The last time Iona Prep captured the CHSAA Class A intersectional title, coach Vic Quirolo was lying in a hospital bed, recovering from an appendectomy. The Gaels surprised Quirolo, bringing the hardware to the hospital.
On Friday, Iona Prep will attempt to win the CHSAA ‘A’ crown for the first time since 2009 and this time Quirolo will certainly be on the bench.
“No excuses this time,” he joked.
Iona Prep will face St. Edmund Prep in the title game at Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym live on MSGVarsity.com at 7:45 p.m.
“I’ve never been there before,” Iona Prep forward Felix Abongo said of Rose Hill Gym. “It’s going to be great. I can’t wait.”
Iona Prep (22-3) survived a scare in the semifinals, beating Moore Catholic, 58-56 in overtime Tuesday at Mount St. Michael.
Sophomore Isiah Ice missed a chance to win the game at the regulation buzzer when his corner 3-point attempt sat on the front rim for what seemed like an eternity before rolling out. But Ice came up huge in OT, knocking down a pair of 3-pointer en route to 15 points.
Abongo also had 15 points and Tim McCarthy, Kevin Conroy and Brandon Williams added eight points apiece for the Gaels, who avenged an overtime loss to Moore Catholic on Jan. 12 in New Rochelle.
St. Edmund Prep also made up for a regular season loss to book its ticket to the Class A final. The Eagles lost to Xavier, 54-45, on Jan. 4, but beat the Knights, 44-43, in the semifinals Tuesday at Mount.
The Eagles, picked to finish last in Brooklyn/Queens A by the league coaches, rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit as Chris Tsatsis and Matt O’Neill scored 11 points apiece to pace St. Edmund Prep.
“It means everything,” St. Edmund Prep coach Dan Wiatre said after the game. “We had alumni here today, we had our principal here today. We had teachers and staff here today. Everybody is behind these guys. They could have had a lot of excuses to pack it in at different points, but they kind of came together. Our character has been getting stronger.”
St. Edmund Prep (20-6), which is making its first Class A title game appearance since winning the crown in 2003, lost to Iona Prep, 54-52, on Jan. 10 in Brooklyn. Quirolo expects another tight game Friday.
“We went nose to nose with them, same game like this, back and forth,” Quirolo said. “It’s going to be a scrappy game, they’re a tough team. Someone has to win.”