|Familiarity breeds contempt. The third times a charm. If these common sayings have any validity, Wahoo was in for a real battle in the 1989 semifinals. The opponent was a familiar foe -- Syracuse. The Warriors had dropped Syracuse twice already during the 88 - 89 season; once on the Rockets home court and then an even more decisive victory at Ashland in the Conference Tournament Championship. Following that second win, Coach Anderson had expressed respect for Syracuse coach, Leon Bose, indicating beating a Bose coached team twice in a season was an accomplishment. Now they would have to do it three times. The question was whether or not the team had the same respect for their conference rival. In the game immediately following the 25 point loss to Wahoo, Syracuse had suffered a 25 point drubbing by Lincoln Pius X. After that they had put together a nine game winning streak that included their District Final victory over a ranked Norris team, 47 - 45 and a first round win at state over Hastings Adams Central, 69 - 63. Syracuse was the last team to beat Wahoo. It would have a certain symmetry if a 36 game win streak would be bracketed on each end by a loss to Syracuse.
When the Warriors took the court at the Devaney Sports Center to begin the Friday evening session, Anderson and the rest of the Wahoo coaching staff were more than a little nervous entering the game: Its tough to beat a good team three times. The odds catch up with you. That anxiety became more acute in the early going of the game. With the first quarter winding down and Wahoo nursing a four point advantage, leading scorer Jason Glock picked up his third foul and Warrior reserve, Steve Volin was still nursing a sore ankle. Syracuse appeared to have the Wahoo scoring machine contained and the Wahoo defense wasnt generating any easy baskets. Glock would sit out until half way through the third quarter and it looked like Syracuse might just get that charm it was looking for. The teams traded baskets to start the second stanza and then Syracuse guard, Chris Zimmers canned a three to narrow the gap to one, 14 - 13. But Bernie Inbody stepped up and answered for the Warriors with a trey of his own and Wahoo was off on a 19 - 8 run and would finish the half up ten, 33 - 23. But a ten point lead with Jason Glock still sitting the bench didnt feel real comfortable. Then defensive specialist, Cliff Kreizel, went on a scoring spurt. Kreizel scored on two drives to the basket and then got a put-back. Jason Glock got back in the game and canned a basket at the third quarter buzzer to give the Warriors a 52 - 31 lead. Syracuse narrowed the gap a little in the final period, but the die was cast. The Wahoo players had no contempt for their opponent and played hard to get the win. Coach Bose commented, They play hard for the whole 32 minutes. For Syracuse, the third time had just produced a third loss.
Syracuse had advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament and marked only six losses for the season, half of them to Wahoo, and one to Wahoos upcoming opponent, Lincoln Pius X. The Bolts had dispatched Ord 69 - 66 that afternoon. The game was on. It would be #1 vs. #2, both teams undefeated, in a rematch of the 1988 championship. It would be hard for such a game to live up to the drama promised by this scenario. Fans from both schools, curious outsiders, and a good dose of spectators awaiting the Class A final would fill the Bob Devaney Sports Center to the rafters. The roar was imminent.
View details of the Syracuse game.
A New Title, Pt. 4 -- perfect