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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — The Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association Tournament kicked off under rainy, dreary circumstances outside, but if you were looking for any Shakespearean foreshadow inside, forget it.
Spackenkill and Franklin D. Roosevelt high schools began the 23rd annual boys’ basketball tournament on Tuesday afternoon with a thriller, as the Spartans outlasted FDR, 71-70, in double overtime in the first of three games played Tuesday at Our Lady of Lourdes.
Spackenkill is now 4-0 overall while the Presidents dropped to 2-2.
For an early-season game, it was terrific. And don’t think the players didn’t know it.
“I was guarding Ruben (Jimenez) and we both kept saying ‘Wow, what a game this is!’” said Spackenkill’s Jimmy Kruk, who came up huge in the extra sessions. Kruk scored eight of his 21 points in the first and second overtime periods, including a driving layup with just under two minutes left in the second OT that put the Spartans up 71-68 and proved to be the winning points.
But it was Kruk’s buzzer-beating three-pointer moments earlier that opened the scoring in the second overtime and was a dagger for FDR. The Presidents did a great job on perimeter defense, forcing the Spartans away from the basket throughout the entire possession. But Kruk turned and launched an off-balance jumper as the shot clock went off, and it banked through to give Spackenkill a 69-66 lead.
“I was shooting horrible all game,” Kruk said. “I knew where we were at with the shot clock and I knew I had to get it off.” Kruk then laughed and acknowledged the improbability of the three-pointer, saying “I guess the banks are open even today, huh?”
But Roosevelt’s Felix Riascos, who also had 21 points on the night, wouldn’t let the Presidents go down without a fight. It was Riascos’ driving baseline layup at the buzzer at the end of the first overtime that forced the second extra period. This time, down 71-68, Riascos hit one of two free throws to make it 71-69 and, with the clock reading 3.8 seconds, hit the first of two to pull FDR within one. But after Spackenkill called timeout in between foul shots, Riascos missed the second one and clock ran out after a scrum for the rebound.
“That was a great game,” Spackenkill coach Terry Feeley said. “I thought with our movement on offense we were able to do some things early on, but Roosevelt did a great job of adjusting and forcing us out of some things.”
The Spartans jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter but Roosevelt came storming back behind Riascos and Jack Raimo (17 points) to take a 29-24 lead at halftime. FDR briefly took an eight-point lead at the start of the third quarter, but neither team led by more than five points over the final 22 minutes, including overtime.
Follow Rich Thomaselli on Twitter @RPTSPORTS