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Ringen plays big role in Harborfields' state title run

Harborfields Justin Ringen celebrates after their win over

Harborfields Justin Ringen celebrates after their win over Tappan Zee at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball tournament. (March, 18, 2012) Credit: Pat Orr

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Justin Ringen said he played very little at point guard this season. Harborfields coach Chris Agostino said Ringen played even less than that, meaning not at all. So with anywhere from little to no experience, Ringen ran the point Sunday . . . in the state championship game.

Harborfields is led by Lucas Woodhouse, one of the top point guards on Long Island, so there had been no need for Ringen to handle the ball this season. But both found themselves in unfamiliar territory Sunday: Woodhouse on the bench and Ringen running the point.

With Woodhouse in foul trouble, the 6-4 Ringen shifted from his usual position of shooting guard in Harborfields' three-guard set to point guard, with 6-9 Chris Brady coming off the bench to play center in a big lineup.

Ringen's composure running the half-court set, and the 20 points that he contributed, helped Harborfields overcome Woodhouse's foul trouble as the Tornadoes captured their first state Class A public school championship with a 67-58 win over previously unbeaten Tappan Zee.

"I'm comfortable playing point. I just had to switch up my game a little bit," Ringen said. "I wasn't really nervous. It was in the heat of the game. I was just so zoned into the game, it just came naturally."

With the score tied at 26, tournament MVP Woodhouse collected his third foul on a charging call with 6:09 remaining in the second quarter. He went to the bench until the final possession of the quarter. Ringen, who was named to the all-tournament team, played point guard for the remainder of the quarter and again when Woodhouse picked up his fourth foul with 3:42 left in the third.

"Justin came in and really took over the role of the point guard, handled the ball, handled the pressure," Woodhouse said. "This was the most important game any of us had played in, and for him to step up like that was huge. It shows how good of a player he really is."

Woodhouse, who finished with 15 points and 10 assists, returned at the start of the fourth, and Ringen, who hit four three-pointers, returned to his customary scoring role.

Ringen hit a jumper with 6:43 left in the fourth to give Harborfields a 48-46 lead. He also sank four free throws in the final 30 seconds to clinch the title.

"It's a huge accomplishment," Ringen said. "Bringing home a state title means a lot to the whole community and school.

"I don't really think it all sank in yet. But it will."

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