowville, and sophomore twin Gavin MacAulay had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Barclay 1-0-2, J. Girard 16-12-50, T. Girard 4-0-11, McClements 1-0-2, Quick 5-0-10. Totals: 27-12-75.
Bach 4-0-9, Tiffany 1-0-2, White 4-1-13, G. MacAulay 4-4-14, Zehr 1-1-3, A. MacAulay 12-5-30, Thomas 1-0-3. Totals: 27-11-74.
Glens Falls 12 22 18 12 11 — 75
Lowville 20 17 9 18 10 — 74