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St. Francis sweeps Park, wins OT thriller 54-53

Posted at 10:56 PM, Feb 10, 2017

The first time No. 1 St. Francis and No. 3 Park met, Park was the top-ranked team in Western New York. The Pioneers ran out to a 20-point lead in the first half, and it looked like it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

But St. Francis battled back to beat them on their home turf in a double overtime win, stunning one of the top teams in the state in what was easily the top game of the high school season to that point in time.

Round 2 of St. Francis versus Park might have been even better.

The two teams traded buckets all the way through the fourth quarter -- and fittingly -- it was yet another overtime game. At the end, it was Bo Sireika's three-point bucket from the corner that gave the St. Francis the 54-53 lead. With just seconds to go in overtime, Brandon Smith had a wide-open shot from the corner that hit the back iron, and fell into the Red Raiders hands as time expired.

The Red Raiders finished off the regular season sweep of Park with a 54-53 win, while their fans stormed the middle of the court as the buzzer sounded.

The game started off at a frenzied pace, with St. Francis taking a 17-16 lead heading into the second quarter, but that's when the defense stepped up for both teams. There were only 16 combined points scored by both teams, with St. Francis still leading 26-23 at halftime.

The third quarter came through, and St. Francis again clung to their slim lead, taking a 33-32 advantage into what they thought was the final session. Following a turnover by the Red Raiders, Park couldn't capitalize on a chance to win the game in regulation as time expired.

Sireika, who hit the game-winning shot in overtime, led all scorers with 20 on the night. Park's Joe Jones was a force inside, totaling 16 points with three thunderous dunks -- two of which came in overtime.

St. Francis is now 17-4 on the season, with a 10-1 record in Monsignor Martin play. The Red Raiders lone loss in the league was at Canisius. With the loss, Park drops to 14-4 on the season and a 7-3 league record. Besides the two losses to St. Francis, the Pioneers also lost last week in an overtime thriller to Bishop Timon.