NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lightning has struck not once, but twice. The New Rochelle High School boys basketball team has now become the talk of more than just the town.
It might soon be the state.
The Huguenots are a win away from their first state final appearance since 2005, following another dramatic, last-second victory, CBS 2′s Lou Young reported Monday.
Last week, New Rochelle’s Khalil Edney stunned Mount Vernon with a 55-foot miracle shot as time expired to give the Huguenots a 61-60 win in the Section 1 Class AA final at Westchester County Center. That shot became the stuff of legend as the video, both online and on television, was viewed by millions.
But it turns out New Rochelle was just getting started.
Following a 67-48 win over Binghamton in the regional semifinals last Tuesday, Joe Clarke’s three-point play in the closing seconds on Sunday against Kingston led New Rochelle to a 63-60 victory and a spot in the Class AA final four at the Civic Center in Glens Falls.
“It’s a miracle, like every single game it’s just incredible,” New Rochelle senior Jose Valencia said.
New Rochelle will next play Saturday against Northport of Suffolk County. If the Huguenots win they will meet the winner of the upstate final between Rochester’s Bishop Kearney and Troy out of the Albany area in Sunday’s state final.
In the win over Kingston, Edney made the pass and Clarke made the winning basket. They both said they had confidence as the seconds ticked down.
“We were running that play the whole second half, and it worked every time,” Edney said. “It was just a one-on-one.”
By contrast, it was a Hail Mary shot that got New Rochelle through the game against Mount Vernon a week earlier. A play-by-play announcer had already announced Mount Vernon as the winner when Edney launched his miracle prayer.
Here’s how Edney, as a guest last week on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show, described the final 2.9 seconds after his inbounds pass: “The pass got intercepted, and then the kid on [Mount Vernon] threw the ball up and celebrated, but the time didn’t run out. So I just grabbed the ball and I just threw it.”
A week later, Edney said again that the final play against Mount Vernon was a matter of chance.
Did he know it was going in?
“No I did not,” he said.
Did he even think it was?
“Ah, no, I did not,” he said. “Once it went in, it was in.”
But classmates were not modest about Edney’s prowess in the game.
“I think it’s because they keep trying until the end,” said New Rochelle junior Lauren Smith. “They don’t stop and give up just because they’re down by two points.”
Edney was optimistic about the final outcome for the season.
“We got something going here,” he said. “To anyone else it might seem like a fluke but to us it’s our season. It’s our senior season.”
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