The Canisius Crusaders (21-5, 13-0), who had won nine Manhattan Cups as champions of the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association with coach Kyle Husband, clinched their status as the best team in the league on Sunday yet again with a 72-40 win over Bishop Timon-St. Jude (18-7, 7-6).
That now makes 10 championships won under Husband’s leadership – breaking the record once held by former Timon coach Mel Palano – and even though it’s almost become an annual event on Delaware Avenue, Husband said that winning a Monsignor Martin title is always a satisfying feeling.
“This is why we get involved in sports – to see a group come together like this and play that well throughout the season and finish it off,” Husband said. “Winning a Manhattan Cup never gets old, that’s for sure. It’s about that team in there and how focused they were. They deserved today. They could not have put forth a better and more focused effort, and I couldn’t be more excited for them today.”
Right from the opening tipoff the Crusaders made it known that the game and championship was theirs to win. Just two minutes into the contest the team got scores from Declan Ryan, Shane Cercone and Luke Granto to make the score 8-2.
Behind those three and Eddie Cosgrove’s 12 points and two three-pointers, the lead swelled to 32-13 by halftime. Besides scoring, two aspects of the Crusaders’ game were critical in the team’s success – their defense and rebounding.
“The defensive effort that we put forward today was second to none. They were awesome,” Husband said. “They were so engaged, so focused. I couldn’t be more proud of how they played at both ends of the floor.
“When we lock in and guard the way we did today… we’re bigger than most teams. And that was a huge key for us because Timon does a great job on the offensive glass. We were really focused on finishing possessions, and we were terrific at it today.”
The second half saw Canisius go on cruise control, as they began to reach deeper into their rotation and allow their backups to get playing time. In the process, they never allowed the Tigers to get back into the game, as they increased their lead to 30 points or more throughout the afternoon’s final two quarters.
Cosgrove was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after scoring a game-high 22 points.
“From day one, I told him that the best version of us is when he’s playing well,” Husband said. “When we have a third scorer like that we’re hard to beat. He was terrific, and I’m super happy for a senior like him to go out like that.”