A look back at McQuaid vs. East in the 1991 Section V Class A final

(YouTube screenshot)


Much of sports television during the coronavirus pandemic has been centered on replaying classic games from the past. There’s plenty of history to draw from at the professional and collegiate levels, as many of their big games have been televised for decades. But at the high school level, if there was ever footage to begin with, it has often been lost to history.

One classic game exists in its entirety on YouTube, though: The 1991 Section V Class A boys basketball final between East High School and McQuaid Jesuit, a 62-55 Knights win over East, which was then known as the Orientals. The entire game can be viewed here, with play-by-play by Mike Catalana and color commentary from former Boston Celtics player JoJo White. The game featured future NBA player Art Long and current East High head coach Darrell Barley.

Pickin’ Splinters has watched the game in its entirety. Below, you’ll find comments on the game and embedded highlight clips. This game took place before the writer’s birth, so these thoughts come from first viewing. For others, it may be a fun trip down memory lane.

Note: The YouTube timestamps have been used to denote specific times in the broadcast, since the game clock isn’t always on the screen.

0:45 – Before the featured action even begins, quite the moment in the Class C final from earlier in the day. The broadcast shows a highlight of Clyde-Savannah’s Derrick Carnavale hitting a 3-pointer to get within one, then sinking a buzzer beater to win the title over Kendall, 71-70.

5:13 – JoJo White gives the viewers his keys to the game. For East, he wonders if center Art Long can dominate the game inside. Then he speculates as to whether McQuaid’s three 20-point scorers, Jason McKinney, Ted Naylon and Mike Montesano, are enough to outscore East. 

White also came with this beauty, referring to McQuaid’s other players: “If those two can produce tonight, I think one (team) or the other will have the edge.”

14:40 – The introduction of the starting lineups. 

For McQuaid head coach Joe Marchese: 

5-foot-10 senior Jeff Armbrister
6-foot-1 senior Ted Naylon
6-foot-4 senior Jeff Reese
6-foot-3 senior Mike Montesano
6-foot-10 senior Jason McKinney

For East head coach Sal Rizzo:

6-foot-2 senior Mark Genthner
6-foot-2 senior Carlton Burrows
6-foot-3 senior Anthony Givens
6-foot-4 junior Darrell Barley
6-foot-10 senior Art Long

21:10 – Bring back ceremonial tip-offs! Coca-Cola’s Gene Sweeney gives the ceremonial toss moments before the actual start of the game, with 6-foot-10 centers Long and McKinney jumping.

21:45 – If you want to skip ahead right to game action, this is the timestamp to do so. East High wins the opening possession to get the game underway.

22:05 – Goodness. Montesano was not fazed by the big stage. After a McQuaid steal, he steps right in and nails a 3-pointer to open the scoring. 

After his time at McQuaid, Montesano went on to score 1,759 points at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.

Burrows answered back with a 3-pointer for East almost immediately, and on the broadcast, White said, “Oh, we’ve got us a donnybrook here tonight.”

23:50 – Free throw lanes don’t look like this anymore. With Montesano at the line to shoot two, there are seven players (five East, two McQuaid) along the lane lines ready to rebound. Montesano made both foul shots to make it a moot point, tying the score at 5-all early on.

25:33 – A zoomed in shot of Marchese and his assistants on the McQuaid bench shows all the coaches wearing a boutonnière, or floral decoration, on the chest of their suit jacket. Now that’s how you dress for a championship game.

27:50 – East had yet to make an impact on the interior during the early parts of the first quarter. But here, the 6-foot-4 Barley grabs an offensive rebound and puts it back up and in. This bucket, his first field goal, brought East within 13-12.

Barley went on to become one of the best players in Canisius basketball history, and he’s now the head coach of an East team that went 45-4 the last two seasons with his sons Kaori and Damani on the roster.

28:25 – McQuaid’s 6-foot-10 center McKinney picked up his second foul with time still remaining in the first quarter. He’s been part of the reason East’s future NBA center, Long, has yet to score. McKinney gestures toward the sidelines with hand signals that meant the same thing then as they do now: ‘I’m good, coach, don’t take me out.’ Marchese subbed McKinney out anyway, subbing in Jay Wandtke.

Long immediately grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, although a held ball was called before he could shoot.

29:30 – This was just a fun first quarter sequence for East. The Orientals blocked two shots, including a volleyball-esque swat by Long. A better outlet pass may have resulted in a transition dunk.

Instead, Burrows rose up for a mid-range jumper and knocked it in before strutting backward down the court to play defense again. His shot tied the game at 15-apiece in the first quarter, and it gave Burrows a game-high eight points.

30:15 – Early on, Long’s biggest issue on the interior is consistently bringing the ball down. Especially with McKinney out, there’s no reason for the 6-foot-10 big guy to hold the ball below his waist in the lane. But he’s had two tie ups after lowering the ball from where he caught it in just the couple minutes since McKinney exited.

31:31 – Marchese takes a drink of water after Armbrister draws a charge. The water is in a futuristic-looking water bottle with a straw that somehow didn’t make it to the future. Does any such thing exist anymore? It should.

