BUFFALO, NY – The Franciscan men's basketball team suffered a loss in the final game of the season as the Barons traveled to Medaille on Saturday afternoon but fell 89-57.
"We went toe to toe for 30 minutes today and just ran out of steam," remarked first-year head coach Joe Wallace. "I am extremely proud of the resolve of this team and I've been lucky to coach these young men."
Trailing 7-2 early in the first half, junior Keoni Sablan hit a pair of free throws from the Barons to trim the lead down to three and keep Franciscan close. After a quick layup from Mike Hollenbeck, freshmen Matt Trent and Joe Schriner made back-to-back layups to cut the lead to one, 9-8, with 14:04 to play. Justice Fagan pushed the lead back to three with a jumper, but freshman Joe Schriner took a step back off the three-point line and drained his shot to tie the game, 11-11, with 12:50. Hollenbeck and Trent then traded two point baskets to keep the game tied.
The Barons seemed to have an answer for the Mavericks as they kept the game tied at 17-17 thanks to a layup from junior Garrison Holmes. Hollenbeck gave Medaille a one-point lead as he made the first of two free throws but it would not last long as sophomore Juwan Perkins made a layup with 7:34 to play to give Franciscan its first lead, 19-18.
Franciscan enjoyed the lead for just over a minute until a pair of free throws by Johnathan Belton kicked off a 15-0 run for Medaille to give the hosts a 33-19 lead with 3:10 to play. Freshman John Noce put an end to the run with free throws of his own and classmate Michael Mendicino drained a deep corner three to cut the lead back down to single digits, 33-24, but Medaille closed out the half on a slight 5-3 run to take the 38-27 lead into halftime.
Perkins opened the second with a layup just five seconds into action kicking off half in good fashion but Medaille put together another double-digit run to push its lead to 19, 50-31, behind a 12-0 run. Perkins got the Barons back to within 16 after drawing a foul on a good layup and hitting the subsequent free throw.
The Mavericks built their largest lead of the game until that point, 59-35, behind a 9-3 run with 12:55 to play. Franciscan used its own 9-0 run in the next minute to get within 17, 59-43, thanks to five points from Perkins. Franciscan hung around with the Mavericks and Sablan cut the deficit down to 14, 61-47, thanks to a three after grabbing an offensive rebound in front of the Baron bench but Medaille seemed to have an answer for all of the Barons' buckets.
With 2:23 to play, Medaille took its first 30-point lead of the contest, 84-54 thanks to a layup from Xavier Cisternino.
Freshman Kevin Jarmusik made the last basket for either team with just 18 seconds to play as he made a short-range jumper to bring the score to its final, 89=57.
Perkins led the Barons with 14 points while Sablan and Trent each chipped in 10. Freshman Josh York led the team with 11 rebounds and five blocks. Sablan and Noce each dished out four assists.
"Today we talked about the journey we've been through this season," continued Coach Wallace. "We talked about how far we've come. I told them, 'In our eyes, we are winners and only the family can define our success.'"
The Barons end their first season under Coach Wallace 4-20 and 4-14 in the AMCC, improving their win total by three from last year. The Barons lose only one senior, Derrick David, though his absence on and off the court will be a hard one to fill.
"It's funny how things work out in life," said Coach Wallace when asked about his graduating senior. "Derrick has been extremely sick and couldn't go again, but he got to walk off the court in his final game as a winner, playing in front of his mom. That's a special moment he will always remember."
"Derrick is the first official brick in of the new foundation and he gave everything he had for this family."