Nobody knows for sure when Cardinal O'Hara last defeated Canisius before Wednesday night. Veteran observers of the Hawks, including retired athletic director Angelo Sciandra, believe it was 1994.
"Our senior leadership came through," said O'Hara coach Tony Pulvirenti after the Hawks defeated the visiting Crusaders, 70-65, before a standing room crowd at O'Hara closing it out with a four-point run in the final minute.
Senior Haakim Siner made two clutch free throws and Avion Harris had a steal and assist on a basket by senior Jermaine Haynes Jr., to finish off the Crusaders, who have dominated O'Hara over the last 24 years.
Senior Justin Hemphill had 16 points, Harris and Siner 14 each and Haynes 13 for the Hawks but Pulvirenti gave big assists to Yehshua Lee and Joe Turri off the bench for coming through when Siner picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and sat out most of that period and Hemphill picked up three.
Canisius led 17-11 after the opening quarter but O'Hara took charge in the second for a 35-33 halftime lead. The Hawks led by as many as eight in the third but Canisius closed to 52-51 going into the final quarter.
Dwayne Vass had 18 to lead Canisius.
Canisius is ranked No. 2 among large schools and O'Hara No. 2 among small schools in this week's Buffalo News Boys Basketball Polls.
WS West breaks out with win over Orchard Park
There are no ECIC I boys basketball teams without a loss in division play now. West Seneca West took care of that Wednesday night, breaking out of the Juston Johnson controversty for a 68-50 win over visiting Orchard Park.
The ineligibility of Johnson, the Indians' best player was confirmed this week, leaving coach Des Randall and his players no choice but to move on.
"We were able to put everything behind us, look forward and refocus," Randall said after his team picked up its first win of the season and evened its ECIC I record at 1-1.
"We had go develop a new identity, had to reconstruct ourselves without our best player," Randall said.
Adrian Baugh led West with 24 points and 11 rebounds. and Nate Ryniec, whose role increased with Johnson out, had 17 points. Maurice Robertson had a triple double for West with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Haskell goes over 2,000-point mark
Danielle Haskell of Franklinville scored 35 points in a 66-42 nonleague victory at Randolph Wednesday night and on the way passed the 2,000-point career plateau.
After a 17-first half, Haskell needed 16 points to get to 2,000 and she got it late in the fourth quarter.
Olivia Smith sets Dunkirk record for 3s
Olivia Smith scored 31 points including a Dunkirk record 10 3-point baskets and Nadara Odell matched 31 points in a 97-21 nonleague win over Tapestry. It was the sixth win without a loss for Dunkirk.