Garcia Hits Game-Winner for Hawks, Beat Rival Oneonta

Fourth-year guard Cory Garcia hit the game-winner against SUNY Oneonta Saturday, pushing the Hawks past the Red Dragons for their first State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) win of the season. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Perkins)

The Hawks remain undefeated at home with an overall record of 4-4 and 1-2 in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) after an exciting overtime finish against Catskill Cup rival SUNY Oneonta on Saturday. The win was the first against the Red Dragons since 2013.

The Hawks held on to the ball until the final 10 seconds of the overtime period when second-year guard Jake Passaretti attacked the paint and threw the ball out to fourth-year captain Cory Garcia. Garcia’s defender could not keep up with him as he pulled up for a floater just beyond the charity line to set the score at 79-77 in New Paltz’s favor.

“I knew that Jake was going to drive at the ten second mark, and when he began heading in my direction I had one thing in mind: getting to the hoop,” Garcia said. “I knew the time was winding down and got into the lane easily. It felt great off the hand.”

During regulation the Hawks overcame a five-point deficit, the first half expiring with the Red Dragons leading 39-34. The Hawks did not regain the lead until there was 5:41 remaining in the second half. Fourth-year guard Nick Paquette came off the bench and hit four treys in a five minute stretch.

“We got great contributions from the bench, especially Nick Paquette who kept us in the game down the stretch,” Kenney said. “Jake Passaretti made a huge three in OT and Paddy Parr had a huge offensive rebound in OT. We got great defense from Cory on their best player during the game.”

With over two minutes to go Paquette gave the Hawks a three-point cushion, forcing Oneonta to foul down the stretch. Garcia chipped in two free throws to maintain the three point lead after a basket by third-year guard Harrison Deegen cut the deficit to one, but third-year forward Joseph Bull hurled in a desperate 3-pointer to tie the game at 68 as time expired.

“When Oneonta hit that three at the buzzer it was devastating,” Passaretti said. “But in the huddle everyone stayed optimistic and knew there was no way we were losing that five minute overtime.”

Oneonta built off the momentum from their buzzer beater and jumped out to an early four-point lead. Passaretti hit a three with about two minutes remaining in the overtime period and Garcia chipped in a free throw to tie the score at 75 all. The Red Dragons scored another basket but the Hawks answered after fourth-year captain Paddy Parr grabbed a rebound and dished it to third-year captain Tristan Wissemann who tied the score back up at 77 with just under a minute to go.

The Red Dragons put the ball in Bull’s hands in the next possession and third-year forward Scott Reisert came off the bench, played clutch defense and grabbed the rebound off Bull’s errant shot with 20 seconds for the Hawks to create and execute the final play of the game.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were handed another loss on the road by Baruch College on Tuesday. New Paltz scored a season-low of 60 against Baruch’s 76 points shooting only 36.8 percent from the floor and were out-rebounded 47-33.

“Being undefeated at the Hawk Center is amazing,” Passaretti said. “We always preach protecting our home court and we definitely have. However, we must take the consistency that we play with at home on the road.”

Third-year captain Tristan Wissemann led the Hawks with 16 points, four rebounds and two assists. Paquette scored 10 points off the bench and chipped in two rebounds. Second-year guard Keith Seaman and first-year forward Brandon Scott each netted eight points off the bench along with three assists and five rebounds respectively.

The Hawks are back in action after Christmas to compete in the Medgar Evans tournament on Dec. 29 and 30. Kenney said that the team needs to improve in shooting and offensive execution in order to grab these two wins.

“During intercession, it is important that the whole team keeps working hard on their game while we are home,” Passaretti said. “Once we get back, we hope to continue to work hard in practice and also pick up our first road wins of the year in the Medgar Evans tournament.”