The thriller that wasn’t

Rhinebeck Hawks girls basketball grabs opener in overtime miracle

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Last week was supposed to be a big one for Red Hook hoop, with both girls and boys varsity basketball having home openers and first road games. But two ill-placed days of snow cancelled all that and left Rhinebeck girls varsity basketball with the only game in town.

In a match with non-league opponent Poughkeepsie Dec. 11, the Lady Hawks fluttered through most of the game before soaring in overtime.

It was not a high-scoring affair. Neither team was tearing up the court to open things up, and the first quarter ended 7-7; Rhinebeck’s Sydney Spencer drained a shot in the final seconds of the quarter to knot the tie.

“I think we have a little work to do,” Rhinebeck head coach Marc Burg told the Observer after the game.

If anything, the game was tight. Neither team held a lead of more than five points at any juncture, but scoring opportunities abounded: with no shots sinking, most plays ended up as breaks. Rhinebeck netted their biggest lead of the game toward the end of the third quarter, when Spencer knocked down a pair of field goals from seven feet on concurrent plays to put the Lady Hawks up 22-18.

But Poughkeepsie was much in the clutch in the fourth, taking a lead and then trading it twice with Rhinebeck before the Hawks’ Natalie Hutchins scored on a putback and netted a foul with 1:33 to tie the game at 29. Hutchins, however, missed the free throw, sending the game into overtime after neither team could manage a bucket in the final minute.

Neither team managed a shot until halfway through the four-minute overtime, when Poughkeepsie’s Susie Santiaso, who led the game in scoring with 14, managed a putback with 1:51 left on the clock; Rhinebeck’s Rachel Tigges answered back with a layup with 12.1 seconds left in overtime.

And then something magical happened.

On the following panicked inbounds play, a Poughkeepsie player shot a layup into the team’s own hoop, which almost sank before rimming out. Hutchins grabbed the rebound, was fouled on her putback attempt, and sank one of the two free throws to put Rhinebeck up 32-31.

Burg said, “I’m glad we got the win, and it’s good for the girls to get out and win their first game, though.”

“The ending to this game was about as wild an ending as I’ve ever seen,” he added.

“The end was really intense,” said Spencer, who led Rhinebeck in scoring with 10 points and conducted most of the offense. “I was really freaking out. I was really happy that we ended getting the foul shot — it was insane.”

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