Wallkill’s boys’ basketball team contained Highland for most of the game Friday, holding a slight lead, 41-39, at the end of the third quarter.
But the Huskies finally caught the Panthers when Tyler Benjamin scored to tie it 55-55 with a minute left in the fourth quarter. Both teams battled during that minute, each trading threes, and stayed deadlocked, 58-58, at the end of regulation.
And then during the four-minute overtime period, Highland’s early frustration was destroyed as the Huskies managed to get in front to win 71-68.
“I feel that we started to play better. We brought more energy,” said Cameron Ness, of his team’s effort late in the fourth and in overtime. “It felt good to know that we had each other’s backs, and that we could play well under pressure.”
Ness led the Huskies with 23 points, scoring 6 points in overtime while going 2 for 3 from the foul line. John Scalo scored 21 points for Highland. Scalo scored 4 points in overtime with a three. Scalo ended the game with three threes, one of which he landed in the comeback fourth quarter when he went 5 for 6 from the foul line.
“I thought we struggled. I don’t think it was one of our better games,” said Mike Milliman, Highland’s coach.
Milliman said the game was important because the team struggled and still managed to win, a feat that has eluded the Huskies in the past.
“That’s a big step,” he said. “Hopefully come sectional time, that game will help make us a better team.”
Highland improved to 9-6 and will play New Paltz and Saugerties soon as the Huskies get ready for the sectional tournament later this month.
Demetress Wilson led the Panthers with 27 points, scoring 11 of those points, pushing through the lane at times, during the crucial fourth quarter. Wilson scored six points in overtime as the Panthers tried to keep pace with the Huskies. Mat Shea scored 13 points for the Panthers, landing a three in the fourth and scoring 4 points in overtime. Kyle Krebs scored 11 points for Wallkill with a trio of threes, but he was scoreless was in overtime.
“We battled. We fought hard,” said Hunter Andrews, Wallkill’s coach, after his team dropped to 4-8. “Ness is a tremendous talent down low, and we had a game plan to keep the ball out of his hands.”