NEW BRITAIN - Down by two with 14.8 seconds in the final quarter of the final round of the 26th annual Osgood Shootout Open Division, Kuran Iverson drove to the basket and watched the ball go through the net.
The shot not only sent Sunday’s Open Division final at New Britain High School to overtime, it set the tempo for the extra period as the Amerikaz beat Flight Fam 70-67 to win their second straight title.
“In that final minute [of regulation] I knew had to get a bucket for my team,” Iverson said. “Whatever I can do to help me team.”
Before Iverson’s shot, the Amerikaz were never able to get control of the game and played sluggishly over the first half. As the second half took place, the Amerikaz came out more aggressive.
With four minutes remaining, the Amerikaz found themselves within six points. That was went TJ Robinson had two of the biggest shots before Iverson’s.
Robinson hit back-to-back3-pointers to tie the game up 58-58. Then with less than a minute of the clock (42.1 seconds), Flight Fams’ Doug Herring put three points of his own, to put them ahead by three (61-58).
Robinson led the Amerikaz with 20 points, earning the 2018 Osgood Shootout MVP award. Teammate Steven Samuels wasn’t too far behind as he added 17 points while Ant Jernigan added 12.
As for Flight Fam, it was Mike Anderson led the team with 26 points, followed by Herring with 20 and Kevin Pregam with 11.
“It was a hard fought game,” Robinson said. “Our opponents were very good, very talented. They came out firing and were hitting everything so it came down to the last possession but we got it. We had a great battle today, great war. I loved it.”
“We we’re just trying to win another game, win another championship,” Iverson said. “We won last year and we wanted to repeat ourselves. Hopefully next year we can do the same thing.”
Yet even as they left with their second straight trophy in hand, for the Amerikaz players, the Osgood Shooutout represents more than just highly competitive basketball.
“This event does a lot of the community,” Iverson said. “It brings everyone together, off the streets and it brings them to the gym. All the kids get to see the older guys go at it and compete and hopefully when they get older they can compete in the tournament. Everyone’s friends and there’s a lot of competition. They come at you hard and after the game everyone's going to talk, so you just have to have fun with it and try to win the big trophy, that’s what I do.”
Now, it on to the next one.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org