For a moment, it seemed as if St. Joe's and Lackawanna were destined to play a classic boys' basketball game that would be decided later rather than sooner.
But the Marauders (9-1) quickly turned a potential close contest into a monumental mismatch and handed Lackawanna (5-2) its first losing streak in more than three years.
Domonic Cook had an almost flawless shooting night in scoring a game-high 20 points, while senior classmate John Greer made the hustle plays during a late second-quarter run that enabled St. Joe's to break away from the visiting Steelers, 72-47, before about 500 fans.
In a game between two of the top programs in Western New York, Greer's three-pointer with 2:31 left in the second quarter broke a 17-17 tie, and 19 seconds later he increased the Marauders' lead to five when he put back his own miss after making a steal at halfcourt.
He and Cook also combined for all of the points during an 11-4 third-quarter opening run that allowed The Buffalo News' No. 1 large school to extend its 10-point halftime lead to 40-23 in just under four minutes. Greer finished with 14 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals.
"He's 6-foot-2, but he plays a lot bigger," St. Joe's coach Mark Simon said of Greer. "He's given us our toughness every night."
The Steelers, ranked second among small schools, struggled to find their shooting stroke but forged the final tie of the game after Frank Rozwood's two free throws completed a 7-0 run.
Then Greer and Cook took over to hand Lackawanna consecutive defeats for the first time since December 2003. Cook (seven assists, four steals) made 9 of 11 shots, including 6 for 6 in the second half.
"You're talking about probably two of the top five players in the area on one team," said Steelers coach Tim Foley of Cook and Greer. "They're just really talented."
Marcus Rivers led Lackawanna with 14 points.