CANTON — As the final seconds ticked away, and the reality of the season coming to an end became evident on the faces of Lakeview’s players, Babe Kwasniak found himself sympathizing.
That may seem odd considering Kwasniak is the head coach of the Villa Angela-St. Joseph team that beat the Bulldogs, 74-59, Thursday at Canton Memorial Civic Center. But Kwasniak saw the chemistry, rhythm and artful-like style of play that fueled the Bulldogs during an unprecedented run to the Division II Canton Regional semifinal.
“When their two seniors (Drew) Munno and (TJ) Lynch were crying at the end,” Kwasniak said, “I found myself caught up in the emotions. The story is about them guys. It was hard. At times, I was like, ‘Is this going to be like a Disney movie?’ with the way they were shooting the ball. They play the game the right way. That’s the way the game of basketball is supposed to be played.”
As enjoyable as it was, the Bulldogs (20-7), a No. 4 seed who just won their first district title in 17 years, couldn’t sustain one final run by the perennial-powerhouse Vikings (18-8), who have won three state titles in the past five years.
The All-American Conference is an OHSAA-sanctioned league, created in 2008 as the result of the merger between the Trumbull Athletic Conference and the Metro Athletic Conference in Ohio. The league has 21 different member schools, with 17 sports offered throughout fall, winter and spring sports seasons.