Dramatic finale sees Gryffe High snatch victory from jaws of defeat

BASKETBALL: With just 27 seconds left on the clock, Troon’s Marr College led 68-67 after a spirited fightback in the final of the Boys’ Open Scottish Schools Cup final at Grangemouth.

However, Mark Armstrong, one of only two third-year pupils in the senior team, scored a superb long-range basket to snatch a dramatic 69-68 victory for Gryffe High School.

“I really didn’t think it was going to go in,” said Armstrong, the toast of the Renfrewshire side coached by head of physical education, Gerry O’Hare. “I was so pleased that it did.”

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Armstrong was one of the half dozen Gryffe boys that play for the St Mirren club, and the list included the influential captain, Scott Rooney.

Rooney hadn’t played for two weeks due to an ankle injury but, with the help of intense physiotherapy and some heavy strapping, his presence was a huge factor.

Gryffe led until the final two minutes of the final. “But they suddenly got us on the back foot,” said Rooney. “It was really close and I’m pleased I got to play in my final school match. I was determined not to miss it.”

With five A grade Highers to his name, Rooney hopes to study physiotherapy – but he is also going to further his basketball education. He is going to America in the autumn to spend a year on a sports scholarship at a school in Michigan.

The Open boys’ final was the highlight of two days of Scottish Schools’ Cup finals.

In the girls’ finals at The Peak in Stirling, Arbroath High School, with victories over Portobello High School, won both the senior 1 and under-14 titles. Falkirk High School beat Grove Academy for the under-15 trophy and Park Mains School denied Gryffe High School a great double by taking the Open category.

Sam Stott, the son of Radio Forth DJ, Grant Stott, skippered James Gillespie’s High School to a narrow victory in the boys’ under-15 Cup.

North Berwick High School staged a late rally, however the Edinburgh side ran out 50-44 winners.

In the boys’ senior 1, Millburn Academy came out on top, while Stewarton Academy, runners-up in senior one, defeated Queen Anne High School in the under-14 final.