Opong buried a floater at the buzzer, clinching McClancy's stunning 61-59 come-from-behind win at Nazareth High in East Flatbush Friday night.McClancy (10-9, 6-5 CHSAA A-South) rallied from a 19-point first half deficit and trailed 59-56 with 16.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But Stephen "Sticks" Wood knocked down a contested three-pointer from the right wing with nine seconds left to tie the game and then Opong stripped a Nazareth player near half court and raced towards the basket.Opong was thinking finger roll but when he glanced at the clock and saw 1.5 seconds left, the LeFrak City native knew he had to get rid of the ball. He unleashed a runner from just inside the foul line and the Crusaders co-captain, who is usually in Wood's imposing shadow, was thrust into the spotlight and was mobbed by his teammates."I've been working on my floater for some time now and I just kissed it off," Opong said. "I did it for my team."After trailing 17-9 at the end of the first quarter and 33-18 at the half, McClancy went on a 15-1 run to take a 39-34 lead with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. Danny Farray had 11 points, seldom-used Kirk Fernandez scored a career-high six points and first-year senior forward Nykia Williams scored all 11 of his points in the second half. His three-point play gave the Crusaders a 54-49 lead with 2:57 left in the fourth quarter.But McClancy was sloppy with the ball and Nazareth (8-14, 5-9) capitalized. Led by Xavier Gonzalez, who scored a game-high 31 points and Mike Hill (18 points), the Kingsmen scored 10 of the next 12 points and led 59-56 on a pair of Gonzalez free throws with 16.3 left.But then Wood, who was having a spirited conversation with the Nazareth fans throughout the match, tied the game with a patented Wood three-pointer and then Opong stepped into the spotlight."I love it, it just makes me want to play more," said Wood, who scored a team-high 19 points. "I'd rather play in a gym like this than in an empty gym."
©2006 Community News Group
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