Kyle Husband never even considered using a timeout.
The Canisius basketball coach watched his team’s five-point halftime lead disappear Saturday in the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association’s Class A boys championship game against New York City’s Kennedy Catholic at Fordham University.
But Husband didn’t panic.
“These guys have gone through that type of adversity all year,” he said, and “never folded or given in to those situations.”
The same was true Saturday, as the Crusaders rallied for a 65-55 victory and their first Catholic Class A state championship since moving to the classification 12 years ago.
“This is why these guys play,” Husband said. “They work hard all year round for this. We’ve never got over this hump before, so it’s incredibly satisfying.”
Senior guard LaTerrance Reed scored 28 points on just 15 shots, going 6 of 8 from three-point range. Knowing what is a good shot – and when to take it – is something Reed does well.
“That’s one of the hardest things for kids to learn at this age,” Husband said. “He’s obviously figured it out.”
Senior guard Joshua Huffman finished with 15 points, while center TJ Wheatley had seven points and 10 rebounds.
“When we’ve played well this season, we’re gritty, we’re tough and we guard at a really high level,” Husband said. “It was the same thing today.”
Canisius (22-5) handed Kennedy just its second loss of the season. The Crusaders move on to the Federation Tournament of Champions, starting March 27 in Albany.
“As soon as a team makes a run, we make a run,” Husband said. “They gave us their best shot, and we just responded.”
NYSCHSAA Boys Class B Final
Park coach Michael Battaglia took the unusual step of giving star junior Jordan Nwora a rest Saturday.
The strategy wound up paying off in a big way.
Nwora, a 6-foot-6 junior who won the Monsignor Martin’s Class B MVP this season, knocked down a pair of three-pointers with his team trailing by six points in the third quarter, giving the Pioneers a needed momentum boost. It resulted in a 48-43 victory over Regis in the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association Class B championship at Fordham University.
“He looked like he was getting a little tired,” Battaglia said of the decision to rest Nwora. “We were playing full-court, man-to-man pressure defense, which isn’t his specialty.
“They guarded him really tightly, and we had a hard time freeing him up. But after his rest, he hit a couple step-back three-pointers that brought us right back into the game.”
For the game, Nwora finished with a team-high 18 points. Tied, 34-34, after three quarters, the Pioneers led for most of the fourth, icing the game with solid free-throw shooting. Sophomore Hunter Anderson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, going 8 of 9 from the free-throw line, four of which came down the stretch.
Park moves on to the Federation Tournament in Albany.
“How they played is how we thought they would play. Physical, on the floor, block out,” Battaglia said of Regis, from Manhattan. “We matched their intensity. That’s why we won. ... This was special.”
NYSCHSAA Girls Class B final
The Mount St. Mary girls basketball team can add another first to its list of accomplishments this season.
A 42-33 victory Saturday over Good Counsel Academy of White Plains gave the Thunder its first New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association Class B championship, just a week after claiming the school’s first-ever Monsignor Martin championship.
“We gave ourselves another two weeks,” first-year Thunder coach Michael McCarthy said, referring to when the State Federation tournament will be held. “Probably 99 percent of girls, basketball’s not their first sport. I told them I can call their other coaches, but they said, ‘no, we’re here to play basketball. That’s our first sport right now.’ ”
Mount St. Mary (14-12 overall) has won 11 of its past 13 games. The Thunder got a triple-double from senior Julie Fleming, with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals.
“She plays like a girl possessed,” McCarthy said of Fleming. “She created turnovers, and that created a chain reaction. She started diving on the floor, then other girls dove on the floor.”
The Thunder were down by 10 at halftime, but responded to adversity by relying on the one trait that has been a constant all season – relentless defense.
“The bottom line is they came out and played harder than we did in the first half,” McCarthy said. “We settled down at halftime and said, ‘listen, for you seniors, this is the last opportunity, and for everybody else, who knows when we’ll get back here?’ Our defense did it again. It’s completely a trend this season.”
McCarthy’s team started the season by doing almost no shooting drills.
“It was all defensive work. That wins championships,” he said. “We waited for the right time to peak.”
NYSPHSAA Boys Hockey
Williamsville East hockey coach Mike Torrillo said senior captain Dylan Cicero had been “a little snake bitten” heading into Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division II semifinal game against Lake Placid of Section VII.
Cicero picked a good time to break out of his funk. He scored the tying goal in the third period with a little more than 9 minutes to play, then registered the game-winner with 1:13 remaining, giving the Flames a 3-2 win at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
“He’s had a lot of good chances,” Torrillo said, “and he’s just kept with it, and kept working.”
Cicero buried a one-timer in front for the winner off a nice feed from Jack Kelly, with Joe Mostowy picking up the other assist.
For the second straight game, the Flames (23-2-0-1) overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit. After Cicero tied it, Williamsville East had to withstand a Lake Placid power play with about 3 minutes left. Goaltender Max Battistoni, who finished with 28 saves, made a huge one during the penalty kill, sliding across the crease.
Alex Finley opened the scoring for the Flames, who will play Skaneateles (Section III) at 12:30 p.m. Sunday for the NYSPHSAA Division II title.
Clarence relay team sets record
The Clarence 4x800 relay team of Hannah Reinhardt, Katrina Patterson, Natalie Williams and Dana Warner set a Section VI record Saturday, finishing in 9 minutes, 26.91 seconds during the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory in New York City. Clarence finished 19th in the event against the top teams in the country.
“We just ran phenomenal,” Red Devils coach John Hunt said. “It all came together.”