WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. - Delano Knox has been here before.
As a freshman, his Arlington team won the 2018 Duane Davis Tournament; as a sophomore, his team lost in triple overtime to Our Lady of Lourdes in the championship game. Three tournament appearances, three championship game appearances.
“This is the third time. I really want to win this third one and end my high school career on a good note,” said Knox.
It wasn’t an easy path to the championship, as Arlington had to withstand Marlboro with a last second defensive stand, 65-63.
“We bent, but we didn’t break. Marlboro is a tough team, hats off to them, they’re a pretty tough team,” said Jamie Feicht. “It’s a good builder in terms of experience, but we can’t let games like that get that close… We got lucky tonight.”
Arlington led the entire first three quarters, holding multiple double digit advantages. At the half, the Admirals looked like they were gaining momentum, going into the break with an eight-point advantage.
But, Marlboro wouldn’t go away. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Marlboro went on a mini run to bring the game to a one possession game.
In the fourth, Arlington had a nine-point lead, but the Dukes fought back. Marlboro put on a full court press and got six points in a matter of seconds. A Chinedu Okasi free throw gave Marlboro their first lead of the game with just under one minute remaining.
With 38.1 seconds remaining, Knox got fouled on a layup attempt. He missed both free throws, but Ian Griffin Jr. got the offensive rebound and a layup to give Arlington the one point lead.
On their final possession, Marlboro couldn’t get a clean shot off, and the Admirals clinched their third straight championship appearance.
Knox finished with a game-high 28 points. Griffin Jr. had 15.
“I always look to get to the basket and find my teammates out on the wings, the shooters. I feel like I was getting to my spots,” Knox said. “My teammates were doing a great job setting me screens.”
It was a difficult loss for Marlboro, who was looking for their first championship appearance since they were champions in 2015.
“It was a great effort,” Marlboro head coach Mike Koehler said. “We were much scrappier in the second half. We were playing with more confidence on offense…A lot of good things happened.”
Marlboro was led by their two guards Okasi and Collin Casey. Okasi finished with 23 points, Casey with 18.
“They both show great leadership,” Koehler said of Okasi and Casey. “As we keep moving along, I think we can do great things.”
Marlboro will play the loser of Wednesday’s semifinal, while the winner will advance to the championship to play Arlington on Thursday at 3 p.m.
By Tom Seipp (@Tom_Seipp & email@example.com)