Steubenville, OH – The D'Youville men's basketball team completed their 2015-16 season on a high note by defeating the Franciscan Barons by the final score of 84-70.
Both offenses started off slow in the first half. Through the first four minutes, the Spartans led by the score 7-4 following a Jake Socha (Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Catholic) made layup. Senior Marcus Clarke (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh Academy) then scored back-to-back layups and extended the lead to 11-4.
With 11:27 remaining in the first half, the Spartans took a 20-12 lead thanks to a Steve Kunelius (Oswego, NY/Oswego) three-pointer. Just over three minutes later, the Barons tied the game at 20, but D'Youville would retake the lead on their next possession. Franciscan would take their first lead of the game with 6:02 left in the half and hold that lead until the buzzer when Clarke hit a three and gave the Spartans a 37-36 lead going into the half.
Franciscan retook the lead to begin the second half, with the Spartans then tying the game 2:54 into the half. Socha then shouldered the scoring load for the team, scoring nine consecutive points and gave the Spartans a 48-41 lead. The Barons started coming back about half way through the second. Trailing 60-51, Franciscan went on a 10-2 scoring and brought the game to within two.
With a 62-61 lead, the Spartans scored six unanswered points to give themselves some breathing room. D'Youville puled out to a 76-65 lead with 1:02 left in the game and the team would go on to win by the final score of 84-70.
"It was a great win and a great was for our seniors to go out," said Head Coach Earl Schunk. "They were key to our two runs in the second half that won us the game."
The team was fueled by freshman Jake Socha who recorded his second straight double-double. Following scoring a career high 23 points last game, Socha reached a new career high with 31 points on 14-18 shooting. Jake also grabbed a team high 12 rebounds and played a career high 33 minutes.
"Jake was outstanding out there and gave us an offensive presence inside that kept our offense running," said Schunk.
Senior Marcus Clarke ended his illustrious D'Youville as the school's all-time leading scorer and added 23 points on Saturday afternoon. Senior Jon Gemerek (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew) led the team with six assists and fellow senior Nate Sweetman (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) added four.
Coach Schunk reflected on how his four seniors have moved the men's program forward and how they set an example for the younger players moving forward.
"The seniors have set a standard that will key our future success. We have a great talented group of returners who will carry on from here."