The great basketball continues in the Monsignor Martin Association, and the great victories continue for St. Joe's.
No. 4 large school Bishop Timon-St. Jude came to St. Joe's Monday night fresh off a major victory over Section V power Bishop Kearney last Friday. St. Joe's was coming off its own tremendous home win Friday over rival Canisius, which vaulted it to the unanimous No. 1 spot in The News large school poll.
Put together two teams playing that well and what do you get? Overtime. Senior Reggie Agbeko had 22 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks as the Marauders (16-2, 6-0) held off Timon-St. Jude, 57-54.
"Our guys persevered when I thought maybe we were going to maybe have a letdown at some point in the second half but we didn't, we fought back and it was a good win," said St. Joe's coach Mark Simon, whose team also defeated Section V power Aquinas at home on Jan. 21. "At this point they believe that they can get it done with anybody and it's been proven. They've been very resilient."
"That's a great sign of a good team," said the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Agbeko, who fought double-teams throughout the night and was very effective putting the ball on the floor. "Trying to fight through adversity, playing hard when things are not going well, trusting each other. In the middle of the game, there were problems and we were starting to argue, but we came together and decided, 'Let's just play the game.' "
Timon senior DeMilo Gibbs had 17 points and 11 rebounds and was very effective scoring against Agbeko with some polished post moves. Senior Jordan Williams also had 17 points, including three three-pointers for Timon (12-5, 3-2). Senior sharpshooter Kyle Kobis struggled from the field but had several nice assists and setups, including many to Gibbs in the post.
A tight game throughout saw Timon take a 48-42 lead with about four minutes left thanks to a Gibbs basket off a Williams inbounds pass out of a timeout.
Jordan Glover helped force a steal, and he tracked down a loose ball in the right corner in the Timon end, stopped and hit a three-pointer to cut the lead in half. A Kyle Briggs drive and a free throw by Agbeko made it a 48-48 game. In the final minute, the teams exchanged baskets from key players in the fashion they were getting them all night. After Gibbs scored in the post against Agbeko, Agbeko dribble-drove down the lane and scored to make it 50-50.
In the extra session, Agbeko hit two free throws to put St. Joe's up, 52-50, then he came up with a blocked shot that the Timon crowd wanted a goaltending call on. St. Joe's sped the other way with junior Louis Oliveri (17 points) finishing the fast break for a 54-50 lead. Timon had chances to tie the game several times but Kobis missed a three, Gibbs missed a shot in close and, after Agbeko hit the first but not the second free throw, Kobis had a three-pointer from the left side go off the rim in the final seconds.
Prior to the game, St. Joe's athletic director Pete Schneider read a tribute to Jim Palano, Timon's retiring AD, basketball and baseball coach. After a standing ovation from the full gym at St. Joe's, Simon and St. Joe's baseball coach Paul Nasca presented Palano with a new golf bag.