Monday, January 30, 2023

Texidor hits seven 3-pointers to lead VASJ to regional finals

Villa Angela-St. Joseph senior captain Simon Texidor sometimes gets overlooked because of his teammates that already have Division I scholarships locked up.

There was no overlooking the talented 6-foot-3 guard’s outside shooting prowess during an 88-48 Division III regional semi win over Massillon Tuslaw at the Canton Fieldhouse on March 18.

And if Texidor’s show-stopping performance in which he knocked down seven 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 23 points wasn’t enough to leave a lasting impression, just take a look in the Vikings record book.

Texidor hit his first 3 of the game, which gave him 148 career triples, breaking the school record previously held by Karlton Garner. Texidor now has 154 3-pointers in his career, but more important to the perimeter marksman, he and VASJ now have a chance at a third straight trip to the final four in Columbus.

VASJ (20-4) looks to secure its third straight trip to the state tournament when the Vikings face Youngstown Ursuline on March 21 at 7 p.m. The Fighting Irish defeated Canton Central Catholic, 55-45, in their regional semifinal in the first game of the night at the Canton Fieldhouse.

VASJ won the Division IV state title in 2013 and were D-III runner-up in 2014.

“It was just one of those games tonight,” Texidor said. “It was a big game, a regional
semifinal, and the next step we had to take to reach our goal of a state championship so it felt good.

“All the credit goes to my teammates for getting me the ball, especially (point guard) Mo Johnson.”

Johnson had 10 assists in the first half, many of them setting up Texidor, who responded with five 3 in the opening 16 minutes of play to lead VASJ to a commanding 46-21 edge at halftime.

The Vikings remained focused, blitzing Tuslaw in the third quarter, 29-7. In the third, Texidor hit two more 3s and had one rim out, but he still emphatically got the school record and helped his squad roll into the elite eight.

“Simon is as talented as anyone we have. He is just so talented at shooting the basketball,” VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak said.

“I can’t think of a better young man to have the record (career 3s). That one might stay up there for a while. He has been shooting like that and making big shots for three years. And when he gets going like he did tonight, the kids feel it and it is impossible for him to take a bad shot.”

Dererk Pardon, who scored 15 points for VASJ, anchored a defensive unit that was suffocating until the backups allowed 20 points in the fourth. Brian Parker added 12 and Jeff Grudzinski chipped in 11 for the Vikings.

“The guy that has been locked in is Dererk Pardon,” Kwasniak said. “He’s just been absolutely locked in. Just his mentality, the way he’s been in practice. Everyone is being very jovial, but Dererk hasn’t smiled in three days and I love it. … I just don’t think he feels like losing much.”

As for the next opponent, Kwasniak spoke glowingly of the Fighting Irish and said Ursuline reminds him of another postseason foe from last March.

“I’ve said this all year long, and I don’t like to look ahead – of any team that reminds me of (D-III state champ) Lima Central Catholic other than Lima Central Catholic, it’s them,” he said. “They’re guard-oriented, they shoot the daylights out of it, I think they’re very well-coached. I didn’t get to watch many of their games, but I was hoping they’d have their shooting game like that on Saturday. They didn’t shoot it tonight like they normally do. They’re great.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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