VASJ has been in a difficult position late in games before and the Vikings continue to refuse to lose.
This time, the refuse to lose attitude has led to a spot in a regional final.
VASJ rallied from an 11-point deficit against Benedictine to a 66-62 win over the Bengals in a Division II regional semi at the Canton Civic Center on March 13.
The Vikings trailed, 59-48, midway through the fourth quarter before launching a furious rally to advance to the elite 8.
Jaden Hameed led the way with 19 points for VASJ (18-8). Jason Priah scored 16 and Khalil Mitcham added 12 for the Vikings.
“Principal Dave Csank and I both started 9 years ago. After tonight he told me, ‘I never give up on you and our kids, but after they hit that 3 (put them up 11) I turned to Tim Neary and said, ‘great season.’ He said our fans and most notably the student section was the best it’s ever been. I agree,” VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak said.
“Once we got started it felt like our student section seriously created a wave that we just rode for the last 3:56. We ended the game on an 18-3 run. I am still not sure how we won that game.”
VASJ will play Buchtel on March 15 in a regional final.
“Jaden Hameed (14 points in the second half) has been putting in extra work all week and it showed tonight, he wanted the ball in his hands at the end of the game. I love that,” Kwasniak said.
“This is not just about our basketball team, this is our school and it’s our culture. This is so important to so many people – doing it together is what makes it so much fun.
“I’m just blessed I have at least two more days with these guys. That was up there with the Beachwood win in 2016, we are proving how important culture is – and culture never graduates.”