On a special night for Canisius, Nichols put on a show.
The Vikings grabbed the Monsignor Martin regular-season championship in emphatic fashion, beating the Crusaders, 68-38, on Friday night in the final regular-season game to be played in Canisius' auditorium.
Nichols responded to its only Monsignor Martin loss of the season -- Wednesday's 92-90 overtime loss at home to St. Joe's -- by jumping to a 16-7 lead after one quarter and a stunning, 36-15 lead at halftime.
Will Regan, who is being recruited by several Division I programs, had a triple-double with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Regan scored 20 of his 32 points before halftime while fellow standout junior Ron Canestro scored 12 of his 17 before the break.
Regan began the third quarter with a traditional three-point play as Nichols never let its lead dip under 20. A three-point play by Canestro in the fourth quarter pushed the lead to 62-31; the lead would get as high as 35.
The Vikings (22-2), ranked second in The News large school poll, finished 13-1 to claim the top seed for the league's Manhattan Cup playoffs.
No. 8 large school Canisius, whose top scorer Friday was Max Miholland with seven, finished 15-10 and 10-3 and will be the second seed.
The Manhattan Cup playoffs begin with four quarterfinals Monday at the higher seeds.
The hosts did finish the night on a positive note as a large group of alumni gathered on the court with this year's varsity team as class of 1947 graduate R.C. "Sharkey" Diebold sank the "final shot" on the court. A cheer went up as Diebold, whose junior team was the first to use the auditorium court at the Delaware Avenue school, knocked it down on the first try.
Elsewhere in the Monsignor Martin Association:
St. Joe's, coming off one of the biggest upsets of the season, fell to Timon-St. Jude, 60-44.
The momentum of the Nichols upset did not carry over for the Marauders. The Tigers built a 33-22 halftime lead on their way to the win.
Justin Mitchell had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Timon (12-12, 7-7). Matt Dyrek had 15 for St. Joe's (12-12, 7-7).
Depew edged rival Lancaster in a double-overtime thriller before a packed house at Depew. Wildcats coach Larry Jones called it "the best entertainment in Western New York for a buck."
Kenny Nowak hit a three-pointer with five seconds left in the second OT to win it. Was it the shot Depew was looking for?
"Absolutely not," said Jones. "We were trying to get the ball down low into [Zach] Zmich. He set a screen and went from the elbow up to the top of the key, we reversed the ball to him and he took it. It came to him and he wasn't afraid to take it."
Depew forced the first OT when Brian Schork, who is filling in for the ill Tyler Stevens, hit a 12-foot baseline jumper with three seconds left.
The game went into overtime after Depew missed an attempt to win it in the final seconds.
Depew played most of the game from behind. With Anthony Battaglia and Dan Strebel picking up two quick fouls, Rick Coburn gave his team a spark scoring 11 of his 19 points in the second quarter.
Depew trailed by eight at halftime (36-28) before the momentum started to shift after they took a 51-50 lead.
Lancaster was carried by Joe Lucarelli (27 points) and Matt Speyer (22), who scored 13 in the fourth quarter and overtimes.
Frontier can only hope Jason Norsen plays as well in the upcoming Section VI playoffs as he did during the regular season. The 6-foot-6 forward scored 23 points to surpass 1,000 in his career in a 74-30 win over cross-town rival Hamburg. Norsen, who rests at 1,017 points, also had 13 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season. Frontier improves to 13-7, 9-5.
Kevin Whitehead scored 23 points as Kenmore East defeated Clarence, 51-47.
Junior standout Levi Pace netted 29 points and had 15 rebounds as No. 6 small school Medina improved to 16-4 with a 64-48 win at Amherst.
No. 9 large school McKinley (16-4, 11-2) finished in a tie for second place in the Yale Cup with Grover Cleveland after downing Lafayette, 83-63. Kevin Chillis had 29 points, eight steals and six assists to lead McKinley. Lafayette falls to 7-6 with the loss.
Jamie Quigley scored 18 points, including five three-pointers, as Maryvale (13-7) rolled past JFK, 64-37.