In a dramatic, final-minute comeback, the #11 Villa Vikings defeated the #3 Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades 69-66.
The Vikings, who trailed by as many as 7 multiple times in the second half, were down by 5 when freshman forward Gerald Bibbs forced an offensive rebound and scored 2 of his game-high 23 points to cut the deficit to 3 with 1:38 left.
With 50 seconds left, and a deficit of 1, Villa forced a turnover. Waters scored a three-point-play to put Villa ahead 68-66 for the first time since the conclusion of the first half.
The Vikings forced a miss on the ensuing possession and sophomore guard Jayson Moore secured the win with a free throw. Villa has won 6 of its last 7 games, and 3 straight.
This win is particularly notable for Head Coach Don Silveri, as it is his 600th career win. Silveri, who also serves as the College’s athletic director, Silveri, believes this win is more important for his team than it is for him.
“It’s not about 600, it’s about these kids and them believing they could come back and win this game even when things weren’t going our way,” he said. “This game was so important coming in. Our kids knew it, and they responded. I’m so proud of them. This win can hopefully propel us to bigger things season.”
This win brings Silveri’s coaching full circle, as his first coaching job in 1976 was with Villa. He has coached for more than 38 years and has played an instrumental role in re-building Villa Maria’s athletic program, which was relaunched nearly two years ago.
Prior to his second stint at Villa, Silveri served as head coach for men’s basketball at Daemen College for 25 years, and was the director of athletics for 12 years. Under his guidance, Daemen’s athletic department expanded from 2 sports to a full 14-sport program, and the men’s basketball team won over 400 games, including 5 conference championships and 5 national tournament appearances.
Before his time at Daeman, Silveri was the head men’s basketball coach at Erie Community College, leading the Kats to NJCAA national tournament 3 times in his 4 year tenure. Between 1980 and 1982, he worked under local coaching legend Dick Bihr at Buffalo State College, and was head coach of Villa’s men’s basketball team from 1976 to 1980. Silveri is Western New York’s winningest coach and has received 6 NAIA Division II Conference “Coach of the Year” awards. In October of 2016, Silveri was elected to the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
For more information on the Villa Vikings, visit www.villavikings.com.