ONEONTA — For old-school NCAA tournament fans, it might have conjured up memories of Danny Ainge’s court-long dash for BYU in 1978 or UCLA’s Tyus Edney’s coast-to-coast heroics in 1995.
But even if you had nothing to compare it to, Oneonta High sophomore Albert Odero’s buzzer-beating layup had to be one of those hands-on-head moments for those who witnessed it.
Odero received an inbounds pass from Mike Wolstenholme near the right sideline and then covered 70 or so feet of hardwood in 5.3 seconds to lift the second-seeded Yellowjackets to a 54-52 Section Four Class B quarterfinal victory over No. 7 Waverly on Tuesday.
Odero’s soaring right-handed finish over Garrett Sutryk came as the final horn sounded.
“I was just like, ‘Go to the rim. Go to the rim,’” Odero said of a play that punctuated his game-high 22-point night. “It was amazing. I’m just glad we were able to keep our season alive, keep going strong and see if we can get to the (Broome County) Arena.”
This was no gimme for the Yellowjackets, not with standout junior guard Jordan Gutierrez and his 24-point scoring average absent from OHS’ lineup.
Gutierrez, a junior, was in Anthony C. Drago Gymnasium on Tuesday, but he was not in uniform. Oneonta coach Jerry Mackey said Gutierrez was not sick and that he hasn’t been disciplined by the school. Mackey said the reason Gutierrez didn’t play was a coach’s decision.
“Obviously, when you lose a 24-point-a-night scorer, there’s no way offensively you’re as good,” Mackey said. “We like to think the athletic program at the school in all sports has a bigger purpose than just putting the ball in the basket.”
Mackey added that Gutierrez’s status is unlikely to change when his 16-2 squad plays host to third-seeded Susquehanna Valley in a sectional semifinal Friday.