There were still 23 seconds left in the state CHSAA Class A semifinals as St. Anthony’s Andre Snoddy and his four teammates were subbed out and sent to the bench.
The talented 6-5 senior untucked his Frairs jersey and pulled it over his head. He later stood with his hands on his hips with his head down.
The final horn sounded as Canisius (Buffalo) defeated St. Anthony’s, 55-40, at Hofstra’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex on Saturday night.
Canisius (23-3) advances to the state CHSAA Class A championship on Saturday at Fordham University’s historic Rose Hill Gymnasium. St. Anthony’s season ends at 21-6.
“I’m depressed,” said Snoddy through tears. “It hurts so bad to lose this game.”
St. Anthony’s fell behind 18-5 after the first quarter, and was never closer than nine points the rest of the game.
“The first quarter was the difference,” said Snoddy, who had a team-high 15 points with six rebounds. “We dug too deep a hole, and couldn’t get back.”
After trailing at the half 31-14, St. Anthony's played its best basketball of the game in the third quarter. The Friars scored 16 points in the third quarter -- including a 10-2 run to open the period -- and trailed 42-30 at the end of three. John Garvey, who was scoreless in the first half, hit a pair of three-pointers and free throws for eight points in the period. He ended up with nine points, three rebounds and two blocks.
The Friars got within nine points in the third period, and within 48-38 with 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter, but could not budge the difference anymore. Joe Ciocca had 20 points and Dewayne Vass added 17 points for Canisius.
St. Anthony’s coach Sal Lagano made no excuses after the game, and acknowledged the Friars’ slow start was the difference.
“Once a couple of shots didn’t go in,” Lagano said, “we started to press a little.”
Still, it doesn’t take away from a program that has won two of the last three Long Island CHSAA titles.
The last three players to come out of the Friars locker room were Garvey, Snoddy and Louis Stallone, the last two who were the Friars’ captains.
Lagano mentioned that Snoddy and Stallone would sit on the Friars freshman team’s bench during games to help assist in coaching the young players.
“They are great leaders,” Lagano said. “When you have captains like that, it makes it easy to be the coach.”
The loss wasn’t easy for the Friars, especially Snoddy who was consoled by family and friends after the game.
“He carried this program,” said Lagano of Snoddy. “He made people around him better.”
Which made the sting of losing in the semifinals hurt even more for Snoddy and his Friar teammates like Garvey.
“We all put a lot of hard work into this, and I had a lot of fun and great memories from this program,” said Garvey, a senior. “They were a great group of guys, and I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss them a lot.”