The Harborfields offense does not run through Alex Bloom. But that doesn’t mean the senior guard runs away from pressure.
Bloom, left open in the right corner with the score tied, took a feed from Malcolm Wynter and swished a three-pointer with 39 seconds left that held up as the winning basket in No. 1 Harborfields’ 45-42 victory over No. 2 East Hampton on Friday night in the Suffolk Class A final at Suffolk County CC-Selden.
“I hadn’t made a three all game,” said Bloom, who scored only six points. “The play broke down. I was wide open and Malcolm made a great pass. I was confident and I hit the shot.”
“That wasn’t the play, but we just kept running the offense,” said Harborfields coach John Tampori, his voice hoarse from shouting instructions. “Alex just spotted up in the corner. They helped out defensively on Malcolm and he made the pass. Unbelievable. Big-time guts.”
But there was plenty of time for East Hampton to tie it, and after a couple of timeouts, the Bonackers’ Brandon Kennedy- Gay got a good look from beyond the arc at the top of the key. His shot went halfway down before rimming out with six seconds left.
East Hampton wasn’t in the bonus and had to foul twice before sending Harborfields to the line with 1.9 seconds left. Rob Pecorelli missed the one-and- one, but East Hampton (18-2) couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer.
Harborfields (18-3) will face Southampton in the Suffolk small schools final at 5 p.m. Tuesday at SCCC-Brentwood. The Tornadoes will play the Nassau Class A champion in the regional/Long Island final at 1 p.m. March 6 at LIU Post.
Alex Merhige scored 11 points and Wynter had 10 for Harborfields. Kennedy-Gay had 19 and McKee 16 for the Bonackers.
It was a big-time defensive struggle for both teams, especially in the third quarter. Harborfields went 4:05 without a point until Pecorelli (13 points) converted a three-point play after Wynter’s steal and dish. Pecorelli then hit a three-pointer from the right corner that delivered a 25-23 lead.
The Bonackers did not score their first point of the third quarter until 5:40 had elapsed. That’s when Kyle McKee drained a three-pointer that turned out to be East Hampton’s only points of the period. Harborfields managed only six and led 29-26 entering the fourth. “Defense was the story of the game,” Tampori said.
Both offenses finally emerged in the fourth quarter. “It was a sense of urgency on both sides. That’s the only way I can explain it,” Tampori said.
Kennedy-Gay scored on an acrobatic slash and a long three-pointer to put East Hampton on top 31-30. There were five lead changes down the stretch. McKee kept the Bonackers in the game with three straight shots from downtown, the last of which tied the score at 42 with 1:11 left.
Said Tampori, “He’s making them from 25 feet and I’m saying, ‘What the heck is going on?’ ”
Bloom provided the rosy answer.