Rowback’s buzzer beater lifts Dragons to win
GLOVERSVILLE — The battle for the top spot in the Foothills Council standings came down to one play.
Coming out of a time out with 2.3 seconds left in regulation, Gloversville’s Anderson Jones lofted an inbounds pass to Joey Rowback under the basket and the senior laid the ball in with .2 seconds on the clock to beat Glens Falls, 57-55 Friday night at Gloversville High School.
“We have been working on that play in practice just in case that situation came up,” Rowback said. “Anderson made an amazing pass. Kadyn [Ruggeri] and Jaret [Warner] made the play too moving out to get the defense going that way. It was just a great play and a great game. I definitely expected a hostile environment like this. It was very intense and fun to play in.”
With the victory, Gloversville broke a deadlock with Glens Falls at the top of the standings, taking the lead with a 10-1 league record,while Glens Falls falls to tie for second with Queensbury, both with 9-2 records with seven league games remaining.
The game was tight from the opening tip with Gloversville owning a 13-11 lead in the first quarter, while the score was tied 24-24 at the half and at 41 apiece heading into the fourth quarter.
The Dragons built an six-point lead early in the fourth quarter on a put back from Ruggeri and two baskets from Rowback for a 47-41 advantage.
The Indians battled back to tie the game at 47 before Nick Danahy completed a three-point play to take the lead 48-47.
Bouchard answered with a basket to put Gloversville back in front. Rowback hit a free throw and Bouchard stole the ball and finished the play with a lay up to extend the Dragons’ lead to 52-48.
The Indians pulled to within a point, 54-53, with 56 seconds left on a put back by Evan Wiggins before Bouchard was fouled and made one of two free throws to give Gloversville a 55-53 lead with 25.4 showing on the clock.
Glens Falls coach Rob Girard called a time out with 19.6 seconds left to set up a play and prepare for the final seconds.
Noah Girard got the ball of the inbounds and drove to the hoop for a game-tying lay up with 11.2 seconds left.
With Bouchard handling the ball, Gloversville got the ball up court quickly. The Indians David Barclay poked the ball away but Bouchard recovered the ball as Gloversville coach Aric Kucel called a time out with 2.3 seconds left in regulation.
The Dragons came out of the time out with the play set on the sideline in front of the Gloversville bench with Jones faking a passes before lofting the ball to Rowback in the paint for him to bank off the glass and into the net before the backboard lights came on for the game winner, sparking a celebration from the Gloversville players and fans.
“That was execution and preparation,” Coach Kucel said. “We went over some last minute stuff yesterday in practice and I asked the kids if they wanted to go over anything else. They said that wanted to go over that play and it was the last one we worked on. Sure enough with 2.3 seconds left I was able to get the time out and we went with it.”
Coach Girard reflected on the final play, saying, “Noah got a good drive and basket and we got the stop we wanted with 2.3 seconds and they ran a nice play. We thought that was coming but we weren’t able to stop it. They had Dante screen for Rowback and they got the ball over the top. They executed it very well.”
Rowback finished the game with 25 points and five rebounds, while Bouchard had a game-high 29 points and two steals to go with two points and 10 rebounds from Ruggeri to go with three assists, three rebounds, two steals and a point from Jones.
Danahy led Glens Falls with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Girard had 14 points and six rebounds and David Barclay and Evan Wiggins finished with 10 points apiece.
Glens Falls with look to return to the win column Tuesday when the Indians travel to face the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots.
“The league definitely isn’t over,” coach Girard said. “There are a lot of games to be played and hopefully we can kind of swallow this one and get ready for Broadalbin and they are playing pretty well, too.”
Gloversville will travel to play Amsterdam Tuesday and South Glens Falls on Friday before returning home to play Schuylerville on Feb. 4 and Queensbury, which dealt the Dragons their lone loss this season, on Feb. 7.
“This one means nothing if we are not going to work hard the rest of the season,” Rowback said. “We have to keep it up.”
Gloversville 57, Glens Falls 55
Glens Falls 11 13 17 14 — 55
Gloversville 13 11 17 16 — 57
Girard 4-4-14, Barclay 4-1-10, Woodell 1-0-2, Wiggins 4-2-10, Brown 0-1-1, Barett 1-0-3, Danahy 5-5-15. Totals: 19-13-55.
Bouchard 11-5-29, Ruggeri 1-0-2, Rowback 12-1-25, Jones 0-1-1. Totals: 24-7-57.
3-point goals: Glens Falls 4 (Noah Girard 2, David Barclay, Zachary Barett); Gloversville 2 (Dante Bouchard 2)