WHITE PLAINS — Keio has one of the more loyal fan bases in Section 1. Typically a sea of red shirts and sweaters, the Unicorns bring a decent crowd to most of their games for all sports.
Crowd support at Tuesday’s Section 1 Class C semifinal against Tuckahoe? Nothing.
Actually there was one student filming the game at the Westchester County Center, but other than that, none of Keio’s student body was in attendance for its 42-30 win over the Tigers.
“I used it as motivation. I said, ‘Listen, you want a fan bus, you want to play in front of your friends? Take care of business (Tuesday) against Tuckahoe and you’ll get it,” Unicorns coach Justin Loeb said.
The County Center is not an unfamiliar surrounding for No. 3 Keio, which advanced to its second title game in four years. The Unicorns will face No. 1 Haldane on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Unicorns have upped their win total each year since Loeb took over four years ago, improving to 12-7 this year.
Swingman Sae Toyomura paced the Unicorns, tallying seven points, seven assists and four rebounds in the first half alone. The senior finished with game-highs of 14 points, nine assists, six rebounds and six steals.
“I had a tough time getting my 3-point shot off,” Toyomura said.
Brionna Johnson led the Tigers with 12 points and nine rebounds.
A team that won just one game five years ago, Keio will go for its first gold ball on Friday.
“Every year we’ve won more and more games,” Loeb said. “We’ve gotten better and better and better and we’ve been in (the County Center) the last four years.
“They’ve definitely achieved more than I thought, and that goes to their hard work. I coach them hard, they work hard and that’s like anything, it pays off.”
Written by: Mike Zacchio
Photo credit: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News
(Editor’s note: There was no photographer at this game; obviously these are from the Jan. 30 contest vs. Nanuet)