Boys basketball: A meaningful milestone

Ridgewood coach Gary Anders earns his 500th victory in a thrilling overtime win.

By DAVID MURPHY, Times Staff Writer
Published January 19, 2008

LAND O'LAKES - A coaching milestone is a lot like New Year's Day: a nice opportunity to reflect and take stock, yet, in the grand scheme of things, just another day.

For most of this season, Gary Anders has professed this philosophy. But as the Ridgewood basketball coach stood in the postgame din of the Land O'Lakes High gym and received an honorary game ball from Gators coach Dave Puhalski, his Indiana farm-boy demeanor started to crack.

"It didn't mean that much to me until Dave did what he did," said Anders, who picked up his 500th win with a dramatic 70-66 overtime victory over the Gators. "That still chokes me up."

Even better than the milestone was the matchup between these two Class 5A, District 7 powers. The Rams won the first game this season on a last-second layup. This time, Ridgewood (16-3, 8-0 5A-7) got a floater from Alvin Satram in the lane at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

The shot, which tied the score at 61, capped a frenetic final period. Land O'Lakes (15-5,5-3 5A-7) trailed for 21:13 of the game's first 24 minutes but scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, four of them coming on a succession of free throws after a personal foul on Mike Lawrence and a technical foul on Satram. Kevin Burnell, who led all scorers with 21, hit all four shots, then hit 1-of-2 30 seconds later to give the Gators a 47-45 lead.

With 13.9 seconds left, guard P.J. Potts hit 1-of-2 from line to give the Gators a 61-59 lead. But with 3.5 seconds left, Satram beat his defender off the dribble and floated a shot in at the buzzer.

In overtime, Satram hit two free throws with 28.8 seconds left to give Ridgewood a 68-66 lead. With eight second left, Rams forward Bryan Jones rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Derrick Zio then hit another foul shot to seal the win.

"I knew I had to get (the rebound) for the team," Jones said.

Satram scored 17 and Lukas Poderis had 18 in front of a raucous crowd that was split down the middle by two Pasco County sheriff's deputies.

"This is one of the top wins we've had," Satram said.

Ridgewood 70 Land O'Lakes 66