Sean Cappiello looked around his locker room on Sunday afternoon, moments after walking off the floor together for the final time, and didn’t have to search far for the appropriate words to say.
“I told them thank you,” the second-year Ardsley coach said. “I said thank you for letting me coach them. Thanks for listening to me. Thanks for letting me come along on this ride. Thanks for treating each other with class. Thanks for putting Ardsley sports on the map; on the national map. Thanks for dedicating all the time in the offseason. Thanks for representing their community with class. And thanks for letting us all experience it.”
The ride was as memorable as any for a Section 1 basketball team in history. The Panthers were 2.4 seconds and 70 feet away from losing in the sectional title game. But the magic that ensued in the “McGarvey Miracle” made national headlines and carried the Ardsley program and community all the way to the Class A state championship game.
A bid for the most unlikely state title, however, came up short to a bigger, faster, and more physical Amityville team. The Long Island champs exploded with 21 of the game’s first 23 points and coasted to a 74-54 win in the NYSPHSAA Class A title game at the Floyd Maines Arena in Binghamton.
Ardsley, in its first ever state basketball final appearance, shed its share of tears as the clock expired on Sunday. But the reflection on three unforgettable weeks began.
“Nobody could have expected this,” Ardsley senior Julian McGarvey said. “No any of you guys, not me, not anybody. And I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with any different group of guys.”
Ardsley (21-8) was coming off an emotional state semifinal win on Saturday over Mohonasen of Section 2 and entered Sunday’s title game in search of destiny. But the reality of Amityville’s athleticism and ability to attack the basket and get out in transition set in quickly.
Amityville took a 10-2 lead after one quarter and then blew the game open at 21-2 midway through the second. Joshua Serrano was exceptional, scoring 29 points to earn MVP honors.
Jayson Robinson added 18 points and 13 rebounds as Amityville outrebounded Ardsley 46-32. Ardsley shot just 2 of 16 from behind the arc in the first half to go into the break down 14.
“They’re really good,” Cappiello said with a smile. “They’re really fast and I actually don’t think we executed as well as we could have. We allowed them to dictate the tempo too much. I don’t think we were really ready for the speed they were able to transition from defense to offense.”
Zeke Blauner led Ardsley with 19 points, three assists and three steals. Danny Hewitt added 10 points.
Here’s a look back at Ardsley’s historic postseason run:
HOLY CRAP! Ardsley wins on a miracle at buzzer. Julian McGarvey! pic.twitter.com/O4s8fyFdAP
— Kevin Devaney Jr. (@KDJmedia1) March 3, 2018
Story/Video: Ardsley knocks off Mohonasen in Class A state semifinal
Story: Scouting the NYSPHSAA Semifinals – Ardsley vs. Mohonasen
Story: Blauner, Ardsley secures berth in state final with win over New Paltz
Story: The ride continues for Ardsley with win over Maine-Endwell
Video: The story behind “The McGarvey Miracle”
Video/Story: Ardsley shocks Tappan Zee on miracle shot at buzzer
Video/Story: Ardsley beats Hen Hud in Section 1 semifinals
Follow Section 1 athletics on Twitter: @KDJMedia1. Email KDJ: firstname.lastname@example.org
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