Tompkins Cortland Community College and Finger Lakes Community College hooked up in a classic men's basketball game Saturday. The teams went to overtime before the Lakers prevailed, 97-94. The leaves the Panthers with an overall record of 4-9 overall and a Mid-State Athletic Conference record of 2-4. Finger Lakes is now 14-7 overall and 5-1 in the MSAC.
The Panthers came out strong, racing out to a 13-point lead midway through the first half. With the score 33-20 with just under eight minutes left in the half, the visiting Lakers went on a 16-0 run over the next five minutes, taking a 36-33 lead. The Panthers finally broke through, but couldn't knot the score over the final couple minutes as the teams went to the locker rooms with the Lakers up 43-39.
The second half featured an intense twenty minutes where the lead changed hands seven times and the score was tied another seven times. The biggest lead of the half came after the Lakers used a 7-0 run to overcome a one-point deficit and move ahead 73-67 with 3:32 left in regulation. After the teams traded baskets, the lead was 76-70 with 2:40 left when the Panthers went on a 7-0 run of their own to take a 77-76 lead with 1:10 left. The Lakers regained the lead with a bucket with 1:03 left, setting the stage a frantic final minute. An old fashioned three-point play gave the Lakers a four-point lead at 81-77, but the Panthers came back with an unorthodox three-point possession, scoring a free throw and then putting back an offensive rebound on the missed second free throw to make the score 81-80 with 38.1 seconds left. Five seconds later Finger Lakes made one of two free throws to lead 82-80, a score that held until the Panthers went 1-for-2 from the free throw line to make it 82-81 with 19.2 left. The Lakers sank two free throws to lead 84-81 with 13.5 seconds left, but a clutch three-pointer by Allen De La Cruz (Brooklyn/Brooklyn Community Arts and Media) with 3.3 seconds tied the score and sent the game to overtime.
The game remained tight in the extra period, with each team scoring with a pair of free throws in the first 30 seconds of OT. A cold spell for the Panthers let the Lakers move ahead 90-86 with three minutes left, but the Panthers didn't give up, pulling within two points three times in the closing moments. With 7.7 seconds left on the clock, the Panthers trailed 96-94, and after Finger Lakes went 1-for-2 from the free throw line with 4.5 seconds left, the Panthers had one last chance to tie the game. But a second last second game-tying three wasn't in store for the home team as the final horn sounded with the Lakers holding on to a three-point win.
Devonte Henry (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) had a big game with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Jaiden Allen (Marlboro/Marlboro H.S.) scored 23 points while handing out 8 assists. Garrick Averett (Hempstead/Hempstead H.S.) had 14 points and Ja Don Crooms (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls H.S.) added 13.
The Panthers look to hit the road for the first time this semester on Monday, traveling to Syracuse to take on Onondaga Community College in a make-up of a game that was postponed earlier this month.