Brothers rally for epic win over Henninger

From Dave Bing to Louis Orr to two generations of high-school heroes, the court at Manley Field House had seen a fair share of outstanding individual performances.

And on the last day where basketball would be played at this Central New York sports landmark, Christian Brothers Academy's Stefan Thompson gave the building one more jaw-dropping performance.

In order for the Brothers to win its first Section III title since 2003, Thompson had to score 40 points, 21 of them in a blistering fourth-quarter display, to bring CBA back from a double-digit deficit in the Class AA final against Henninger.

As if that wasn't enough, Thompson led another stirring comeback in overtime, climaxed by a long pass that set up the winning basket as the Brothers beat the Black Knights 76-75 in a game as memorable as any Manley has seen in its 47-year history.

Though tired from all the amazing things he had done on this day, Thompson still had time for one more moment of glory after Henninger's James Bardenett missed two key free throws with 10.1 seconds left.

Grabbing the rebound, Thompson went down the court, surrounded by Henninger defenders. He was unable to get too far as the seconds ticked away -- but all of a sudden, he saw CBA forward Greg Thomson open underneath the Black Knights' basket.

Stefan threw deep -- and Greg caught the long pass, hit the lay-up with 2.2 seconds left, and the Brothers had an improbable championship.

Beating Henninger, in itself, wasn't a shock, because CBA had done it twice in the regular season -- one time on Dec. 10, then again on Feb. 4. In both wins, Thompson was sensational, outplaying the Black Knights' highly-touted point guard, Kihary Blue.

Now came the third and most important encounter. Henninger, the defending AA champs, had avenged two regular-season losses to beat Utica Proctor in the '08 finals, and for much of this game, it looked like the pattern would repeat itself.

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