Aquinas coach Michael Grosodonia said Thursday afternoon that the Little Irish did not ask tournament officials at the Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ontario, New York International Basketball Showcase in Erie, Pa., for a win via forfeit. He said tournament director Michael Anderson made that call all on his own in a phone interview with The News.
"I don't want people to go out there and say we forced this forfeit to happen," said Grosodonia, who guided the Little Irish to the state Class AA semifinals last season and has a good chance at perhaps making another run to Glens Falls later this season. "I think everybody knows the reputation of Aquinas. We're trying to play the best teams. For us to say we want a forfeit win isn't really what we're all about here."
Once again let's reset what has been said regarding the situation.
After both Park and Aquinas won their showcase semifinal games Saturday night, concerns over a potentially nasty snow storm hitting the Erie, Pa., area, with anywhere from 5 inches to more than a foot and white out conditions in the forecast for late Sunday, prompted Pioneers coach Mike Battaglia to attempt to contact his Aquinas counterpart to discuss the situation.
Aside from a couple short emails, neither coach spoke with the other before a Park official on the trip, according to Battaglia, made the call late Sunday morning for the team to return home.
According to Anderson and Grosodonia, Park made the decision1 to leave without officially discussing the situation with tournament and Aquinas officials. Anderson told the News Wednesday only he had the power to make the call to scrap the game.
While Grosodonia said he understood Park's decision, he said Aquinas was willing to stay and play because both teams were already in Erie. He also said Anderson was willing to pay for hotel rooms for the teams should they deem after the game the weather made it unsafe to return home that night.
"At the end of the day both Park and I had difficult decisions,"Grosodonia said. "They chose one way. We chose another. The tournament director basically made a decision on his own. It's unfortunate it went down like this."
In regards to the Tweet from the Aquinas boys basketball Twitter account, stating Park suffers first loss, Grosodonia said the account is not run by school officials. It's run by a team statistician, who he apparently discussed the situation with Wednesday since the Tweet reflected bad on the basketball program.
"I already had a conversation with him about social media," the coach said.
Aquinas' main goal remains to use tough nonleague games as a way to best prepare for the postseason. It has one on the docket for 6 p.m. Feb. 8. It's against Park at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester.
"It should be an exciting game for both teams," Grosodonia said.
As of now, Park (12-0) remains unbeaten in the eyes of the Monsignor Martin Association, according to league rep and St. Joe's coach Mark Simon.