Quick thoughts: New Paltz-Saugerties Class A final instant classic

The chants of MVP resonated as New Paltz’s Mike Holohan finished his postgame interviews.

Holohan cemented his name in Section 9 history with one of the most clutch performances in recent tournament history in the best high school game I have ever witness. Three overtimes were needed to decide the Class A championship. And, Holohan extended the game into each of the three overtimes, the first time on a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in regulation. The shot hit the back iron and rolled in.

“It felt good but it didn’t look good,” said Holohan, who scored six points in the extra sessions including game-tying layups late in the first and second overtimes.

“That was pure luck that he made that,” New Paltz guard Axel Rodriguez said of Holohan’s 3-pointer. “If he would have missed it, it would have been a problem.”

According to Max Preps, Holohan’s 3-pointer was his first attempt from beyond the arc this season.

Both coaches went deep on their bench as four key starters – Dior Johnson and Tavin Rell of Saugerties and Rodriguez and Casey Burke of New Paltz – fouled out in the overtimes.

Both teams were physically and mentally drained entering the third overtime. New Paltz forward Kevin Murphy’s free throw 15 seconds in was the only point of the “seventh” quarter.

Don’t think I’ve seen more charging fouls called in a game. If someone drove to the hoop, you almost expected an offensive foul to be called. Could be exaggerating but thought my count was near 10 charges. The most important call of the game came with 2:44 left in the first overtime. Johnson, Saugerties’ eighth grade sensation, was drifting away from the basket on a drive when Rodriguez tried to gain defensive position. Looked to be minimal if any contact by Johnson. But, he was called for his fifth foul as Rodriguez fell to the court.

Was Johnson’s 39-point game the Saugerties eighth grader’s last in Section 9?

Mount Saint Mary’s Kaplan Center seemed too small to hold the game. Was told the gym’s capacity is around 1,250 and it was a standing-room-only crowd. Great high school sports environment.

For New Paltz, it was the thrill of victory, Saugerties the hurt of defeat. Senior guard Austin Curlin laid face first on the court after Saugerties’ last chance fell short of a shot. Coach Mike Tiano picked his captain up and

VIDEO: Mike Holohan’s game-tying 3-pointer was 1.2 seconds left in regulation

VIDEO: Saugerties eighth grader Dior Johnson makes one of his six 3-pointers

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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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