BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Bishop Timon-St. Jude’s basketball revival ascended over a long-standing obstacle and climbed the ladder to cut down the net in celebration of a triumph the school hasn’t attained in 22 years.
“I was just teasing the guys in the locker room that you weren’t even born,” coach Jason Rowe said after Timon won its first Manhattan Cup championship since 2001 on Sunday with a 72-57 win against Canisius in front of a near capacity crowd at Koessler Athletic Center.
“But more importantly we stress being part of history, being part of a legacy, being a part of something that is going to last forever,” continued Rowe, one of Western New York’s all-time great players who starred for Traditional before winning championships at Loyola University and overseas.
The Tigers won a Monsignor Martin B division championship in 2020 and reached the Manhattan Cup final last season, “but A has a different type of meaning,” said Rowe, now in his sixth year coaching, “it really and truly does.”
Timon canceled Monday’s classes to commemorate the long awaited championship, in which the Tigers avenged a blowout loss in last year’s title game and two regular season defeats against Canisius, ranked seventh in the state.
“It just feels amazing, all the hard work we’ve been doing former last year after we lost to come back and beat the same team that stomped on us,” said junior point guard Jaiden Harrison, who led Timon with 21 points. “I’m proud of my teammates. We came together as a unit.”
Nakyhi Harris added 14 points, Malachi Parker had 11 and Jacob Humphrey chipped in nine, as Timon settled in after falling behind 11-2 early and dominated the second quarter to take a 41-24 lead at halftime. The Tigers controlled the game with a zone defense and their four standout guards thrived in transition on the big floor at Canisius College.
“We did a great job, especially that second quarter, defensively,” said Rowe, noting this wasn’t the first time Timon played zone but that compared to previous outings, “we just played it very well today. Guys were talking, guys were communicating, guys were rotating, guys were boxing out. We did an excellent job. We’ve done it before, but today was championship Sunday. Guys wanted to win.”
Timon moves on to the New York State Catholic semifinal on Saturday at Hilbert College.
Rowe wore the chopped net around his neck after the game. He recalled the last time he celebrated a championship in such fashion, playing in Italy more than a decade ago.
“But this one is different,” Rowe said. “It’s one thing as a player, but as a coach when you are in charge of leading young boys to men, it has a completely different meaning.”
Rowe also recognized what a proper Manhattan Cup championship means to the Timon faithful in South Buffalo.
“I’ve been getting phone calls since the buzzer went off, alumni coming after me,” Rowe said. “When I took over the job and Timon had these rumors of closing … it shows the perseverance of the program, of the alumni, the support, to keep it afloat and keep everything going.”
Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.