St. Joe's memorable season will continue in the arena where it boldly announced it would be a player for a state title.
The Marauders, the News' No. 1 Large School, advanced to next Saturday's New York State Catholic Class A championship game in the Gallagher Center at Niagara University by beating Long Island's St. John the Baptist, 76-69, in double overtime in Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville.
St. Joe's forced overtime when John Greer canned a three-pointer with three seconds left that tied the game at 63. It forced another OT when Mike Wopperer drained a 15-footer with 17 seconds left to tie it at 67. St. Joe's Matt Mihalich then blocked a game-winning shot attempt.
Greer (10 rebounds, four assists) took over in the second overtime, scoring seven of his 15 points. Greer's traditional three-point play broke a 69-69 tie and gave the Marauders the lead for good.
St. Joe's will play New York City's Mount St. Michael's for the title Saturday in Niagara University's Gallagher Center, the same venue where the Marauders (26-1) beat former News No. 1 Niagara Falls, 62-61, on Jan. 3. Falls is the only team to beat St. Joe's.
Niagara Catholic (19-11) lost in the state Catholic Class D title game, 53-42, to Long Island's Our Lady of Mercy Academy. OLMA (19-9), a school the size of Sacred Heart, used a 22-14 third quarter to break a 19-19 tie. Jen Hare led Catholic with 15 points and 10 boards.
Ryan Geary had two goals and an assist as Williamsville North advanced to the State Division I final for the fifth time in six years with a 4-1 win over X-Canton. The Spartans (24-3) play V-Aquinas at 3:30 p.m. today in Utica for the title. . . . Alex Durinka and Anthony Clair scored for Williamsville East (16-6-5) in a 3-2 Division II semifinal loss to IX-Monroe-Woodbury.