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On This Day in History | 1980

January 26, 2011

The Shrikes | Walker (#24) & Vega (#14)

On this day 31 years ago, the boys’ basketball team won a thrilling game at Eastport in the game’s final seconds to avenge a 38-point home loss to the Ducks on January 8th. It looked as though the Shrikes were in for another trouncing, falling behind 9-17 after the first quarter, but the offense caught fire in the second frame, spearheaded by Shawn Parman’s 9 points, to grab a narrow one-point edge at the half.

The Ducks wrested control back in the third, winning the period 18-12 and taking a five-point lead into the last quarter. The Ducks began the fourth with an 8-2 run as the Brook’s deficit snowballed to 11 with 6:02 remaining. The Shrikes were still down by 11 with 5:02 left, when an unlikely run unfolded. Parman, Will Walker, and Diego Vega joined forces on a 9-0 run that left the Blue and White behind 57-58 with 1:41 on the clock. The Ducks pushed the lead out to three with 1:08 remaining, but a score by Walker and two free throws by Parman gave the Brook their first lead since a 2-0 advantage in the game’s early seconds. Over the next 40 seconds there would be four lead changes as both teams strained for the finish line.

The Ducks grabbed a 62-61 lead with 30 seconds left, Parman scored to make it 63-62 with 18 seconds left, but Eastport gained the advantage again on two free throws with 17 seconds remaining. Trailing 63-64 with only a handful of ticks on the clock, coach Thom Brownworth drew up the game’s potentially winning play, however, as the strategy unfurled it was stymied by the Ducks’ defense. Vega stood holding the ball near the top of the key, unable to get it to the targeted player. With time running off the scoreboard, Vega’s only option was to take the shot himself as the self-described “third option,” sinking the game’s winning shot with four seconds remaining. Parman led all scorers with 23 points, Walker finished with 19, and Vega, the game’s hero, added 10.

Besides the long, cold rides to and from the East End of Long Island during the winter seasons, including riding on the Shelter Island Ferry with ice all over the bay, the individual play that I remember the most was from a game during my senior year against Eastport on their home court. We were down by one with about 8 seconds left to play, and Mr. Brownworth called a play where the ball would be in-bounded along the sideline to our point guard, swung to me near the top of the key and I was to dribble-drive-and-kick it to one of the forwards coming across the baseline. For some reason the defenders collapsed on the baseline players, leaving me a wide-open look at the basket. I made the shot with 4 seconds left and we won the game 65-64.

~ Diego Vega



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