Boys Varsity Basketball: 2023 HVAL Champions!
The top-seeded Harvey’s boys varsity basketball team is the 2022-23 champion of the Housatonic Valley Athletic League after coming back from a four-point deficit at the half and beating the No. 2 seed Watkinson School of Hartford, 49-45, Saturday in the league championship game.
It was a nail-biter from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. Harvey got the first two points of the game when junior center Olaf Gorski scored from underneath the basket, but the early lead quickly disappeared as Watkinson went ahead on a 3-pointer, one of several the Rams would get throughout the game. The Cavs were down 7-4 at the 12:33 mark when senior Kirk Ortega nailed a 3-pointer to tie the score. It went back and forth the rest of the half until the final minute when the Rams had a 28-22 lead. Sophomore Jonah Kass cut it to 28-24 just before the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
The second half started as a repeat of the first half with each team taking turns to score until Kass and Marcus Diaz heated up and led Harvey on a 10-0 run during a four-minute stretch. When Diaz hit a 3-pointer at 8:43, the Cavs had their biggest lead of the day, 41-32. Two successful 3-pointers from the Rams, however, trimmed the deficit to four points with a little more than four minutes to play. The two teams traded baskets for the minutes that followed as Harvey held on to four-point lead before it was cut down to only two, 46-44, with just three minutes left.
Missed shots and sloppy ball handling kept both teams from scoring until there were just 19 seconds left with Harvey still holding on to the 46-44 lead. Ortega hit two clutch free throws to make it 48-44 with 09:3 seconds reading on the clock. .Harvey’s defense stepped up while the Rams could only score on one free throw which was negated by Gorski’s successful foul shot.
With just 01.9 seconds showing on the clock, Watkinson in-bounded the ball to a man deep in the corner. With hopes of tying the game, he released a desperation bomb from 3-point range which sailed high and missed its mark, prompting the Harvey boys to leap for joy as they became the champions of the HVAL.
Kass finished with 17 points, Ortega 13, Gorski nine, and Diaz seven.
Harvey head coach Denis Arnautovic was happy for both his team and the basketball program. He said, “The boys deserved this. After 28 years the trophy returns back to Harvey. I’m so very proud of the team.”
Harvey, finishing 11-1 against HVAL opponents and 13-9 overall, will host Gann Academy from Waltham, Massachusetts, Wednesday in a quarterfinal of the NEPSAC Class C championship tournament. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. Harvey is the No. 4 seed while Gann is seeded No. 5.
Hoisting the 2023 HVAL trophy
Harvey boys varsity basketball - 2023 HVAL Champions