Coach Troy Lassial â08, Mâ10 and his team

Troy and the Boys

Canton High School Boys Basketball Coach Troy Lassial ’08, M’10 Takes the Team to State Finals

Beth Spadaccini ’11

When the canton high School boys varsity basketball team listed “winning the league and the overall Section X Championship” as their season goals prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, Head Coach Troy Lassial ’08, M’10 erased it and wrote two words on the white board: state championship.  

“I thought we were going to be good enough and that we had enough talent. We could win it,” Lassial said. “From that point on, you could see the mindset of the guys change. As we kept playing, we kept getting better, and we kind of hit our stride right at the end of the year.”

Lassial played football and baseball at St. Lawrence and served as a graduate assistant coach for the football team while pursuing his master’s degree. Though he never played basketball at St. Lawrence, he operated the scoreboard for three seasons. 

“Being around the basketball program while I was here was important,” he said. “I was right there, next to the bench and had the ability to watch Chris Downs (St. Lawrence head men’s basketball coach) and listen to what he was saying. That’s kind of where it all started.” Lassial also worked the St. Lawrence basketball camp with Downs for the last seven years and this year’s team included coach Downs’ son, Andy, along with other St. Lawrence faculty and staff family members.  

“Troy and the Boys,” as they became known around Canton, put together a Cinderella-type run in the playoffs. Ranked 10th among the state’s Class B schools heading into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA) tournament, the team advanced to the state championship game before falling to Westhill 80-62. Canton won the school’s first Class B Championship and its first overall Section X Championship since 1996.

The community was with them every step of the way. 

“We had Canton alumni who donated fan buses to bring more students down [to the state championships] and someone donated Nike jackets for the guys,” Lassial explained. “To see the people in different places downtown watching our games on television … the community support was unbelievable. The guys were extremely grateful.”

Not only did the Golden Bears bring busloads of fans to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton for the Final Four, “Troy and the Boys” was proudly displayed on the marquee of American Theatre in downtown Canton. Fans also wrote “Go Bears” in plastic cups on the fence of Lassial’s home. 

Lassial added, “The community really embraced what we were doing and everyone that did something for us was tremendous in their effort to give these guys the best experience that they could get.”