St. Joe’s Stuns Top Ranked Niagara Falls In Thriller

Posted on February 18, 2011 by Buffalo Sports Daily

Niagara FallsFor any athlete playing high school basketball just months before graduation, senior night is always special.  It’s special to hear your name introduced to the crowd one last time. It’s special to pose for pictures with the parent(s) who paved your way to opportunity.  Most importantly, it’s special to suit up in uniform one last time in your home gymnasium and to create a memory you hope will last for the rest of your life.

To say Friday evening is a night St. Joe’s senior A. Keith Louie won’t soon forget would be a monumental understatement.  The final shot of Louie’s regular season high career not only gave his team a victory… it gave them an upset win over the team ranked first in all of New York State.

Louie’s basket with 19.8 seconds turned out to be the final bucket between two of the premier basketball programs in the area.  Fourth-ranked St. Joe’s stunned number one, Niagara Falls, 59-58 to hand them their first loss of the year on the last day or the regular season.

Down 58-57 in the game’s waning moments, Louie took an inbounds pass, went the length of the court and then used a perfect pick by Connor Rehbuam to slice to the hoop for a layup.

Falls had the ball for the final possession but after an intelligent intentional foul by Joe’s because they had one to give with just 2.4 left, couldn’t find an open look at the clock struck zero and the Marauders’ fans stormed the court in jubilation.

“It’s just an unbelievable feeling and it’s very hard to describe, “ Louie said.  “I knew we could play with Niagara Falls.  They’re an incredible team but I have always been confident in our team no matter who we play.  It’s a memory that will last forever for me.”

Rarely when two quality programs square off do they live up to expectations. This game exceeded them. Arguably, it was the best game of any throughout Western New York this season.

Rehbaum was dropping three-point bombs en route to nine points.  Reggie Agbeko scored six points and dominated the paint.  Donta Williams hit a pair of threes and was on the dishing end of a delicious alley-oop to teammate Marcus Feagin to have even the St. Joe’s crowd on their feet in awe.

And folks, that was just the first quarter.

St. Joe’s took a 23-19 lead after one and held on going into the locker room at halftime up 33-31, despite 10 points in the second from Falls forward Jermaine Crumpton.

There’s a reason why Niagara Falls is the top-ranked large school in the state and it began to show halfway through the third.  A 12-4 run keyed by six points from Jordan Street gave the Wolverines a 48-42 lead after three quarters as the Wolverines seemed poised to run off their 18th straight win this season without a blemish.

The lead was eight early in the final quarter before a Rehbaum bucket plus a foul and three-pointer by senior Jake Spitler got Joe’s within two.  Just as the Marauders seized the momentum, it was taken back by the Falls following a dunk by Feagin to go up, 52-48 with six minutes left.

The veteran St. Joe’s squad refused to wilt under the swarming Falls pressure and Agbeko took over with their backs were against the wall.  With Joe’s down six, Agbeko hit a pair of free throws with 4:40 left.  Following a pair of free throws by senior teammate Steve Moser, Agbeko hit another free throw and on their next possession scored on a reverse layup to give Joe’s their first lead of the quarter, 57-56 and their first lead since

Niagara Falls got the lead back one last time on a nice Feagin jumper off a fake before Louie’s basket proved to the game winner.

“It was just a great game by two great teams,” St. Joe’s coach Mark Simon understated post-game.  “We knew we were going to have our hands full and at the same time I knew we could give them a handful ourselves.  I’m very proud of the way we played and especially the big plays that our seniors made.  This is their night and they deserve to have the feeling that’s running through them right now.”

Don’t go making funeral arrangements for Niagara Falls just yet as they get ready to start Section VI, Class-AA playoff basketball next week.

“I’m disappointed with the loss for sure but it’s not going to stop us from what our goal is,” said Niagara Falls head coach Sal Constantino.”  “In 2005 when we won the state championship we lost our final game of the regular season (to Vashon in St. Louis, Missouri) and we regrouped for our postseason run.  I told our team after this game that I expect the same thing this time and around and that’s the goal that we’re looking to accomplish.”

For St. Joes, the win over Niagara Falls was momentous for their confidence but of little consequence in their overall title picture.  The non-league game had no bearing on the standings, but a post-game coin flip certainly did.   Both the Marauders and Canisius finished tied atop the Monsignor Martin Association league and the flip of a coin was done to determine who’d get the top seed for the Manhattan Cup playoffs.

The Crusaders won the toss, meaning St. Joe’s will be seeded second and face Niagara Catholic in the opening round next Tuesday.

Rehbaum led St. Joe’s with 16 points while Agbeko had a monster game with 16 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.  Louie finished with nine.

Street led Niagara Falls with 14 points while Feagin had 13.  Crumpton had 10 points, all in the second quarter as JJ Wilkins finished with 10 points as well.

Here is the video of Louie’s game-winning bucket.

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