This past Saturday, La Salle Academy’s basketball team made school history.
We captured the New York State Federation (Catholic, Public and Private) B Division Basketball Championship for the first time in school history. Led by a never-say-die bunch of overmatched, under-estimated La Salle boys and an intense Coach (doesn’t this all sound familiar?) La Salle blasted through its competition this year to win the CHSAA NYC Catholic title, the NYS Catholic title and the Federation title – the triple-crown. Coach Jerome Pannell took our kids “back to the future” where winning and expecting to win are routine for the Cardinals and now routine for our school as a whole.
“Our goal was not just to get here, but to win it all,” said Coach Pannell after the game. “Everything after the city championship has been a true blessing and icing on the cake.”
The La Salle Cardinals used a huge 2nd quarter run to earn the 80-67 win over Westhill on Saturday. James Bouknight, who took the MVP honors for each competition, would lead a decisive run scoring 19 of his game-high 27 points in the first half. This set the tone for a 40-27 lead going into the half. Isaiah Allen-Smith (15 points), Bryce Council (13 points) and Korey Williams (10 points) rounded out the total team effort. La Salle Basketball, which was ranked in the top 5 all season, will finish with the #1-Ranking in the NYS Sportswriters Class B poll.
If prescience counts for anything, this win – this moment – may just mark our “Tipping Point” for La Salle Academy … you know, that moment when an idea, a notion, a school – literally tips in a different direction. This win – this glorious win – marks the moment when La Salle’s academic rise, our back-to-back waiting list classes in 2016 and Fall 2017, our exploding programs, fundraising and currency of ALL kinds literally “tips” from an anomaly to the routine.
Faculty came to Glens Falls. Parents and grandmas came. Principal Conroy sat nervously in the stands, cheering her boys on. Little sisters screamed their big brothers’ names as they drained shot after shot, and any hopes the other team had of beating us. English Department Chair Pat Toney drove up four hours just to wave her signs for her boys – her senior Lit students – that quoted Inherit the Wind. Her sign read All Shine with Substance, which riffs, of course, off the famous quote from their senior reading list.
You see, the point here is that ALL La Salle boys, I’ve come to understand, not only win in basketball, and in life, but they are Renaissance Men who quote Inherit the Wind, and The Pearl, and Canterbury Tales, and well … you get the idea. Our State Federation Basketball Champions also have an 87% average in the classroom as a team. Not too shabby.
So pardon us, La Salle Family, as we all crow and take a moment to marinate in this Glorious Tipping Point when our institution tipped to steadfast, consistent production, academic excellence, and well – winning big time.
This is our new normal.
Dr. Catherine L. Guerriero
President, La Salle Academy