Trailing by 21 points early in the second half, Granby launched a tremendous comeback, rallying to force overtime and eventually prevailing 83-81 over Weaver in double overtime to capture the Class S boys basketball championship Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Brett Buser drained a three-point shot with two seconds remaining in regulation play to force overtime, then Carlin Champion blocked a Beavers shot in the waning moments of the first extra period.
"It happened so quick, and I knew there was only a couple of seconds left," Champion said. "He was definitely going up with the ball, I went up with him, had no foul and we go to two overtimes."
In the second overtime, the teams exchanged the lead five times, with a pair of free throws by Champion putting the Bears back on top, 82-81. Buser then came up with another gigantic play, this time on the defensive end of the court, by stealing the ball with 28 seconds left. He eventually converted another free throw for a two-point advantage.
Weaver had one last chance to tie or win the game, but the ball bounced off a player's foot out of bounds with three seconds remaining.
"A friend of mine uses the term "Bear grit", and they just found ways and responded to their leadership on the court," Granby head coach Wally Hansen said.
In the opening 16 minutes, it appeared Weaver's miracle run through the tournament would result in an improbable state championship. The Beavers barely qualified for postseason play with an 8-12 record, but upset four higher-ranked teams to reach the finals.
Weaver used an 11-0 run in the first quarter to open up a 23-8 lead. The teams traded points throughout most of the second quarter, but the Beavers scored the last four to take a 38-19 lead at halftime.
Joseph Brown scored just after intermission to give Weaver a 21-point lead, but the Bears began their comeback just past the midway point of the period. Michael Noyes drilled consecutive three-pointers to cut the deficit to 53-38 entering the final eight minutes.
Granby opened he fourth quarter with an 11-0 run of its own to trim Weaver's lead to four. A trey by Noyes with 3:47 left brought the Bears even for the first time in the contest, and prompted Weaver to call timeout.
The Beavers resumed command, opening up five-point leads on three different occasions, the last with 39 seconds left. Buser sank a pair of free throws and Tanner Gibson scored a hoop to cut the margin to one, but Noyes fouled out with nine seconds left. Carlton Randolph sank both free throws to put the Beavers back into a three-point lead, which set the stage for Buser's game-tying heroics.
Buser led Granby with 23 points, while Noyes had 19, including five treys. Gibson had 17 points and Champion contributed 15, including 10 from the foul line.
Chris Burt lead Weaver with 23 points, Ke'Andre Fair had 19 and Brown and Nick Meadows each had 10.
The game was just the second boys final in state history to go into double overtime, and the first since 1989.