Cranford Completes Unreal 21-Point Comeback in N2G3 Quarterfinals

In the heart of New Jersey's fervent basketball scene, an interesting matchup unfolded in the quarterfinals of the North 2 Group 3 Tournament. Those in attendance witnessed an instant classic between the #1 seeded Cranford and #8 Chatham. In true basketball essence, this was a game of two halves. 

The first quarter was a true back and forth contest. The scoring opened up by way of a contested three-point shot that was made by Chase Teel. After exchanging a few buckets, Cranford's combo guard Jack McGuire hit two corner threes, which would be the start of a hot steak for the junior. Chatham found their rhythm early, as they were spreading out the scoring amongst the whole starting 5. After a closely contested first quarter, the home team Cranford would take the lead 15-14. The next quarter would show a whole different story.

The second quarter was when the game truly started getting interesting. The quarter would open up with a nice layup from Chatham's Quinn Burke. Shortly after, Jack McGuire would hit his 3rd three pointer of the half. In an unexpected turn of events, that would be the last basket that Cranford would score for the rest of the half, where around 7 minutes remained. Chatham would go on to play lockdown defense and seemed to score at will. They would go on a 25-3 run to close out the half. Michael MacAniff would lead the way for Chatham's run with 8 second quarter points. 

If the second quarter wasn't crazy enough, the third quarter may have topped it. Josh Ketschke would open up the quarter with a huge three pointer to get Cranford back into the swing of things. Chatham's Mike Tedesco would get some points right back on the next possession with a tough layup. In the same fashion as last quarter, that would be some of the last points to be scored, only this time for Chatham. A smooth 3 pointer by Dylan Aveno would be the start of an absurd run for Cranford. McGuire added two more 3's and Teel would go on to score a few huge buckets of his own. Toward's the end of the third quarter, something happened that Cranford desperately needed. Their top scorer who averages 24.1 PPG, senior Nick Amitie, started to take over the game. He scored 7 total points in the quarter, two of them coming on the last 3 of Cranford's possessions. The third quarter ended with a 27-6 Cranford run, knotting it up at 45 a piece going into the 4th.

As wild as the last two quarters were, the fourth quarter was more closely contested like we saw in the 1st. McGuire opened up the scoring as he walked into his 6th three pointer of the game. Chatham's Will DesMarais answered with a three of his own the next possession. This is where we really started to see Amitie in his element. The senior big man scores on back to back possesions, including a tough and-one. Although they had the momentum, Chatham wasn't going away. Quinn Burke hit two massive threes back to back which kept his team in the fight. Down 3 with less than a minute left, Amitie plays hero once again, as he splashes a three to tie the game up at 57, which would force overtime!

Continuing on his big 2nd half, Nick Amitie gets the crowd fired up by starting off OT with a strong and-one. Quinn Burke once again comes up with another huge shot, matching Cranford with a 3 pointer. Amitie, still in takeover mode, commands an iso at the top of the key and wiggles passed his defender for a floater that touches nothing but net. With under a minute left, Remy deVarenne of Chatham hits one of the biggest shots of the year and ties it at 62. With 40 seconds to go and the season on the line, Cranford calls for the guy who has shone the brightest bright all second half. None other than Nick Amitie pulls a quick catch and shoot three and absolutely buries it. This would be all she wrote, as Cranford played stingey defense on the last possession and would walk away victorious, winning 66-64.

As the final buzzer echoed, the dust settled on a game that will be remembered as an instant classic. In an impressive display of skill, resilience, and sheer determination, Cranford and Chatham delivered a contest for the ages.

At the heart of Cranford's triumphant victory stood Nick Amitie, whose heroic performance illuminated the court with 28 points, showcasing his prowess and leadership when it mattered most. Alongside him, Jack McGuire's electrifying 20-point contribution, making 6 threes in the process, underscored Cranford's showed the true heart of this team to get through such a grueling battle.