Wildcats lose last second heartbreaker

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Tom Yeargin cuts around a Connolly defender. (YIM MARSHALL PHOTOS)

Tom Yeargin cuts around a Connolly defender. (YIM MARSHALL PHOTOS)

Down by two with the clock about to expire, teammates covered and a Westport defender in his face, Bishop Connolly’s Dylan Holland launched what he would later call the biggest shot of his life Friday.

That last-second three pointer snatched victory from the home-court Westport Wildcats and sent Bishop Connolly home with a 53-52 victory. The Westport gym, which had been rocking all evening long as the Wildcats led much of the way in the back and forth game, fell instantly silent.

Moments earlier, Westport seemed poised to win the game and tie the season series with Bishop Connolly at one game each (Connolly had won the first game on its home court 64-54). Going to the foul line with the score tied at 50-50, Westport’s Tom Yeargin gave the Wildcats a two point lead with just over 19 seconds on the clock.

Bishop Connolly designed a play for John Goncalo to cut to the basket but Westport defenders blocked his lane and he was forced to send the ball back out to the perimeter. It proved to be a good move as the ball landed in the team’s hottest hands — five Holland free-pointers had kept Connolly in the game repeatedly, foiling Westport attempts to put the game away in the second half.

Bishop Connolly led only twice through the close game (Westport led 21-19 at the half), once early on and then by as many as four points 46-42 in the fourth quarter. Westport’s Yeargin and Alex Machairas quickly erased that lead with back-to-back three-point shots. Westport then built a three point lead with less than three minutes let but Connolly knotted the score at 50.

Yeargin led the way for Westport scorers with 18 points including two three-pointers. Rich Hartnett added 16, Chad Willard scored 9, Alex Machairas scored 5 and Chris Silva netted 4.

Holland was top scorer for Connolly with 19 points.

Although Connolly shot 49 percent from the floor, Westport played tough defense all game long, forcing 26 Bishop Connolly turnovers. Its shooting percentage was lower, but Westport controlled the ball well, yielding only eight turnovers

Westport moved to 9-6 overall, 6-1 in the Mayflower League, going into Monday’s 6:30 p.m. game at Diman Vocational.

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