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Most players are lucky to hit one big shot in a game, but Leyden’s Omar Lozoya hit seven in the Eagles 69-65 double-overtime win over the Rebels at the Ridgewood Battle at the Ridge tournament on Wednesday.
The senior guard’s biggest shots came in the form of three free throws with four seconds remaining in the first overtime and his team trailing 62-59. Lozoya found space beyond the arc and released a shot from the right corner that almost went in before being slapped on the arm. Lozoya regrouped after the contact, calmly walked to the line, and buried three shots that did not hit the rim to send the game to a second overtime.
“I felt a little pressure but I stepped up and knocked them down, “said Lozoya, who led all scorers with 33 points.
Lozoya also hit two clutch free throws in the second overtime that gave Leyden a comfortable 67-62 lead with 18 seconds left in the game. But Lozoya was also a pain in the Ridgewood side early in the game. His buzzer-beating three over the outstretched hands of a defender gave the Eagles (2-0) a 26-24 lead heading into half-time and an improbable last-second, turn-around three at the end of the third period tied the game at 38-38.
“This is big. These are the moments I want to play for, “ Lozoya said.
Leyden coach Bill Heisler was also pleased.
“He put us on his back and carried us across the finish line,” Heisler said.
But Leyden was not alone in big shots. In the final seconds of regulation, Rebel forward Igor Cirkovic (13 pts) put in a Mike Morawiec (14 pts) missed three to send the game into overtime tied at 54-54.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Cirkovic. “We thought we could go 4-0 in this tournament.”
The Rebels (1-1) were led in scoring by Adam Krozel with 17 points and Anthony Mroz with 15 points. Jayqual Jackson and Anthony Gonzalez each chipped in nine points for Leyden.
The Eagles will play Westmont this Friday.