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Kennedy Catholic's Mike Ennis stepped out of character in Saturday's game against Mahopac.
And it made all the difference.
Ennis, who is more of a role player, took over in the fourth quarter of Kennedy's thrilling 65-61 win at the fifth annual Putnam Challenge at Brewster High School.
The senior guard scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a deep 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in regulation to stretch Kennedy's lead to 63-58.
"I'm not usually like that," said Ennis, who knocked down three 3s on the game and earned MVP honors. "I wouldn't be the one taking that shot. But I was feeling it and I hit a 3 earlier, so I thought, 'Why not?'"
Ennis, who scored eight points inside the final two minutes of regulation, saved the Gaels' bacon after top frontline players Thiago Randazzo (12 points) and Jordan Hardy (12 points) fouled out in the fourth quarter.
"We couldn't give up," Ennis said. "Thiago and Jordan are huge and they played huge today. There were some questionable calls, so we had to step up."
In the absence of Randazzo and Hardy, Kennedy leaned on the undersized duo of Mike Arini (10 points) and Jack Casey to clean up inside.
"Having (Randazzo and Hardy) out of the game and me and Jack playing big was a great thing," Arini said. "We are both skinny, so we had to block out."
Versatile star Brendan Hynes led Mahopac with a game-high 23 points, helping the Indians overcome a 20-6 first-quarter deficit. Teammate Zack Ankier chipped in with 21.
Hynes, who was held in check for much of the first half, exploded for 16 second-half points. He drilled a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give Mahopac a 48-47 lead — its first since scoring the opening bucket of the game.
But Ennis had the last laugh, transforming into Reggie Miller in crunch time to seal it.
"The whole week (Mahopac) was talking about how their guards were better than our guards," Ennis said. "But I don't think they were as fast or quick as ours."
Moving forward, it's safe to say no one will ever underestimate Mike Ennis again.
Kennedy Catholic 20 16 11 18 65
Mahopac 6 21 18 16 61
Follow Isaac Cass on Twitter @MSGV_Icass