32:20 – The announcer jinx existed in 1991, too. Catalana said, “Of course, McQuaid an outstanding foul shooting team,” and Montesano proceeded to miss a free throw right away.

32:27 – Long finally found some space inside. McQuaid defended in a zone for the most part during the first quarter, and so Long found space along the baseline for a drive and reverse slam. Long scored the next time down the floor, too, on a right-handed hook shot, to give East a 19-18 lead.

At this point, I’m wondering how people ever watched games without a clock on the screen constantly. The 21st century has spoiled us, apparently.

34:49 – The first quarter ends with East leading 19-18. McQuaid missed a tough shot at the buzzer. Burrows led all scorers with eight points after one, while Montesano had seven for McQuaid.

The announcers brought up the lack of shot clock before the game, but it hasn’t been an issue at all as the teams ran up and down in the first.

35:35 – Barley established position near the basket and drew a charge. The 2020 head coach version of Barley certainly would’ve liked his younger self taking one for the team.

Barley continued the energy on the other end with an and-1 off his own offensive rebound.

36:35 – East has begun to establish itself in transition. Barley finds himself on the end of a good passing sequence for a layup. The move started off a strong rebound inside from Long, who has controlled the paint since McKinney left the game with two fouls.

37:56 – In addition to Long’s beginning to take the interior over, Barley had already gathered seven rebounds by this point, according to the broadcast. Marchese subs back in 6-foot-10 McKinney and his two fouls to deal with that inside duo. 

The first possession after McKinney re-enters, McQuaid pulls out a 1-3-1 zone with McKinney in the center of it all, surely in part to avoid him picking up a third foul having to guard Long inside. Barley scored on another offensive rebound as the third East chance of the possession, though, as the zone presented immediate rebounding issues for the Knights.

38:50 – McKinney finishes for an and-1 off a dish from Armbrister. McKinney pumps his fists as the Knights look to seize some momentum back with their big fella back on the floor.

McKinney went on to play two seasons at Siena and two seasons at Richmond, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a collegian. 

40:40 – McQuaid has started to get a few whistles in its favor. Montesano slid in position to draw a charge on the defensive end, then Naylon used a pump fake to draw contact and get to the line on the offensive end. Naylon’s two free throws tied the game at 26.

On the broadcast, White continues to emphasize that the Knights should take advantage of East’s “leapers” by using fakes or last-minute passes once the Orientals are in the air.

43:10 – After a brief spurt with McKinney out of the game, Long hasn’t imposed his will much at all in the second quarter. A portion of that seems to be because he’s at the start of East’s fastbreaks and not at the finish, but McQuaid has done a good job of keeping the future NBA player away from the basket on his catches.

44:30 – Barley picks up his third foul of the first half. He’d been East’s most effective player during the second quarter, but he takes a seat and seems unlikely to return before halftime.

45:05 – Burrows has a deadeye mid-range jumper early on in this one. He gets up to 12 points on the game midway through the second quarter with a swished shot from the left wing to put East up three points. 

If this game took place in 2020, one might wonder whether Burrows was taking the best shots as he continued to rise up from just inside the 3-point line. But they keep going in.

45:20 – With McQuaid’s point guard Armbrister on the bench, East shifts out of man-to-man into a zone for seemingly the first time. The Orientals extend the pressure on the other Knights guards, but McQuaid almost immediately gets a wide open 3-point attempt. Seems like man-to-man should come back in short order for East, but the zone does persist on the ensuing trips down the floor with a foul trouble coming into play.

Stick around for the free throws that follow this possession — there are eight people along the foul lane plus the shooter!

48:30 – With 1:26 until halftime and no shot clock, East set up to try and pass the ball around and hold for the last shot. McQuaid eventually brought pressure. The first 20 seconds of this sequence were as good an argument for a shot clock as any. East just passed the ball back and forth between three players near halfcourt, not exactly exhilarating stuff.

McQuaid gets the ball back with 46 seconds until halftime. Let’s see if they hold for the last shot now, too.

51:30 – At the end of a frenetic sequence, Montesano misses the half’s final shot. East takes a 38-32 lead into halftime. 

“McQuaid should feel fortunate they’re down just six at halftime,” Catalana said on the broadcast.

1:03:15 – Halftime included a few interviews and a few highlights, but if you want to jump right to the second half, this is the timestamp to do so. Two surprising first-half stats the viewers are given right before action resumes: Long scored just four points in the first half, and McKinney didn’t grab a single rebound.

1:05:30 – East has expanded its lead to eight points and continues to stick on a zone defensively in an effort to avoid foul trouble. The zone does ensure that Long and Barley are near the rim to defend with their length, and on McQuaid’s ensuing possession, East gets a stop inside thanks to those two big guys.

For McQuaid to get back into the game, the two likeliest routes are creating foul trouble for Long and Barley, or by hitting outside shots.

1:07:00 – Burrows misses an initial jumper but sneaks around for the steal and lay-in after the rebound. The bucket puts East up, 42-32, midway through the third quarter. The Knights have yet to score in the second half, and Burrows is up to 16 points.

The 10-point lead would be East’s largest of the ballgame.

