After watching his Thomas R. Proctor High School basketball team lose almost all of its 14-point fourth-quarter lead Friday night, coach Norm Stamboly’s career win No. 300 – not to mention the Raiders’ season – seemed in serious jeopardy.
What junior point guard Jayson Jackson would later call “a scary situation,” though, ended with second-seeded Proctor pulling away for a 65-53 victory over Liverpool’s stubborn Warriors in a Section III Class AA quarterfinal game at the Michael J. Arcuri Athletic Complex.
“Coach just told us this was going to be the end of our season,” said Jackson, who came off the bench to lead the Raiders with 13 points, eight steals and seven assists. “That’s what got us going again.”
That’s for sure.
After Liverpool’s 10-1 start to the fourth quarter helped pull the Warriors within 50-48, a twisting layup by Proctor’s Will Hawkins, back-to-back steals by Jackson, and four baskets in the final 4½ minutes by junior Wendell Wright sent the Raiders (16-3) to the Section III semifinals for the seventh straight year and gave Stamboly his 300th career victory.
What did that milestone mean to the coach? Certainly not as much as another win meant to a Proctor program that has averaged 19 wins over the last eight seasons.
“What that (300th win) means to me is that I’m old, that I have great assistant coaches, that I have a great JV staff, and that I have great players,” said Stamboly, now 300-119 in 20 years, including a 269-93 record in 17 seasons at Proctor.
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