By Gabby Ripka
Just a few days ago, Byram Hills’ Boys Varsity Basketball team won a thrilling game on Thursday night, after beating their league competitors the Rye Garnets. Byram fans contributed to the team’s energy with a white-out themed fan-section. This spirit gave the team some much needed energy and a competitive advantage on their home court. The Garnets forced a turnover in the first five bobcat possessions, and forced a total of 21 turnovers overall. Byram kept powering through a very slow first half. The score for both teams was under 20 points at the end of the half, but the game really picked up going into the third and fourth quarters.
Both Byram and Rye held leads in a wild third quarter. Byram led in the beginning at a score of 17-14, yet by the middle of the third quarter Rye led the bobcats 23-19. The teams traded baskets from there but Rye still led 27-26 going into the final quarter.
Fans were on the edge of their seats for the final minutes of the game. Rye’s Teppedino was a big contributor in the fourth quarter, but Byram Hills’ players – Jon Trongone, Willy Samsen, and Ben Leff, just to name a few – also made some crucial plays in the final moments. Mike Kalian, however, stole the show with undoubtedly one of the greatest shots in Byram history. When Byram called a timeout with approximately 40 seconds left in the game they were leading by two points. They retained this lead but knew there was a very good chance a scrappy Rye team could eventually overcome this deficit. With about 20 seconds left on the shot clock, Mike Kalian took a three-point shot which he banked off the glass. Byram fans went absolutely wild. This shot sealed the deal for Byram as they won by a score of 41-34.
When asked to comment about his miraculous shot, Kalian said, “I received the ball back from Jon Trongone and had time to look up at the shot clock to see it turn from four seconds to three seconds. I knew I had time for about one dribble and a shot. I did exactly that and got hit in the air so I wasn’t able to see it go in… however, when I heard how loud the crowd had gotten I knew it went in. I had a great feeling of relief because it wasn’t the best basketball game so to be able to make an important shot like that is special and one I’m going to remember for a while.” Kalian’s shot is one that many Byram fans will remember.
Kalian finished with 11 points. Trongone ended with eight, and Leff ended with 12 points, 15 rebounds, and was also named “LoHud player of the game.” Byram now has a record of 7-3 as they continue to take on team after team.