The shot by Red Hook’s Dylan Bayliss seemed to hang in the air forever as time expired.
The shot was off the mark and the buzzer sounded on the Marlboro boys’ basketball team’s 63-61 win over Red Hook on Friday night.
“I had a big mistake at the end trying to push up the floor with 10 seconds left,” said Marlboro guard Sam Mongelli, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “Thank God our guys came in clutch on defense and pulled it out, but yeah, we really survived that one.”
Mongelli did most of his damage third quarter, where he scored 11 points in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, he provided the basket that put the Iron Dukes ahead for good, connecting on a hook shot with 1:16 minutes to go.
Then with 31.5 seconds to go, Giovanni Tamburri put the game out of reach hitting two foul shots to give the Iron Dukes (9-5, 5-2 MHAL) a four-point lead.
“It’s always a close game between us and Red Hook,” Marlboro coach Mike Koehler said. “They got some big shots against us in the fourth quarter, but the defense we played in the last two minutes was fantastic. It helped us get it done obviously.”
While Mongelli took charge in the second half, A.J. Musacchio ruled the first, especially the second quarter, where he scored 9 of his 20 points. He also scored seven in the first quarter, most of it in the offensive paint.
“A.J. was awesome inside early on,” Koehler said. “He carried us in the first half and Sammy had a great second half. It was a great team effort.”
Marlboro got off to a slow start and trailed the Red Raiders (6-4, 4-2 MHAL) 20-13 after the first quarter, but the Iron Dukes turned up the defense and outscored Red Hook, 23-10, in the second.
“Defense is where we pride ourselves,” Musacchio said. “It’s where we try the hardest.”
Tamburri and Danny Rusk scored 10 points each, as four Marlboro players reached double digits.
“It was a great team win,” Musacchio said. “It was intense. We played great defense. We tried to shut down the main scorers and it worked out for us.”
Marlboro had 10 days off coming into Friday’s game due to the Regents break and has five more regular season games to go.
They’ll finish the regular season in Red Hook on Feb. 13.
“It puts us in great position for the division and for sectionals,” Koehler said. “It definitely gives us confidence. We didn’t necessary play well in the defensive end against Highland. We played solid D. They held us down and it was nice to do well on offense and give us some confidence going forward.”