John Buser wanted to make a point to his son, Brett, about a basketball game, and he ended up with one of those intensely personal moments that help carve a young man's future.
It was in the days and hours leading into Granby's state title game when Buser looked his boy in the eyes and said, "You win this game, it's the rest of your life. You win this game, rest of your life you can hang out with these kids on this date every year and talk about it forever.
"Or it's just another game."
This would not be just another game.
For anyone who gathered Saturday morning for the Class S championship, the first game in a day of basketball that would stretch past 10 p.m., this game will be remembered as much more. For Brett Buser and Mike Noyes, for coach Wally Hansen and Granby, well, John Buser was right. The Bears, who erased a 21-point second-half deficit to pull out a heart-pounding 83-81 double-overtime victory over Weaver, will talk about this one forever.
"A great game," Noyes said, "a truly great game."
Granby had fallen behind 51-31 with 2:44 left in the third quarter when Noyes hit the first of four threes during a 24-4 run. He would tie the game at 55 with the last of those threes with 3:49 left in the regulation. From there, the game, only the second double OT in boys state championship history, would take on epic highs and lows.
Buser eventually would hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation. With Noyes [19 points] and Tanner Gibson  fouled out, Buser would essentially take over the game in overtime. Controlling the ball, driving to the hoop, hitting floaters, he wasn't finished until he stole the ball with 28 seconds left in the second overtime and hit a final free throw.
"Brett loves the spotlight," Hansen said. "He's a championship-style player."
"That was so much fun," said Brett, who led Granby with 23 points. "It was just crazy."
Yes, this is the story of an incredible state championship game. Yet it also is the story of how a basketball team in a small town accepted a New York kid into the fold for his last year of high school. It is a story that doesn't have to work out. Sometimes pettiness can take over. Sometimes jealousies can make young players and their parents act less than generous of spirit. Noyes and Carlin Champion [15 points, eight rebounds] deserve highs marks.
"Carlin and me are captains this year and we try to include everyone," Noyes said. "We had fun this year, a great team right off the bat. He was welcomed. He played fall ball with us. We played at the Y with him. So we were used to playing with him going into the season. The chemistry was there."
This isn't the easiest thing in the world for a young guy transferring from the big city, either. Buser had played three years at St. Francis Prep in Queens. He didn't play much. He's a gym rat, the kid who's not going home until you turn off the lights and chase him out. He needed to play.
"We just didn't think that would happen at St. Francis Prep," John Buser said. "His coach and him didn't see eye to eye."
John had brought Brett to clinics in New York when he was too young to compete. He was only 3, but he swears he dribbled the ball better than kids who were 8 and 9. The bottom line is Dawn Antonuzzo and John Buser may be divorced, but they've kept their son's best interests in heart. They made the call for him to live with Dawn in Granby.
"He was playing AAU," Antonuzzo said. "He brought his CYO team to a [Brooklyn-Queens] diocesan championship [with St. Pancras]. For some reason, his high school wasn't playing him.
"It's a tough transition for someone his age to transfer. But we pulled him out and brought him into Granby, and it was probably the best decision we ever made."
Hansen knew by June that Buser would transfer.
"What I didn't know was what he was about and how good he was," Hansen said. "I saw him for like 30 seconds and I'm thinking this kid can play."
He played summer AAU in Connecticut. He spent time with his future teammates.
"I hadn't wanted to move at first; I was a little nervous," Buser said. "My mom said it would be better for me. I had faith in her. I played with the guys over the summer, and it was a great experience. Basketball has gotten me way more friends at Granby."
You really have to see the three at work. They ooze Queens. It's classic.
"They're great," Noyes said. "Their family is so intense. I'm so glad Brett came."
"Everybody embraced the situation," Hansen said, "And this is what happens when you embrace it and play team basketball."
What happened Saturday was fairly extraordinary. Weaver forced Granby into 15 first-half turnovers. The Beavers were too fast, applied too much pressure. Freshman Ke'Andre Fair, who is going to play important college ball some day, was putting his imprint on this one. Down 23-8 after one quarter and 15 at halftime, Granby looked like it was totally outclassed.
"Coach gave us a very motivational speech how this is the last game the seniors will ever play for Granby," Buser said.
"There were some heads down," Hansen said. "I told them, 'Let's play the best 16 minutes of our life and see what happens.'"
"I'll be honest, down 19 at halftime, we were nervous," Noyes said. "But we picked each other up, and that starts with defense. Our heart was there. Suddenly, we couldn't miss a shot."
Noyes started hitting three after three. Each one, Hansen said, was big as big can be. And then he fouled out with nine seconds to go. Carlton Randolph made both his free throws. Weaver was up 58-55. The Beavers chose not to foul. Buser raced up court. He split the defense.
"I just said, 'Give me the ball,''' Buser said. "I wanted to get up the court as fast as possible. I thought they were going to foul, so I wanted to get it off.
"When [Noyes and Gibson] fouled out, going through my mind was I have to take over now. It's Champ's and my game."
Floater after floater, big play after big play, Buser played with the confidence of, yes, a New York guard. Over on the sideline, Noyes refused to sit down at the end of the bench. He was yelling, stretching like a contortionist. "I was cheering as hard as I could," Noyes said. "I wanted to be out there so bad."
On the court, Buser pushed himself to exhaustion. And then he stole the ball in double overtime. "I just held onto it with my life," He said.
Suddenly it was over. Jubilation. The Granby fans chanted Brett Buser's name. He was overwhelmed. So were his dad and mom.
"People were coming over to me in the stands crying," John Buser said. "It's unbelievable. It's like a movie script. It's one of the best days our life."
It's a day Brett Buser and the Granby Bears will talk about for the rest of their lives.