BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Jaxan Swann refused to stay down.
The Greenport senior guard hit the floor hard, grabbing his leg and knee under the basket after playing more than 40 minutes of basketball for the Porters. Greenport trailed by five points with 2:15 remaining in triple overtime and Swann was in considerable pain.
But he got up. Swann jogged to midcourt with a considerable limp, ultimately needing to go to the sideline. He wouldn’t stay there for long though, as he returned to the game, hit a three-pointer and finished the season and his high school boys basketball tenure with his teammates on the court in Greenport's grueling 109-98 loss to Cooperstown in triple overtime in the state Class C semifinal at Maines Arena Saturday morning.
“I just didn’t want to let my brothers down,” Swann said. “It’s my last game. I gave it my all and I couldn’t just be done. The job wasn’t done. I needed to come back up and give some more.”
Swann finished with 26 points to go along with Ahkee Anderson’s 30 points. But Cooperstown’s Jack Lambert proved to be too much to handle, as he finished with 53 points, a new record in a state semifinal or championship game, according to state officials. The two teams also combined for the most points (206) in a state semifinal or championship, surpassing a mark of 179 set by Traditional vs. Hutchinson in 1982.
“He was amazing today,” Greenport coach Ev Corwin said of Lambert. “Big shot after big shot. We went box and one, we tried every little thing to slow him down.
“We ran into buzzsaw,” he added. “Fifty-three. That’s Larry Bird-esque.”
But more than anything, Corwin was proud of the fight his team showed. Greenport (21-3) trailed Cooperstown (24-3) the majority of the fourth quarter and overtime, before knocking down key shots late in the period to keep the game going.
“We gave it everything we had," Corwin said. "We had our chances, there’s no doubt about that. I’m just more upset for my guys. They’re a great bunch of kids and I feel awful for them.”
Anderson, who hit a key three-pointer with 55 seconds left in the second overtime to tie the score at 91 and force another overtime period, scored 11 of his team-high 30 points in the overtime periods.
“We weren’t expecting three overtimes. I know I was drained, personally,” said Anderson, a junior who also had nine assists, seven steals and six rebounds. “It was a long, hard-fought game and it just shows that we have heart. We just ran out of time. They played very well. I tip my hat off to them.”
Swann added five assists and three steals with his 26 points and Jude Swann had 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for the Porters. Ev Corwin Jr. added 11 points and Zach Riggins had eight points for Greenport.
After the game, Corwin had a simple message for his players.
“I just told them they gave me so much joy the last couple of years just to be a part of this group and taking me on a little ride here,” Corwin said with tears in his eyes. “So all I could tell them is ‘Thank you.’ ”