Erase 10-point deficit to win in OT

No one on the Haldane boys’ basketball team wanted to see their season end one game short of a state championship — especially with Matteo Cervone sitting on the bench in overtime.

The Blue Devils made sure that didn’t happen Friday morning (March 17) in the Class C state semifinal game against Section X’s Canton, at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. Haldane came back from a 10-point deficit after three quarters to send the game into overtime, where the Blue Devils dominated on their way to a 63-54 victory.

The win puts Haldane (21-4) in Saturday’s Class C state title game, where the Blue Devils will put their 16-game win streak on the line against Randolph (21-4), which defeated Moravia, 50-43, in the other semifinal. Tip-off is at 5:15 p.m. at Cool Insuring Arena. The game will be broadcast online by the NFHS Network (

Photos by Amy Kubik

Haldane had a strong first quarter, jumping to a 13-6 lead behind hot shooting from Ryan Eng-Wong (who hit the game’s first two 3-pointers) and Cervone (five points). But the Golden Bears came back with a 13-5 second quarter to take a 19-18 lead at halftime.

Canton (17-7) continued to roll with a 20-11 third quarter that put the Golden Bears up 39-29 at the end of three.

But Cervone and the Blue Devils responded in the fourth, forcing turnovers, not allowing Canton second opportunities, and hitting shots, to send the game into overtime knotted at 48-48.

In the extra session (playing without Cervone, who fouled out with 45 seconds left in regulation), the Blue Devils got big contributions from Ben Bozsik, who opened the period with a floater to give Haldane a lead it would not give up, Eng-Wong and Evan Giachinta. Bozsik finished with 14 points, including six in overtime, Cervone had 21 points, and dominated the fourth with nine, Eng-Wong finished with 10, including four in OT. Matt Nachamkin had six points, and Evan Giachinta came up with two key buckets and a block in overtime.

This was Haldane’s fourth appearance in the state Final Four, and it will be the team’s second appearance in the championship game, the last coming in 2016. Haldane won a Class C state title last fall in boys’ soccer, with a team that also included Nachamkin and Eng-Wong.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Pearlman, a native of Carmel, was the sports editor of the Putnam County Courier in Carmel for 14 years and for the North County News in Yorktown Heights for 13 years. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Sports