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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Hutchins Pioneers Park to Historic Win

Coming into Tuesday night’s game the Park School was 0-5 all-time against the Canisius Crusaders.

The Pioneers knew it was a big game so Head Coach Michael Battaglia didn’t want to add any extra pressure on his team.

“Teams always know how big a game is”, Battaglia said. “It was Canisius they’re one of the best in the league, we looked at the game like that. We didn’t try to make it bigger than it already was.”

The Park School showed the game wasn’t too big for them as they came into Bernard J. Kennedy Fieldhouse and beat the Crusaders, for the first time ever, 73-47 in Monsignor Martin Athletic Association Boys Basketball action.

After going back and forth for much of the first quarter, Park’s Noah Hutchins hit a buzzer beater from half court to give the Pioneers the 18-15 lead.

“It was a tie game. The shot brought the team and the fans up”, Hutchins said. “It helped a lot.”

But Hutchins’ night wasn’t by any means over. At the end of the half, Canisius guard Jayce Johnson went to the basket for a layup but Hutchins jumped up and blocked the layup just before the buzzer went off.

Hutchins ended the game with 23 points. The performance almost never happened as Hutchins was out of school Monday with the stomach flu. But the sophomore called his coach that night and insisted he was going to play.

“Noah had the stomach flu yesterday, didn’t come to school or practice. He called me up last night and said I’m feeling better I think I can play”, Battaglia said. “He was outstanding.”

“I had to do whatever I had to do. I just wanted to play in this game so bad”, Hutchins said.

The buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter gave the Pioneers the momentum they needed to pull away from the Crusaders. Park went on a 10-2 run for the for three and a half minutes of the second quarter.

“Obviously, momentum is a part of any game. It gave them energy”, Canisius Head Coach Kyle Husband said. “We can’t let a play like that effect the next four minutes of the game.”

After the run, Canisius got back into game and got themselves within five points of Park. But the Pioneers held off the Crusaders and had a 37-25 lead at the half.

The Crusaders came back with some fire to start the second half, but Park was able to match Canisius point for point, ending the third with a 49-37 lead.

6′ 8″, 221-pound Joe Jones lead the way in third with five points. Jones provided solid front court play for the Pioneers and had serval blocks throughout the game. The junior had 11 points in the win.

“Jones is strong and quick. He’s good around the rim,” Battaglia said. “He’s hard to defend.”

In the fourth, Park was relentless outscoring the Crusaders 24-10. Hutchins, who has played in four games against Canisius knew this game was big.

“This is huge for us”, Hutchins said. “Practices have been so hard lately, coming into the game we knew we had to play an entire game and couldn’t let up.”

For Canisius, Jayce Johnson and Austin James lead the way with 13 points each. Ryan Bradley started the game with two three-pointers and ended the game with eight points.

“Park is a very good basketball team right”, Husband said. “We’re not at that level right now, but we still didn’t play very well.”

Canisius and Park will be back in action on Thursday. The Crusaders host MMAA rival St. Francis and the Pioneers host crosstown rival Williamsville South. Both games will tip-off at 7pm.

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