Defense Leads Canisius To 16th Straight Win Over St. Joe’s
Photo by Kathleen Kramer / Simple Moments Photography
As far as coach Kyle Husband is concerned, his Canisius High School boys basketball team is going to live or die based on its defensive performance. When it mattered the most in the game that always matters the most, the Crusaders found a way to shine at that end.
Canisius came up with the stops it needed down the stretch and held off rival St. Joe’s for a 63-60 win in front of a sold out crowd on Saturday afternoon. It was the Crusaders’ 16th straight win over their biggest rival.
“With the group that we have this year, that’s who we have to be,” he said. “We have to be great at that end. We were at times, we were when we needed to be, but still not consistent enough.”
It wasn’t a pretty game as the teams combined for 60 turnovers. Canisius controlled most of the second half and built a lead as large as nine points. But the Marauders weren’t done, pulling within one point on two occasions down the stretch.
But that’s when Crusader standouts Joe Jamison and Dewayne Vass stepped to the forefront. Each came up with a steal when St. Joe’s had a chance to tie or take the lead and each added a key bucket in the final minutes to maintain that advantage.
“I’ve got tons of confidence in both of those guys,” Husband said. “In an environment like this – and St. Joe’s is really playing good basketball – we needed them to make plays. When we needed it most, they stepped up big-time.”
Vass, a junior who has stepped into a starring role this season, led Canisius (9-5 overall, 3-2 MMAA) with 22 points. Eric Kegler added 12 points, Jamison 12 and Joe Ciocca 11 for Canisius.
Greg Poland scored 14 points to lead St. Joe’s (7-6 overall, 2-3 MMAA). Daesean Ashley added 13, Justin Glover tossed in 12 and Tino Martone netted 10.
“We got real sloppy with the basketball down the stretch,” St. Joe’s coach Gabe Michael said. “They converted off of our mistakes. They made championship plays and we didn’t at the end of the day.”