NEW CANAAN -- Late in the fourth quarter, the Greenwich boys basketball team heard the news that Staples lost at the buzzer to Danbury and that its thin playoff hopes were still alive if they defeated New Canaan.
At that point the Cardinals and Rams were tied with less than two minutes to play and Head Coach Bill Brehm used the Staples' result as motivation for his team during a timeout.
The Cardinals responded, beating the Rams 47-43 in overtime and in the process keeping their foot wedged in the door leading to the FCIAC tournament.
New Canaan, which needed to win twice this week to make states, had chances, taking the lead in overtime before back-to-back steals and layups by Greenwich gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
It is never pretty when these teams lock up but Brehm was happy to get out of New Canaan with a win, even if it was ugly, at times.
"It is always tough to play on the road and when you need a win," Brehm said. "Coach Evans does a great job at New Canaan and they have some big boys and their big guy (Zach Allen) kept them in the game."
Allen finished with 13 -- 8 in the second half -- to lead the Rams as he battled Greenwich big man Alex Wolf all night.
Wolf led all scorers with 17 with Jimmy Djema adding 11 for the Cardinals, including a big 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 37-36 with 1:24 left in regulation, Djema received a pass in the corner and drained the 3 to put Greenwich up 39-37.
The Rams tied it with 34 seconds left on a hook by Allen and the Cardinals missed a runner as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
New Canaan coach Mike Evans was pleased with the effort of his team but felt they gave the game away in overtime.
"I was very proud of them," Evans said. "We faced a lot of adversity but we executed when we needed to and got buckets when we needed them. We just had two bad plays in a row."
The "two bad plays" came with New Canaan leading 43-41 in overtime when first Jon Palmer and then Alex McMurray stole the ball near midcourt and raced in for layups to put the Cardinals up 45-43, seemingly breaking the spirit of the Rams in the process.
McMurray hit two free throws to put the game on ice, leaving the Cardinals to watch the scoreboard, needing Trinity to beat Bassick to keep them in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Greenwich will then need to beat Danbury and have Bassick to beat Staples Wednesday to get in.
Notes: Late in the fourth quarter a New Canaan parent ran out of the bleachers to argue with an official and was ejected from the gym, being led out by police.
New Canaan 43 (OT)
GREENWICH (10-9, 9-8 FCIAC)
CJ Byrd 2 5-6 9; Jon Palmer 1 0-0 2; Alex McMurray 1 2-2 4; Jimmy Djema 5 0-1 11; Alex Wolf 8 1-2 17; Dan Guise 0 2-3 2; Jake Tennenbaum 0 0-2 0; Sam Latto 0 0-0 0; Leonel Hyatt 1 0-0 2; Thomas Baietto 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 10-16 47
NEW CANAAN (6-13, 6-11)
Paul Hagopian 0 0-0 0; Erik Jager 3 0-0 8; Zach Allen 6 1-3 13; Beau Santero 4 0-0 8; Andrew Read 3 3-4 10; Henry Lavieri 1 1-2 4; Chris Dewaele 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 5-9 43
GREENWICH 11 12 9 7 8 -- 47
NEW CANAAN 11 7 10 11 4 -- 43
3-pointers: G -- Djema; NC Jager 2, Read, Lavieri