By John Goralski
Track coaches know that 7.7 seconds is a good time in the 55m dash. Wrestling coaches dread the final 7.7 seconds as a straining grappler tries to hold on to a slim lead. In swimming, it can be the difference between placing first or last in the 100 freestyle, and in gymnastics it’s enough time for a vault.
For Blue Knight basketball coach Bob Lasbury, 7.7 seconds was an eternity in the season opener.
Southington’s inbounds play led to a missed shot by the Knights. The Lancers grabbed the rebound but turned it over at the three point line. Chris Kelly’s shot missed. Chris Sherwill rebounded, drew contact, and missed his attempt at a winning score. Alex Borofsky rebounded that shot, and tipped it in at the buzzer.
Just like that, a 53-52 deficit became a 54-53 win.
“It was incredible,” said the coach. “A lot went on in seven and a half seconds. That one at the end counted a lot. Both teams could have deserved the win, but we were fortunate to come out on top.”
Bristol Eastern coach Mike Giovinazzo had to console a team that had battled back to take a lead in the final 10 seconds. His team shot 46.7 percent from the floor and held the Knights to 36.4 shooting. The Lancers forced 12 second half turnovers and took the lead in the final minute, but Borofsky’s buzzer beater shattered their hopes.
“We did everything right except secure the ball,” said Giovinazzo. “We tried to do too much with it, we tried to make a play that wasn’t there and they turned it into a win.”
Southington led the game early with a 13-5 run to claim a five point lead at the first break. The Knights held on to a 27-23 lead at the half and the teams battled throughout the second half.
Borofsky paced the Knights with 16 points and seven rebounds. Steve Mierzejewski just missed a double-double with nine points and 12 boards. Ted Shaw collected nine assists and five steals. Corbin Garry came off the bench for six points and three steals, and Kelly finished with five points for the Knights.
But it was Sherwill that put the Knights in a position to win. The senior co-captain went 4-for-7 from three point range with 12 points for the game, and he converted back-to-back threes late in the game that knotted the contest, 48-48.
“If he doesn’t hit those shots, we’re not in that position at the end of the game,” said Lasbury. “He was huge for us and obviously every kid that stepped on the floor worked extremely hard.”
The Knights out-rebounded the Lancers, 31-20, and that was the difference as Southington scrambled for three shots in the final 7.7 seconds. Eastern was led by Gabe Ungaro (15), Kevin Love (10), and Ryan chiasson (10), but the Knights improved to 1-0 with their last minute heroics.
Lasbury said that the victory was extremely important as Southington tries to shrug off memories of last year’s 4-16 record. Doing it on the road under such trying circumstances makes it even sweeter.
“It really epitomizes what we talk about. You have to play hard for 32 minutes. If we stopped playing in those last seven seconds, we would have lost, but we played right to the very end,” said the coach. “I think this was very important because we feel we’re going to have a different season this year. If we lost, I think it would have been tougher to convince our players that we were going to be successful.”
The Knights will try to carry the momentum into this week’s contests. Southington will open their conference schedule at Newington on Wednesday with a home opener against Windsor on Friday.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.