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Outbracket Game has John Jay Fall in Overtime to Rye Neck

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By Rich MonettiPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
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After playing an even first half in the out bracket game versus 12th seeded Rye Neck, John Jay fell behind by a dozen in the third. Refusing to give in nonetheless, the Wolves came back and forced overtime on Wednesday February 14. So five more minutes added, the boys definitely didn’t shy away.

“I can't fault our guys for playing aggressive,” said Coach Taylor Sayre. But he also acknowledged how the pressure situation didn’t yield the best shots and had John Jay falling short by a score of 61-58.

No love on their minds for Valentine’s day, Rye Neck got out of the gate first. David Ryan hit a turn around jumper in the paint, and Kyle Harris went high off the glass for a 4-0 lead.

So Will Civetta showed he could pucker up the backboard too, He drove to the square for two, and then Will Rickel sank one from the line.

Five minutes left in the first, John Jay would grab the lead in the passing lanes. Will Rickel and Brendan Corelli both penetrated, and Jacob Jones and Civetta had a layup and jumper respectively.

Up 8-6, John Jay could not add on, so Rye Neck headed the Wolves off by getting inside. Evan Janowitz drew the foul on the drive, and Thomas McNiff executed a low post move to build a 12-8 lead.

Still, John Jay wasn’t letting their hosts get away either. Civetta hit a pull up jumper to close the first and hit a long range two to tie the game with 6:45 left in the second.

The lead next, the Wolves employed a little telepathy. Mathias Baez sensed the cut, and Sam Rickel made it for the open layup.

The one point lead was the last John Jay would enjoy, though. Janowitz hit a corner three and a running teardrop, and the Panthers led 19-15.

At 3:15 of the second, the five consecutive points alluded to a possible pull away. Delivering, Michael Conaway’s baseline drive doubled the lead, and Janowitz’s flying cut across the paint had him launch on the diagonal.

A 23-17 advantage resulting, the Panthers got a prelude on how hard it would be to hold the lead. Sam Rickel answered back with a triple, and after Janowitz went across the paint again for a deuce, Brendan Corelli hit at the buzzer for a 25-23 halftime score.

Unfortunately, the momentum did not carry. Ryan had a put back and turnaround jumper in the paint, Janowitz drove baseline for two more, and McNiff turned a half court steal into a fast break basket.

A 12 point difference at 5:20, John Jay had their work cut out for them. So Civetta was the first to take his lunch pail out. Off Sam Rickel’s miss, he got inside with the giants and muscled a put back.

But Rye Neck was not impressed. Kyle Harris double pumped a layup off glass, and after Will Rickel dropped a triple, Ryan got to the line for two more.

The lead still 11, Civetta started things again. He got a block down low, grabbed the loose ball and went coast to coast. One from the line resulting, Sayre praised his stop gap. “Will Civetta had one of his best games all year, with 23 points to keep us in it,” said the coach.

Making good, Civetta went full gallop again. Starting on the left, he circumvented the paint and drove inside to cut the lead to 39-31.

Two minutes left in the third, Conaway kept the Wolves at bay with an inside move, but John Jay closed on a good note again. Sam Rickel this time, his three pointer made it 41-34.

In keeping, the opening went to Rye Neck for a third time. Harris euro stepped a layup, and Janowitz beat the full court press to rebuild a nine point lead.

A minute in, the urgency was not alleviated, so James Arefieg unloaded. After Civetta turned another block into a bicoastal basket, Arefieg hit twice from downtown to cut the lead to three.

No shock, Civetta got John Jay one closer and kept it there. He hit from downtown, and after Harris got two from the line, the guard sent a no-look pass to Colin Bishop for the uncontested layup.

Misses and miscues next for both teams, the chance for the game changer fell on Arefieg. Above the arc, he missed the three, and Janowitz was fouled in the back court with 40 seconds left.

One for two, Bishop was the next to miss outside, but Rye Neck could not answer. So Will Rickel did. A lane in front, he took it and closed to within one with 13.5 remaining.

The obligatory foul given, Harris only made one, and on the rebound, the ball went ahead to Arefieg. Rye Neck hastily fouled him above the arc with 2.6 remaining, and perfection would mean victory. Instead, Arefieg missed the second, but sent the game into overtime on the third.

Apparently on rewind, Rye Neck again got out of the intermission box. Ryan hit a mini hook, and McNiff sank one from the line.

A three point difference, John Jay battled back nonetheless. Arefieg caught Civetta cutting for the layup, and then Civetta turned another rebound into the long haul. His layup rolling off the rim, the Wolf made one from the line to tie at 55.

Not for long, Janowitz went baseline for the lead with 24 seconds left, and Will Rickel did not have the answer. He launched a contested three and the Wolves fouled Janowitz.

He made both, and Arefieg’s three point miss mostly sealed the deal, but the refusal to give in struck a chord with the coach. “My main thing would be about how proud we are of the group for staying resilient all year long. Everyone was basically completely new to playing varsity minutes. So there was a lot of learning how to compete at the varsity level throughout the year,” Sayre clarified. “We're proud of battling all year and winning our last 2 games to earn our way into the playoffs.”

A long pause in front, the coach eagerly awaits what’s next. “I'm really excited for the guys coming back next year to keep getting better,” Sayre concluded.

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Rich Monetti

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