FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - The Lake Erie College versus the University of Findlay men's basketball game saw a reunion between former teammates and St. John's grads Austin Gardner, Gabe Kynard and Harrison Riggs.
A night that was much more than a basketball game, it was a showing of just how strong the St. John's brotherhood is.
"Before the game people don't realize we're talking to each other, we're hanging out, we're texting each other before the game, and it's the comradery that St. John's brings, and it's a brotherhood that will last a lifetime," said Austin Gardner, former Titan and current Findlay Oiler senior. "Even in college when you're away and you're three hours away from each other, we still got that friendship that bond, and video chat and on the court too, that back-and-forth with each other, it's just fun, it's exciting and I'm glad to see Gabe and Harrison doing well."
"It just speaks to St. John's and what we do over there," said Gabe Kynard, former Titan and current Lake Erie Storm sophomore. "We just produce college athletes and good guys. We all still communicate and talk to each other, we're all good friends, it's just nice to play with each other."
"It's cool, I never got to play with Austin in high school, but I was there in the academy in middle school, growing up watching him play, it was cool to finally play against him," said Harrison Riggs, former Titan and current Lake Erie Storm freshman. "I played a couple years with Gabe, I've known him for a long time so it's pretty cool for all three of us to be on the floor at the same time."
Even St. John's Head Coach Ed Heintschel and Titans assistant coach Mike Schoen were in the stands looking on.
"I was really proud of them and happy for them," Heintschel said. "Each one has worked extremely hard, I mean, really, really hard to get here and play at the collegiate level."
And both had the chance to talk with all three of their former players after the game, something that only added to the night.
"He cares a lot about his guys and it's not just a coaching thing with him, it's about developing relationships," Riggs said. "Even though he's really busy, he tries his best to go out and watch all the guys that have played in years past, so it was good to see him tonight."
In addition to seeing their former coaches, all three say it was also fun to see some of the same tendencies they've come to expect from their former teammates.
"Coach Ernst was even reminding me, he was like, 'What's Gabe like to do?' And I was like, 'Well I kind of remember', and I got his game sort of figured out in some areas," Gardner said. "I guarded him the first time we played this year, I didn't this time with the different match-ups, but I'm still helping with the scouting report."
Findlay is ranked 15th in the country. The Oilers got the 107-86 win, and with that, they clinch the GMAC regular season title.
Leading the way for Findlay was Martyce Kimbrough with a game-high 29 points. Taren Sullivan had 16, Tommy Schmock had 11 and Austin Gardner added in 6.
For Lake Erie, Brogan Scott had a team-high 17 points, Gabe Kynard had 15, Lamont Rhodes had 12, Jordan Humphrey had 10 and Harrison Riggs added in 8.
Findlay's next game is Tuesday, February 13 at home with Cedarville. Tip-off at 6 p.m.
Lake Erie's next game is Saturday, February 10 at Hillsdale College. Tip-off at 3 p.m.