BUFFALO, N.Y.-In front of a packed house Saturday afternoon, Canisius hosted St. Joes at the Koessler Athletic Center at Canisius College. Unfortunately for St. Joe's, part two would have the same ending as part one.
Canisius beat St. Joes 72-60. Canisius finishes the Monsignor Martin League regular season with a record of 12-0. After losing today, St. Joe's finishes its regular season with a record of 9-3.
Leading scorers for the Crusaders were seniors # 25 Adam Weir with 21 and # 3 Aaron White with 19. White who played "absolutely phenomenal" according to Coach Kyle Husband said, "we knew how important this game was coming in here, I just wanted to play my heart out for my teammates and get this win."
Canisius lead the game by 17 at one point late in the second quarter. The lead wouldn't last as St. Joes would battle back to go up by one. On losing the large lead Coach Husband said, "This is one of the biggest rivalries in town, I mean it is the biggest rivalry in town, it's never going to be easy, it's going to be a dog fight. They came out, they battled, that team could of backed down, and they didn't for a second they kept fighting. Turned into a great game, right to the end."
Strategy to get back into the game for the Crusaders was a to play defense, "take a deep breath, play the way we know we can play, the way we started earlier. We gotta get stops, we gotta rebound. They killed us on the glass tonight. So we tightend up a little bit and that got us through" Husband said.
White knew this game wouldn't be easy, "just playing till the end, we knew that they were gonna make a run cause the game is up and down with runs, we just wanted to keep fighting and come back and we did that".
The win today for Canisius according to Husband was largely because of their seniors, "feels great, and a lot has to do with those 3 seniors, they've been here the whole time, Aaron White was absolutely phenomenal tonight, Matt McDonald same thing just a rock, and Adam Weir you know, I don't need to say much more than that. Bu those 3 have been here the whole time, that's a big reason why we've done it"
By winning today, Canisius locks in as the first seed in the playoff bracket, "Its means a lot", White said," so we get the #1 seed it's not an easy road to the (Manhattan) Cup but I'd rather have this road then a different seed."
Canisius now has three regular season championships with two playoff championships. "it's a lot of hard work, we work all year round", Weir said, "feels good, that was our goal coming into the season, we wanted to go undefeated in the league and hoped that would take us into the playoffs and we did just that ... were looking forward to it ... we're ready to play who ever we get".
Though the Crusaders went undefeated this season, Coach Husband and White still aren't impressed. Husband said, "I'm not impressed yet, we got a lot of basketball left. I'm excited where we are I think we're doing a great job, I'll be impressed when it's all said and done." White says he won't be impressed until he gets his state championship, "im still hungry for states."
Baring any upsets, theirs a good chance these two teams could meet again at the Manhattan Cup Championship. The Championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, February 27th at Canisius College Koessler Athletic Center at 6 pm.