Before Wednesday’s showdown against Kingston, Newburgh guard Donovan Fields told his teammates to expect a close game.
Fields added something else, too: He told the Goldbacks that someone would likely have to come up big late, perhaps, with the game on the line. As it turns out, it was Fields who played the role of Mr. Big Shot.
Fields’ driving lay-up with 18.3 seconds remaining gave host Newburgh a 57-56 win over Kingston in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I game.
“We all knew the game was going to come down to the fourth quarter,” Fields said. “We were all focused and prepared. To be the one to hit the shot like that, feels good. I’m happy I could step up for my team.”
Fields and Anthony Salmon each finished with 13 points for Newburgh (2-2, 1-1 OCIAA) and fearless guard Jerry Hall led the team with 15. Justin Robinson had 26 points for Kingston, seeking just its second win over Newburgh in six years, and Jordan DeCicco added 19. Kingston (5-2, 1-1 OCIAA) and the Goldbacks split a pair of meetings last year.
It’s very early in the season, but Wednesday’s game served as pretty much a must-win for Newburgh, which trailed 44-43 after three quarters. At least, if the Goldbacks wanted to continue their reign as OCIAA Division I champions. Newburgh has won the last nine Division I titles in a row.
Newburgh opened its Division I schedule with a 55-52 overtime loss at Middletown on Dec. 12. A loss to Kingston would have put the Goldbacks in a hole it likely couldn’t dig out of with games against Middletown and Kingston remaining. But, once again – surprise, surprise – Newburgh is in the mix.
Battling bronchitis, Fields only scored four points against Middletown. He was put on antibiotics and was 100 percent against Kingston, which entered as the favorite. The Tigers are the 21st-ranked Class AA team in the state.
“I don’t like to make excuses, but I was 100 percent tonight,” Fields said. “I felt better and had a lot more confidence. I saw on Twitter how some people were picking against us, but I don’t pay much attention to it. If anything, it just gives me confidence.”
Notes: Division I Binghamton was at the game to scout Robinson, a senior … Kingston hosts Newburgh on Feb. 1. The Tigers face Middletown in a rematch of last year’s Section 9 Class AA championship on Jan. 8. The Middies won last year’s title game.