Weekly Feature



2011-02-16 / Sports

Marauders extend win streak to lucky 13

Boys Basketball
by MIKE MIGLIORE Reporter


St. Joe’s Reggie Agbeko throws down a slam dunk Thursday in St. Joe’s 65-45 win over Bishop Timon. The win put the Marauders one win away from a Monsignor Martin regular season crown. Photo by Patrick McPartland Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com St. Joe’s Reggie Agbeko throws down a slam dunk Thursday in St. Joe’s 65-45 win over Bishop Timon. The win put the Marauders one win away from a Monsignor Martin regular season crown. Photo by Patrick McPartland Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com It took the St. Joe’s Marauders a quarter to wake up Thursday night against Bishop Timon at St. Joe’s. The Marauders were going for their 13th win in a row, but they were asleep at the wheel as the Tigers opened up an 18-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and scored the first basket of the second quarter to go up by 12.

Once the Marauders were finally stirred awake, the Tigers had no chance.

St. Joe’s outscored Bishop Timon, 57-27, during the final three frames to roll to a 65-45 victory. It took the Marauders a little while to get going, but once they did, they showed why they’ve won 12 in a row.

“We needed to wake up and we needed to play harder,” St. Joe’s head coach Mark Simon said. “They were playing harder than us and we needed to defend better. We did. We definitely picked up the pace. We got a little energy going.”

With the win, St. Joe’s clinched a share of the Monsignor Martin Association regular-season crown. St. Joe’s had a chance to win the regular-season title outright with a win over Canisius on Tuesday night. The game began after The Bee went to press.

Once again, leading scorer Connor Rehbaum led the way for the Marauders as he had a game-high 19 points. Junior center Reggie Agbeko had 14 points and 15 rebounds and also had a thunderous dunk in the first quarter.

The game turned in the second quarter as St. Joe’s went on a 21-4 run to regain the lead and go up at halftime, 28-24. Rehbaum had eight points during the run. Timon scored the first two baskets coming out of halftime, though, to regain a 29-28 lead. St. Joe’s outscored Timon, 21-11, to finish the quarter up, 49-40. The highlights were back-to-back threes by Jake Spitler and Tom Escott. Simon talked about how players like Spitler and Escott stepped up and played huge roles in the win.

“Jake Spitler hit some key hoops and had some steals,” Simon said. “The seven guys that played, they all gave us good minutes; Tommy Escott, Chad (Kelly). That’s what you need to win.”

Another player who has filled a big role is Agbeko. The junior, who transferred in from Ghana earlier this season, is averaging more than 10 points and 10 rebounds a game. Agbeko has had double-digit point outbursts in six straight games now. Simon said Agbeko has gotten better with more playing time as the season’s gone along.

“The biggest thing for him is that he is much more comfortable on the floor,” Simon said. “He knows what to do. We’ve simplified what we’re doing, so it’s easier for him. I just want him to go out and play. I don’t want him to think too much. I’m trying to make it easy for him. You can see it on the court. You can see it when he’s on the floor; we’re getting a lot of rebounds. He just needs to get more minutes.”

The Tigers were without starting point guard David Scarcello, who had the flu. Still, Timon presented a tough matchup for the Marauders. The first matchup between the two teams went to overtime at Timon. It’s also a tough matchup because Bishop Timon’s small scoring guards like Jordan Williams and Kyle Kobis present a problem for St. Joe’s bigger team.

“They’re always a tough matchup for us,” Simon said. “Timon-St. Joe’s games are always tough battles and they always will be. Those little guys can shoot it. It’s a tough matchup for us, size-wise. Smaller teams are harder for us to guard. So, we’re happy we don’t have to see them for a while.”

After the always-intense rivalry matchup with Canisius, St. Joe’s will host Niagara Falls on Friday night. The Wolverines remain undefeated as of Tuesday and continue to be talked about as one of the top teams in the state. It will be a chance for the Marauders to really make a statement on the Western New York basketball scene. It’s also their final tune-up before the Manhattan Cup playoffs begin next week.

The Marauders will also look to extend their win streak, at 13 as of Tuesday. Simon really couldn’t have envisioned a run like this from his team, especially after a 5-4 start. The Marauders haven’t lost since and remain undefeated in league play. The team has come together quickly, though, and has emerged as an elite team. Expectations are high for the postseason on Kenmore Avenue.

“We thought we had a chance to be a special team and we still think we do,” Simon said. “We just can’t take anything for granted, and we’ve come together as a family as players and coaches. The chemistry is right, the unity is right. We just see if the ball goes in. If we play hard, anything is possible.” e-mail: mmigliore@beenews.com

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