JFK's Clemente delivers, sends Devils to defeat
Ted Gozur filled in for coach John Condoleon and got his first varsity win.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HUBBARD -- Most coaches get a few months to prepare for their first varsity game. Warren John F. Kennedy High boys basketball assistant Ted Gozur got a few hours.
Gozur found out just before Monday's practice that head coach John Condoleon would miss practice -- and Tuesday's game -- because of a family emergency.
Which meant that Gozur -- JFK's junior varsity coach the past two seasons -- would make his head-coaching debut in the biggest game of Kennedy's season.
"Of course," he said. "I was more nervous for the kids. This is John's team and I'd hate to be the one that knocks us off."
He wasn't -- and neither was Campbell.
Clemente hits winner
Kennedy senior Colin Clemente hit a game-winning jumper with 2.1 seconds left to lift the Eagles to a 61-59 victory over the Red Devils, in a Division III district semifinal at Hubbard High School.
JFK will play top-seeded LaBrae at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the district championship. LaBrae beat Mineral Ridge 72-55 in Tuesday's second game.
"John listened to the game, so he was right there with us," Gozur said. "He gave me all the confidence in the world. He believed in us and in the kids.
"We came ready to play and ready to win for him."
Campbell trailed by 10 after three quarters, but used a 10-2 run midway through the fourth to get within three, 55-52, with 2:30 left.
The Red Devils tied the score at 57 with 1:15 left on a 3-pointer by Chris Melnik, but Jimmy Kokrak and Marc Rossi each hit a free throw to give the Eagles a 59-57 lead with 23.9 left.
Drives length of floor
Rick Quinn answered with a driving layup to tie the score with 12 seconds left, but Clemente drove the length of the floor, spotted up just outside the foul line, and hit the game-winner.
Melnik wasn't able to get a shot off before the buzzer.
"We were looking to get a stop, but if we didn't, I told Colin to get the ball and be the hero tonight," Gozur said. "We wanted him to have the ball."
When was the last time Clemente hit a game-winner?
"It's been a while," he said. "I don't know if I've ever done it in high school. It feels good."
Clemente finished with 10 points and four assists for Kennedy (12-9), which wasn't even seeded entering the tournament.
"They've got a great team," said Campbell coach Brian Danilov. "We were the only team that voted for them to get a seed. I don't know why nobody else saw their talent."
Rossi added 21 points -- including four 3-pointers -- and John DiFiore had 10 points and nine rebounds for JFK, which never trailed.
"I actually talked to Coach [Condoleon] before the game," said Clemente. "We kinda wanted to do this for him because he's done so much for us."
Teyon Harris had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Campbell (14-8), while Melnik added 12 points.
"That was a great high school game," Danilov said. "[JFK] has a good team. If they don't beat themselves, they're going to be hard to beat."