Lawrence had one last possession to avoid playoff heartbreak for the second time in as many seasons.
The top-seeded Golden Tornadoes trailed defending Nassau Class A boys’ basketball champion South Side throughout Tuesday’s quarterfinal game at Oceanside High School and were down two points with 19.6 seconds to go. After a timeout, they worked the ball around the perimeter and got off a wide-open trey. It missed. So did a put-back try in the paint, and Brendan McDerby corralled the rebound for the eighth-seeded Cyclones and sank a free throw with 2.2 seconds remaining to provide the final margin in a 62-59 upset.
“I thought we played a tremendous game, especially on defense,” South Side coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We still have a ways to go, but we’ll enjoy this one for a while. Lawrence has a lot of firepower. That’s a team capable of putting up 90 points. To hold them under 60 is a great accomplishment.”
The Cyclones (11-8), who graduated all five starters from last season, had four players score in double figures and advanced to the semifinals where they’ll face No. 12 Roslyn on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at SUNY-Old Westbury. Junior Paul Pandolfi paced the offense with 15 points, including 11 in the first half. McDerby, a senior, added 14, freshman Alex Sorensen had 13, and senior Dane Flaherty chipped in 10. Lawrence (15-4), which never led, got a game-high 19 points from senior Eddie Robinson.