Following his team’s wild triple overtime triumph, Canisius boys basketball coach Kyle Husband said you never know what’s going to happen during a game.
While he’s referring to the events in his team’s Manhattan Cup Class A semifinal against St. Francis, those words also could have easily applied to the other semi between Park School and St. Joe’s.
Park and Canisius spent good parts of their respective games playing catch-up before working overtime to punch their tickets to Tuesday’s Manhattan Cup final.
The Pioneers never led during the first 32 minutes of their meeting with underdog St. Joe’s. Overtime was a different story as it was Park all the time, as the News’ No. 1-ranked large school and reigning state Federation Class A champion survived to play another game by giving the Marauders the slip, 62-55.
Keonjay Carter scored half of his 12 points in overtime, while sophomore classmate Caleb Hutchins hit Park’s only three-pointer for the game during extra period. Seniors Noah Hutchins (24 points) and Quentin Nnagbo combined for 42 points to lead Park (22-2).
“We really had to and did step up,” Pioneers coach Rich Jacob said. “St. Joe’s came out on fire and got us in a hole. We dug out of that hole and now we have a chance to play for the championship.”
Against old friend Canisius (15-10) no less, as the programs will meet for the third time in four years for the Cup.
Canisius’ path to its fifth straight final proved to be tougher and wilder as the Crusaders extended the game after the Red Raiders were called for a stunning technical in the closing seconds of the first overtime, eventually securing a 70-66 decision in three overtimes. Dewayne Vass led Canisius with 28 points.
More than an estimated 1,100 fans attended the doubleheader at the Koessler Athletic Center.
In the opener, Park overcame deficits of 15 and a late seven-pointer to advance to its fourth final in five years if one includes the Pioneers’ Manhattan Cup Class B title in 2015.
The game was tied 53-53 after four quarters, as Park forced overtime on Nnagbo’s layup with 27 seconds left off a Carter drive and dish in the paint. In overtime, the Pioneers opened with a 7-0 run and cruised. Carter hit the first two baskets of the period. He scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“He’s a fierce competitor,” Jacob said of Carter. “He let it all out on both ends of the floor. He was determined and was successful with that determination and we needed that.”
Park limited St. Joe’s to one field goal in OT and just four over the final eight minutes after yielding five three-points during the first quarter and six in the opening half as the Marauders, who led by as much as 15, were ahead 28-16 at intermission.
Will Ostroski led the Marauders (12-13) with 15 points.
“I’m just really proud,” St. Joe’s coach Gabe Michael said. “I thought we were going to get it. Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be.”
In the nightcap, seventh-ranked St. Francis (13-11) led by 11 at halftime only to have to rally to force overtime on Lucas Theisen’s layup with 1:20 left in regulation. Theisen gave the Raiders a 54-53 lead with a jumped from the elbow with 3.9 seconds left in the first overtime. Teammate Jack Bickerstaff then stole the inbounds pass, getting fouled with 1.6 seconds left.
However, in the euphoria of the big shot and seemingly game-clinching defensive play – a Red Raiders’ reserve celebrated on the floor which is against the rules. An official saw that and called a technical on Frannies, creating an opening for the fourth-ranked Crusaders to extend the game even if Bickerstaff hit both free throws. He missed both, while Vass hit one of two to tie it.
“We were yelling. We noticed it ... It happened in the Georgia-Mississippi State game two nights ago,” Canisius coach Kyle Husband said of infraction. “You’ve got to know (the rule). Credit (to the officials). They had the guts to call it but it was the right call.”
“I don’t think anyone here heard a whistle, that’s how loud it was,” St. Francis coach Brian Ferris said. “I think if the horn would’ve went, no one would’ve heard it. It was that loud but they have to call it how they see it.”
Theisen’s basket late in the second overtime tied the game at 62 extending it four more minutes. He led St. Francis with 22 points.
Canisius took the lead for good on Joe Ingrando’s three-pointer with 3:09 left. It stayed that way until the Crusaders scored five straight points in 13 seconds beginning with Ishmael Fairclough’s two free throws with 29.3 left.
Eric Kegler added 15 for Canisius, which received scoring contributions from five players in the overtimes.