1:07:30 – McKinney scored inside on a hook shot, then Reese grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. Maybe McQuaid will find room inside that wasn’t there previously to work its way back into the game.

East used a timeout with 4:57 remaining in the third quarter, leading 42-35. McKinney scored again out of the break, this time on a short jumper.

1:10:10 – Naylon catches a pass from Armbrister, pump fakes, takes a dribble and swishes a jumper to bring McQuaid within three.

“That’s what Ted Naylon does best, puts the ball on the court and hits that nice jump shot,” Catalana said on the broadcast.

Naylon continued his basketball career at the University of Rochester after high school.

1:11:40 – Some controversy here with East’s lead down to just a lone point. The Orientals nabbed a steal and went on a fastbreak. An initial miss is followed up by a Long putback. From the broadcast camera angle, it appears the ball was off the rim when Long touched it, but offensive basket interference was called to wave off the make.

On the replay, White remains convinced it was the right call. Looks very close, for sure. Could’ve slowed McQuaid’s momentum a little bit if it counted.

1:12:20 – Naylon’s “got the hand” is how White put it. The guard nails a triple from the left corner, and after trailing by 10 just minutes earlier, McQuaid is into the lead by two with a couple minutes left in the third.

After East scored the first bucket of the second half, McQuaid had gone on a 12-2 run to take a 44-42 lead. Chad Thomas does temporarily tie it at the other end right away, though.

1:13:20 – Ted Naylon, goodness. The high-school 3-point line is the shorter one on the floor, but Naylon doesn’t care. He drains another triple, this one from beyond the professional line on the right wing. McQuaid goes up 47-44.

1:14:00 – The viewers get a cool look inside a very fired up McQuaid huddle here. “Defense is gonna win it,” Marchese said.

1:17:20 – East takes the lead back once more. Rizzo used a timeout with 29 seconds remaining in the third to draw up a lob for Long. That didn’t connect, but the ball eventually found his way to Barley, who scored to go up 48-47. 

Then right before the final buzzer, Genthner gets out alone on a break off a steal and makes a layup. At the end of three, East leads 50-47. The game seems set to be decided on the success of McQuaid’s half-court offense versus East’s transition offense in the fourth.

1:18:45 – Montesano set up Naylon immediately for a shorter jumper to open the fourth quarter’s scoring and bring McQuaid within one. As a team with three 20-point per game scorers, the Knights were always going to need a push from their top dogs, and Naylon is in the midst of providing that.

1:19:25 – Future East head coach Darrell Barley was dominant on the interior in this game. He gets another putback rebound early in the fourth for the Orientals.

That work on the glass became a big part of Barley’s identity at Canisius as well, where he averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in four years to go with 16.9 points per game.

1:20:50 – The biggest downfall for East so far in the second half has been failing to convert consistently in transition. McQuaid has missed a decent amount of shots even while coming back, but the Orientals have either not grabbed the defensive rebound or thrown the ball inaccurately on the break.

For the first 25-plus minutes of this game, East has felt like the better team with just a few spurts from McQuaid, but the Orientals’ lack of finishing off opportunities is setting up to hurt them.

1:22:15 – McKinney follows up on the glass, where he’s been strong in the second half after no rebounds in the first half. McKinney ended up grabbing 11 boards after halftime.

The putback gives McQuaid the lead, 53-52. Genthner made one of two foul shots to tie it at 53 shortly after and set up a thrilling finish in the sectional final with 4:45 to play.

1:30:18 – For all the limited impact Long had on the offensive end in this game, he dominated defensively. His blocked and altered shots kept East in the game the whole night. With 2:06 to play, Long’s block kept the Orientals within 55-53.

A tough offensive foul call on Barley gave the ball back to McQuaid, though. “The calls have been going all McQuaid’s way,” White said on the broadcast.

1:31:25 – McQuaid looked to work the clock with no shot clock, so East pressured the ball. The extra pressure meant that Montesano could penetrate and kick to an open Naylon on the right wing. 

As you’d expect after the second half he’d already had, Naylon hit nothing but net with what turned out to be the dagger in putting McQuaid up 58-53 with about a minute and a half left.

Montesano set up Naylon the next time down the floor after breaking East’s press, too, all but sealing the victory.

1:36:36 – The broadcast announces before the final buzzer that Ted Naylon would be the tournament MVP. Naylon finished with 27 points.

1:38:10 – Cue the McQuaid celebrations. The Knights had won this title four and three years earlier, then East entered having won the last two. McQuaid pulled out a 62-55 win to bring the trophy back to S. Clinton Ave.

One Response to "A look back at McQuaid vs. East in the 1991 Section V Class A final"

  1. Tee Naylon   April 17, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you Billy. No one appreciated that write up than me. Years earlier I watched Greg Woodard on Channnel 13 around 1988 and my goal was to do the same. Still one of my favorite life moments was beating East on TV in front of a packed War Memorial where they had beat us just the year before ( also known a s the riot game, where East kids and McQ kids fought in the stands).
    Thanks for the time you put in to this it made my day and I’m going to make sure i share it with my parents.

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