Follow the Section 1 boys basketball playoffs on Twitter @MSGVarsityKDJ
*See the full game Thursday 2/23 at 7:30pm on iO TV Ch. 14*
BEDFORD, N.Y. – Nothing was going right for Fox Lane in the fourth quarter against North Rockland on Tuesday night in a Section 1 Class AA quarterfinal. The Foxes saw their lead slowly evaporating as they uncharacteristically missed free throws and settled for outside shots. North Rockland trimmed the deficit to 44-39 late in the fourth quarter.
But Fox Lane pulled it together before it was too late.
With the shot clock winding down, Fox Lane senior Will Trawick beat his defender off the dribble and threw down a ferocious dunk with 1:22 remaining. The No. 2-seeded Foxes closed the game out on an 8-0 run to secure a 52-39 victory over No. 7 North Rockland.
“I got the ball and saw there were seven seconds left on the shot clock,” said Trawick, who finished with 13 points. “I kind of got double teamed so I tried to pass it and they both split. I saw the opening and I just took one dribble and then dunked it. They were down five and had some momentum. I just kind of capped it off.”
Fox Lane advances to the Section 1 Class AA semifinals where it will face No. 3 Mahopac on March 2 at the Westchester County Center. It’s the first time the Foxes have reached the semifinals since the 2003-04 season, when they won the Section 1 Class A title.
“It’s a dream come true,” Trawick said. “When I was in fifth grade we used to watch the 2004 team and they were amazing and got to the County Center. Ever since then it’s been my dream to go play at the County Center.”
After a Trawick bucket started the fourth, North Rockland went on a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to five points. The Red Raiders didn’t score again after that, however.
“The way [North Rockland] plays and the way they shoot the ball I was always worried,” Fox Lane coach Chris Violante said. “They’re so good defensively and so well coached. I never thought this game was going to end. I felt like the fourth quarter took forever. We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight from the free throw line. But an ugly win is a win.”
Senior guard Ben Korren also came through in the clutch for Fox Lane (17-3). Following Trawick’s dunk, Korren converted a three-point play and then made two free throws to stretch the lead to 51-39.
“We handled the ball really well against their pressure,” said Korren, who scored 13 points. “We knew coming in they’d be up in our face.”
Korren also scored the final eight points of the second quarter to help the Foxes to a 29-22 halftime lead.
“I’m kind of a streaky shooter so if I stay confident I’ll string a bunch together and that’s what I did,” Korren said.
Senior center Dylan Peretz added 13 points for Fox Lane, while senior point guard Kevin Muller added seven points. Muller converted a three-point play with 26 seconds left in the third quarter to give Fox Lane a 42-33 lead heading into the fourth.
After a close four-point win over Suffern in the opening round, Violante wanted to see his team play with more confidence. They did just that. Fox Lane broke North Rockland’s press with relative ease and didn’t turn the ball over often.
“I thought we played tight against Suffern,” said Violante, who is in his eighth season with the Foxes. “We talked about how you have to play with confidence. We’ve got 16 wins for a reason. You’ve got to believe in yourselves and each other, and good things are going to happen.”
North Rockland (13-7) was paced by junior forward Charles Nardone with nine points. Tyrell Price and Alex Ramirez each added eight points.
The Foxes are looking forward to their meeting with Mahopac in the Section 1 Class AA semifinals next Friday.
“It’s huge,” Korren said. “Six or seven of us, when we were back in rec basketball, played [at the County Center] in the rec finals. We’ve always wanted to go back since we put the Fox Lane jersey on. And now we’re back there, which is great.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD