STONE RIDGE – It has been almost two decades since the Spackenkill boys basketball team won the MHAL Championship and midway through this year’s championship game, it looked like the Spartans would have to wait a little bit longer. New Paltz trailed in the first quarter 17-12, and then took off behind Axel Rodriquez (19 points) and Casey Burke (16 points).
The Huguenots led 32-22 at halftime – and 49-39 after three full quarters. But somebody flipped a switch over on the Spackenkill side, and the team started lighting it up on offense, and creating havoc on defense.. Kyiev Bennermon was a workhorse under the boards pulling down 19 rebounds and scoring 22 points.
Camron Abalos finished with 17 points after a relatively quiet first half.
A pivotal point in the game came with the Spartans down 51-45; Tucker Lee stole a pass on a New Paltz inbound pass after Kyiev Bennermon made one of many offensive rebounds on the night. Lee passed to Bennermon who missed the layup, Ezequiel De La Cruz picked up the rebound and sent it out to Hayden Peek on the perimeter who passed it off to a wide open Abalos at the top of the key. The three point offering missed, but Bennermon got the rebound to tighten up the score.
Down the home stretch, the Spartans kept chipping away at the New Paltz lead. The Huguenots had a 54-52 lead with 20 seconds remaining.after Axel Rodriquez hit a huge three pointer from the top of the key.
Camron Abalos, heavily guarded by Rodriquez drove into the paint, split two defenders and bounced the ball to Bennermon and Bennermon picked up the ball, turned towards the basket, got fouled by two defenders while going up for the shot. He made the basket and got the foul call. The score was tied at 54 and Bennermon’s free throw was one of the biggest of his career. He swished it.
The Huguenots had one final shot before the game ending buzzer – Charlie Perez had a wide open look for a three pointer from the corner – but the ball was off the mark and Spackenkill stunned the crowd with a 55-54 win.