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High School Extra (Dec. 18): St. Joe’s rallies past Niagara Falls

Motley’s crew rallies past Falls

St. Joe’s and Niagara Falls’ nonleague rivalry had been on hiatus for a bit, but the two renewed pleasantries Thursday night and put on quite the entertaining show to close out opening night of the ADPRO Public/Private Schools Challenge.

St. Joe’s outscored Falls 13-2 down the stretch to rally for a 63-62 boys basketball win in a battle between ranked Buffalo News Large Schools.

Nicholas Motley scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, including four in the final 20 seconds to help the 10th-ranked Marauders stun the News’ No. 4 team. Motley sank two free throws with 20 seconds left to tie the game at 61-61. Falls held the ball trying for the final shot at the horn, but Motley made a steal and scored with 4.1 seconds left to give St. Joe’s the lead.

A foul at the buzzer on a Falls two-point shot attempt gave the Wolverines hope for a tie, except the player went 1 for 2 – missing the first foul shot.

Both teams are now 2-3 as they met for the first time since Feb, 23, 2011. St. Joe’s won that meeting by a point, too.

“It was a great comeback victory for us after we went to Long Island,” last weekend, “and got manhandled,” Marauders coach Mark Simon said. “Our kids stepped up. I think we grew as a team and the final score indicated that against a very good Niagara Falls team.”

Motley, who sat most of the first half with foul trouble, finished with six assists, while Naseer Jackson added 17 points and five steals.

JoJo rises to the occasion for Kats

Joseph “JoJo” Stanton has played for Middle Early College coach Randall Rich for four seasons, but the senior had perhaps one of his finest all-around games in helping the Kats earn a big-time Yale Cup I win at East, 69-68.

After Moses Hughes drained a long three-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game at 68, Stanton – heeding his coach’s instructions from a timeout prior to the Panthers’ basket – took the inbounds and immediately pushed up the floor to catch East players off guard. He drew a foul going to the basket with one second left, made the first free throw and then missed the second on purpose, grabbing the rebound to seal the triumph. Stanton also pin blocked a layup try 30 seconds earlier. “That’s the best defensive play he’s made for me in four years,” Rich said.

Rich also lauded Stanton and the rest of the guards for their unselfish play throughout as they did a great job feeding 6-foot-5 star Fred Foster, who went off for 20 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists.

O’Hara routs Sacred Heart

It goes down as a nonleague game in the books, but Cardinal O’Hara’s 63-46 win over league rival and host Sacred Heart sends a message to the Sharks and the rest of the Monsignor Martin Association. The Hawks are still the girls basketball team to beat in the league.

O’Hara’s pressure defense proved to be too much for Sacred Heart as the Hawks forced 21 steals with first team All-Western New York returnee Anndea Zeigler making eight of them to go along with a team-high 17 points. Nickelle O’Neal made eight steals. Summer Hemphill finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and four steals for the unbeaten Hawks (7-0), who also own wins over Williamsville South, East Aurora, Jamestown and Rochester’s Bishop Kearney.

North gets the better of St. Joe’s

The Williamsville North-St. Joe’s hockey rivalry had been slightly tilted in St. Joe’s (5-2) favor in recent years, but the Spartans got the better of their nemesis for the first time in three years before a crowd of more than 1.800 at Northtown Center. Jarred Cummings’ goal with just over 10 minutes left proved to be the game winner as North edged St. Joe’s, 2-1.

Goalie Jake Zurat made 25 saves for the winners, who also received a goal from Nick Tracy as the Spartans improved to 2-3 by winning their second in a row.