Joe Wolf has been the athletics director at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute since 1966. In that time, he’s seen some of the most talented high school basketball teams in Western New York history.

So where does the 2005-06 version of the Marauders rank?

“They’re up there,” Wolf said. “I’ve seen a lot of teams and this is the quickest team I’ve ever seen.”

Wolf has also been impressed by the Marauders’ ability to defend and execute in transition.

“I’ve seen them play some tremendous basketball,” he said.

Saturday’s loss to Peekskill marked the fifth time St. Joe’s has reached the Federation tournament. Unfortunately for the Marauders, they’ve yet to bring home a title.

Before Saturday’s game, St. Joe’s last appearance in the Federation tournament came in 2004. In that year, St. Joe’s came as close to the title as possible.

The Marauders, led by seniors Tim Spitler and Pat Washington, lost 77-73 in the final to Jamesville-Dewitt in a game that went to overtime.

Independent league state champion Lawrence Woodmere Academy, which appeared in the Federation tournament for the third straight year, got a free pass to the finals while St. Joe’s and Peekskill battled in a semifinal contest.

The reason?

The Public Schools Athletic League of New York City doesn’t have any schools that qualify for Class A, so there’s no champion crowned.

As a result, the champions of the three other athletic associations: New York State Public High School, state Catholic High School, and state Association of Independent Schools rotate the bye into the finals of the Federation tournament.

Just as the last name Kennedy is synonymous with American politics, the name Spitler relates to basketball at St. Joe’s.

In attendance at Friday’s game was Mark Spitler, the father of senior Ben and sophomore Matt.

Mark’s brother Ken was also in attendance.

Ken is the father of four sons (Chris, Pat, Andrew and Tim), all of whom wore the maroon and white and then went on to play collegiate ball.

Of course, Ken and Mark also played for St. Joe’s.

Confused yet? Me too.

The trip to Glens Falls goes through Saratoga Springs, one of the prettiest areas in New York.

From Saratoga, it’s another 20 minutes up I-87 to Glens Falls.

Coach Mark Simon and the Marauders decided to just stay in Saratoga, but they weren’t there for the sights.

Simon explained that the accommodations in Saratoga were simply nicer for the team.

A look through the Federation tournament record books doesn’t turn up many St. Joe’s names.

Just one to be exact.

Former Marauder Eric Eberz holds the record for most field goals over the 2-day course of the tournament for Class B, hitting 27 in 1992. At the time, St. Joe’s was classified as a Class B school.

Contact Jay Skurski at 693-1000, Ext. 117.

Trending Video

Recommended for you