Florio helps Red Devils hoops team upset Will. North
The senior, in his third varsity season, poured in a team-high 20 points helped the Red Devils to a thrilling 77-76 win over the previously-unbeaten Spartans.
"That was probably my best game ever," Florio said. "That's definitely a great feeling."
Florio's efforts, whether it was shooting, passing or providing a calming presence in the right game, has been something the Red Devils have come to expect in recent seasons.
"He was just outstanding," Clarence coach Todd Banaszak said. "He was a great leader out there for us. He was probably the Player of the ... well, Bobby and Ryan (Funk) and Bryan (Jost) and Tanner (Schmidt), they all stepped up. I'm proud of all my guys, you can‚t single out any one of them."
Indeed, there was an entire roster full of heroes for Clarence. But with Sterling Taplin and the Spartans coming on strong, it was Florio's floor presence that was critical in the win.
As well as a huge rivalry win, Clarence also got some revenge. Less than a month earlier, Williamsville North walked into the Red Devils' gymnasium and left with an impressive win.
Florio and friends didn‚t enjoy the feeling in the locker room after that game and went to work on making amends.
"That was an awesome win," Florio said in the entrance way of a jubilant visitor's locker room at Williamsville North. "We got pounded by them when they came to our place, so it‚s always good to get redemption."
"They're definitely a great team, but with that, I think we showed we're capable of beating any team."
The Spartans didn't need long to bounce back, posting a huge win at Jamestown just two nights later. And all of a sudden, the ECIC-I race got a lot more interesting.
"That‚s a big momentum boost," Florio said. "It's definitely a good feeling to get back into the race with Jamestown and Williamsville North."
The Red Devils still trail the two top dogs by a game and catching up might not be possible even if they run the table. But the Section VI Class AA playoffs await and Clarence proved it can play with anyone in Western New York.
"The reason we coach basketball and the reason the kids play basketball is to be a part of games like that," Banaszak said. "We told the kids all along that we‚re good enough to beat that team and we proved it."