What finish as Bishop Timon-St. Jude provided the latest reminder that any of the top boys basketball teams in the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association can knock off the others on any given day.
It took a pair of buzzer-beaters by the Tigers to pull it off but they hit the biggest shots in a game filled with them to defeat visiting league rival and Buffalo News No. 1 Large School Park, 59-58, in overtime Friday night.
Davion Warren’s layup just before time expired won it for the Tigers, who dropped an earlier contest to the Pioneers at Park by double digits.
Timon forced overtime on a buzzer-beating three from just inside half court by Joe Harrison. Just three seconds earlier, Park’s Daniel Scott seemingly had doomed the Tigers, canning a three-pointer of his own to break a 48-48 tie.
But Timon had a big-time answer.
“He’s one of our playmakers, a senior leader,” Timon coach Des Randall said of Harrison. “We wanted to get the ball in his hands. The play wasn’t exactly as we drew it up ... but he was able to get some space and was able to dribble, get in rhythm, get his feet set and like a big-time player knock down the shot.”
Although the Tigers lost the first meeting, they outscored the Pioneers in the second half by 12 points. That finish planted the seeds for an even stronger one by Randall’s crew.
“I think the second half of the first game we built some confidence and momentum and let us know we could play with them,” he said.
St. Francis ends drought vs. Canisius
Timon and Park are now tied for second in the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association.
The two teams trail St. Francis, which avenged a three-point loss at Canisius earlier this season by taking down the two-time defending champions, 65-51. It’s the first time since the 2005-06 season the Red Raiders have beaten Canisius.
“Obviously Canisius has been the gold standard,” winning coach Brian Ferris said. “To finally get over the hump (against them) is a big accomplishment for our guys. It feels good.”
Frannies (14-4, 7-1), ranked No. 3 among large schools, used a big 22-10 first quarter to seize control as Julian Cunningham scored nine of his 14 points during the opening blitz. Bo Sireika scored a game-high 24 points and made three steals for the Red Raiders. Sean Taggart had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Canisius is ranked fourth in the poll.
Ken West in title hunt
The race for first in the Niagara Frontier League will likely come down to the wire, as four teams all with three losses stand atop the standings.
Kenmore West is one of them as the host Blue Devils handed fellow three-loss team Grand Island a 71-50 defeat.
Tal James’ presence proved to be huge for the winners. After missing the earlier meeting between the teams with an illness, a loss by Ken West, he spearheaded the Devils’ hot-shooting first half. He nailed four of his six three-pointers during Ken West’s 27-11 first quarter. He finished with 22 points, as Ken West shot 8 of 9 from beyond the arc during the opening 16 minutes. Tyler Aquilina added 20 points and hit three treys.
“We came out firing,” Blue Devils coach Mike Meetze said. “That was the difference.”
Ken West has won four straight with wins over two of the co-leaders. Lockport and North Tonawanda also have three league losses.
Eichel wins it for GI girls
Julia Eichel only scored two points, but it was the difference between victory and defeat for Grand Island. Eichel’s basket with 5 seconds left off an Alexa Chiarenza assist lifted the Vikings to a 28-26 win over Kenmore West in Niagara Frontier League girls basketball.
Tapestry pulled away from Buffalo Seminary, 52-41, in a nonleaguer as Nia Caver scored 17 of her game-high 28 points during the second half. She played the final 16 minutes with four fouls en route to posting a triple-double that included 12 rebounds and 10 steals. She has 1,404 career points and ranks as the school’s all-time scoring leader.
-- Niagara Falls High School hosts the Battle at the Border boys basketball showcase between area and Canadian teams beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.
St. Joe’s starts off the four-game event against Notre Dame of Welland (Ont.). Niagara-Wheatfield faces St. Francis (Ont.) at 2:30. Defending state Class AA champion Aquinas of Rochester faces St. Paul (Ont.) at 4. Host Niagara Falls finishes off the event with a 5:30 p.m. tip off against Sir Allen McNab (Ont.).
-- In diving, Williamsville East's Tim Finley (Class A), Olean's Logan Cross (Class B) and Eden's Ben Wilcox (Class) captured diving titles during the Section VI Class Tournament Diving meet at Maryvale High School.