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Jordan Butler hits key three-pointer to boost Floral Park

Floral Park's Jordan Butler looks to pass away

Floral Park's Jordan Butler looks to pass away from South Side's Keith Phifer during the third quarter of the Nassau boys basketball Class A quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Credit: James Escher

Jordan Butler called it the biggest shot of his life. It was so critical he couldn't watch the ball after he released it.

"To be honest, I can barely describe it," the Floral Park senior said. "Just a big shot at a big moment. And I didn't even see it go in. I just kept thinking, 'Please, please let this go in.' I heard the crowd's reaction and that's when I knew it went in and that it was the biggest shot of my life."

After South Side cut Floral Park's 19-point lead to one with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Butler, who scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, buried a three-pointer and ignited a run that sealed the game.

It was the late rally No. 7 Floral Park needed to hold on and upset host and second-seeded South Side, 74-62, last night in a Class A boys basketball quarterfinal.

Floral Park (16-4), which never trailed, will play No. 6 Hewlett at 5 p.m. Monday at SUNY Old Westbury in a semifinal. South Side finished 15-2.

"This meant everything to me," said Butler, who totaled 24 points and seven assists. "I played like it was my last game and I thought we were about to lose after we let them come back but no one gave up."

Taize Walker added 14 points and 12 rebounds and Kevin Cluess scored 22 points, including Floral Park's first nine points of the game.

"I was a little angry and fired up to play," Cluess said. "And it fueled my offense for the first couple of minutes."

Later, it was South Side's Keith Ruiz's turn to get fired up. With his team trailing 44-25 midway in the third quarter, Ruiz scored 10 points during a 17-6 run to end the third and cut the deficit to 50-42.

That was the first major South Side run. The second left Floral Park a little more apprehensive, according to Cluess. Alex Sorensen scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth and was key during South Side's 7-0 run to start the final quarter.

"At that point, you could kind of see it in some of our guys' eyes that they were a little unsure about what to do," Cluess said.

Count Butler out of that group of players.

"Scared? Not at all," Butler said. "After I made that shot, it gave us a small cushion and then we just ran with it again. We knew not to give up."


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