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03.10.07

Published: March 04, 2007 12:13 am print this story email this story comment on this story

BOYS BASKETBALL: Sweet Home stuns Falls
By Nate Beutel
Greater Niagara Newspapers

BUFFALO — Sweet Home coach Paul Schintzius put his faith in his players and Saturday night it paid off.

Schintzius allowed his players to choose their defense down the stretch and it worked as the second-seeded Panthers stunned the top-seeded and three-time defending state-finalist Niagara Falls Wolverines 66-64 in the Section VI Class AA title game at the Buffalo State College Sports Arena.

“This is the greatest feeling,” Sweet Home senior Glenroy Carr said after the game. “I feel like I’m on top of the world right now.”

The Panthers withstood an early 10-0 run by the Falls, nine points from Rahshon Tabb in the second quarter and closed the gap to just four at halftime after Steven Roberts nailed a long distance 3-pointer and a floater before the half expired.

Sweet Home made its run in the third when senior Josh Parker scored eight of his eleven points, including two ridiculous treys that answered a hot Tabb both times.

“Tabb hit a couple, so I had to come back down and score,” Parker said.

Carr asserted himself in the paint as well in the third as he consistently isolated himself with NFHS center Eric Spanbauer and took the ball hard to the basket. Carr netted 11 of his 21 points in the third, which concluded with the Panthers scoring five consecutive points.

"Defensively we had a little letdown there,” Falls coach Giulio Colangelo said. “He got to the basket and we just got beat.”

Sweet Home continued its strong play into the fourth with the first two buckets of the quarter to extend the lead to five at 53-48.

The Falls cut it to one, 59-58, for the first time after Eric Spanbauer put back a miss with 2:43 remaining. The teams would go back and forth, but the Panthers seemed safe after Niagara Falls’ Jonny Flynn was called for an offensive foul with just over a minute left.

Not so fast though.

Sweet Home’s Steven Roberts missed the front end of a one-and-one after Flynn was called for his fifth and disqualifying foul. Tabb then went down the floor and made both free throws after being fouled to get the Falls to within one yet again at 63-62.

After Parker made two foul shots the next time down the floor, Tabb was stripped and the ball went to the Panthers. The Wolverines caught a break, though, as the in bounds pass was thrown away. Tabb, who finished with a game-high 24 points, came down and made another big shot to close the gap to one at 65-64 with 10 seconds left.

Parker was fouled yet again and this time made one of two free throws. The rebound was secured by NFHS and Rahshon Tabb had a decent look from the left corner to win it, but it rimmed out and the Panthers rushed the floor in jubilation of clinching their second consecutive sectional title. Sweet Home was a Class A state finalist a season ago.

“It was a tough loss, but it was a great game,” Colangelo said.

McDonald’s all-American Jonny Flynn scored a season-low 16 points in what proved to be his final high school game.

Sweet Home advances to the Far West Regionals at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Blue Cross Arena.