Friday, March 2, 2012
CHSAA boys Class A & B: Naz, Iona win
By Matt Ehalt
The CHSAA crowned its Class A and Class B champions on Friday night as Iona Prep defeated St. Edmund Prep in the Class A title game and Nazareth defeated St. Agnes in the Class B title game. Here's the highlights from the night's action.
No. 1 Nazareth 70, No. 2 St. Agnes 47: If this is the last season for Nazareth, the boys basketball team is going out with a bang. The top-seeded Kingsmen won their first title since 1989 as they dominated second-seeded St. Agnes, 70-47, on Friday night. The Brooklyn school is scheduled to close its doors at the end of the year amid declining enrollment and financial struggles.
"It was added motivation having our school closing down," senior forward Mike Megaafu said. "Us having this championship, it's great for the school. We need something to rely on. God forbid we close down, we're closing down with a bang. We're going out with something people will remember us by."
While Nazareth coach Todd Jamison believes Nazareth will stay open, the school is currently headed to join the list of New York City Catholic schools to recently close. Each game the Kingsment have played since the Class B tournament began could have been the last in program history.
"Hopefully this won't be our last (season), I don't think it will be, but absolutely, definitely this one is special for us," Jamison said.
Nazareth (20-6) got out of the gate hot and took a 21-5 lead after the first quarter and boosted the lead to 41-17 at half. St. Agnes (13-9) simply could not keep up with Nazareth, which applied pressure defense and seemingly could not miss. Nazareth won its first title since winning back-to-back Class A titles in 1988-89.
Sophomore Samson Usilo led the way with 29 points while Shajea Stevenson added 15. Usilo had 14 of his points in the first quarter, which included a pair of 3-point shots and an alley-oop to start the game.
"He's been waiting for this game the last couple of days, the way's he been practicing," Jamison said. "When I see him come in the locker room and I see he's singing some religious hymns, I'm like 'oh boy, these guys are in trouble.'"
Nazareth faces St. Mary's (Lancaster) for the CHSAA Class B State Championship next weekend.
Iona Prep 70, St. Edmund Prep 54: Iona Prep junior guard Brandon Williams let his teammates know that he was ready to take over the third quarter of the CHSAA Class A final on Friday night against St. Edmund Prep.
"He came to the bench and was like this is my quarter boys, get me the ball," teammate Felix Abongo said. "We found him and he was knocking down shots."
Living up to his word, Williams scored 10 points in the third quarter to keep St. Edmund at bay as he propelled Iona Prep to a 70-54 win over St. Edmund Prep in the final. Williams finished with a team-high 18 points as Iona Prep won its second title in four seasons.
"It was just great," Williams said of his third quarter. "We were in foul trouble almost the entire game. We were in a one-on-one situation the whole game. It was great, I just kept attacking, that was what I had to do to win the game."
Iona Prep (24-3) led 32-18 at the half but in the third quarter, St. Edmund cut the lead to 10 points. Williams, though, was there to save the day. With his team leading 38-26, he scored 10 of his team's final 12 points in the quarter to give his team a 50-36 lead heading into the final quarter. St. Edmund fell to 20-7.
Williams has battled sprained both ankles and missed time with injuries this season, and was also in and out of the starting lineup. In his team's biggest game to date, he came up clutch and led the Gaels to their fourth CHSAA Class A title.
"I think when he gets in the flow, he gets dangerous," Iona Prep coach Vic Quirolo said. "Sometimes he doesn't always get in that flow but today he got in that stride and kept going."
Iona Prep will meet the winner of the St. John the Baptist vs. Canisius game in the CHSAA Class A State title game.