NEW BRITAIN - New Britain boys basketball head coach Kurt Reis walked over to the scoring table and accepted one of the two trophies for the school’s holiday tournament Saturday night.
It just wasn’t the one the Hurricanes wanted and a lot of that had to do with East Lymes’ Dev Ostrowski, who saved his best for when it mattered most.
With 7.8 seconds left in overtime, the Vikings senior drove down the court and hit a jumper from inside the arc to cap off a comeback win for East Lyme and hand New Britain a 65-63 loss and second place in its home tournament.
The basket was two of Ostrowski’s game-high 42 points, 32 of which, including nine of this team’s 11 points, came in the second half and overtime. He was named to the All-Tournament team, along with teammate Luke Leonard, and was also named the tournaments’ MVP.
Leonard was the only other player for the Vikings to finish in double figures with 13 points, while three other players accounted for a total of 10 more.
“Coming into the game we knew Ostrowski was one of the best players in the state and we had a game plan and did we execute what we were supposed to do the entire game?” Reis said. “No. I thought we did a good job in the first half and I think that showed. He had 10 [points] and then in the second half, we allowed him to do what he wanted for whatever reason and he ended up with 32 points. But even with that there were timing plays that we didn’t really execute, whether it was a free throw or turnover or layup or rotation.”
But even as the Hurricanes had their 12-point halftime lead cut to eight by the end of the third quarter and then to a single point with 1:18 remaining in regulation, they had both a chance to win the game before the extra period and later to send it to double overtime.
After Shamah Charles tied the game at 52-52 with 12 second remaining to answer an Ostrowski 3-pointer on an inbound pass, New Britain forced a turnover with 6.1 seconds left on the fourth-quarter clock. But Isaiah Jenkins was unable to connect on the ensuing 3-point attempt that hit the rim with a putback attempt on good as well.
In overtime, after the Hurricanes managed to erase a 5-point deficit in the final minute and Jenkins tied the game 63-63 before Ostrowski’s eventual game-winner, Thameen Dupree had two opportunities to tie the game.
Dupree’s first shot attempt bounced off the rim, but kicked right back to him for another try, which also came up short.
“I feel like we had them and was pushing on their throats,” Dupree said. “We were up by 10 [in the second half] and we messed up. We let them back in the game.”
Dupree finished with a team-high 14 points, while Charles added 12. Both were named to the All-Tournament team as well. Jenkins scored eight points in the loss.
It was a much different feeling in the first half.
With Ostrowski held in check, it looked like New Britain would be able to control the game. Maurice Turner hit a half-court shot at the first-quarter buzzer and East Lyme managed just three baskets in the second quarter as the Hurricanes took a 35-23 lead into the third quarter.
But the mistakes New Britain was able to prevent in the first half, occurred over the final 28 minutes.
“There were just turnovers down the stretch, missed layups downs the stretch and defensive breakdowns,” Jenkins said. “[Ostrowski] had a good game and he’s a good player, but I felt like we allowed him to get the ball too much. We knew the ball was going to him and his team was going to make sure he had the ball at all times, but we couldn’t really stop that.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org