When Kings Park’s captain and leading scorer Andrew Bianco fouled out with 2:25 left in the fourth quarter and his team trailing by four points, Jack Garside knew what the new gameplan would be.
The offensively skilled, but preferably pass-first sophomore point guard would need to take more shots.
So he did, and it worked. Garside scored six of his 22 points in the remaining time, including the winning jumper with five seconds left to give host Kings Park a 58-57 win over Harborfields in a Suffolk IV boys basketball game Saturday.
Garside lulled his defender before crossing over at the top of the key, drop stepped and wiggled into a leaning jumper from just inside the free throw line to give Kings Park its first lead since the 1:58 mark in the first quarter.
“Coach [Chris Rube] put the ball in my hands and gave me the opportunity to win the game,” said Garside, who also had six assists. “My teammates had faith, they told me I got it and that I worked for this . . . So I took it and made it.”
Harborfields took a five-point lead with less than three minutes remaining after back-to-back layups from Ryan Rittberger. Bianco came back with a free throw to get Kings Park within 54-50, his last point before fouling out on the next possession. Bianco, the focal point of the Kings Park offense with his inside presence, finished with 21 points (11-for-20 free throws) and 14 rebounds.
Garside would immediately assume the scoring role. He converted a layup on the next possession to pull within two with 2:08 left, and after two free throws by Harborfields’ Mike McDermott, he nailed a pull-up jumper from the right elbow to make it 56-54. Harborfields turned it over on the next possession, and Kings Park’s Matthew Wolf was fouled on the other end, making both free throws to tie the game at 56 with 1:23 left.
“We stayed close and stayed competitive throughout the entire game, and we knew we would make a run in the fourth quarter,” Garside said. “Then we would just have to get stops and try to get a chance to win the game.”
McDermott would put Harborfields back ahead one last time, going 1-for-2 at the line to give the Tornadoes a 57-56 lead with 35 seconds left. Harborfields would again have possession with 2.1 seconds left after Garside’s shot, but its sideline inbounds pass was intercepted.
McDermott led Harborfields with 15 points, Pat Williamson scored 13 points and Joey Mitchell added nine.
For coach Rube, Garside’s performance indicates progress. After playing the most minutes on the team as a freshman last season, it’s expected for Garside to see his on-court responsibilities grow this season. And scoring is emphasized.
“Sometimes I have to beg him to shoot,” Rube said. “But Jack knows that when a play breaks down, we need him to make something happen. And out of all our guys, he was the only one who could have hit that shot.”