Basketball Playoff Hopes Cut Short by Crusaders
Jesuit 45, Brother Martin 56
The Blue Jay basketball team endured a season-ending defeat to Brother Martin on Saturday, Feb. 25, in the first round of the LHSAA state playoffs.
Brother Martin jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but balanced scoring from seniors Collin Kulivan (20) and Will Hillery (24), along with junior Drew Black (34), narrowed Jesuit’s first quarter deficit to three points, 11-8.
In the second quarter, Drew Black had the hot hand, as Brother Martin scrambled to find an answer to the big man’s post play. The Jays took the lead 12-11 with 5:37 left to play in the quarter, and were able to maintain the one point advantage going into halftime, 20-19.
Coming out of the locker room in the third period, it was Elijah Morgan’s turn to shine, as the all-district sophomore drained back-to-back three-pointers in the first minutes of play to extend Jesuit’s lead. The Jays led 28-23 with four minutes to play in the quarter.
The next Jesuit bucket didn’t come until seven seconds were left in the third, after Brother Martin had scored 14 unanswered points. Missed free throws and turnovers were costly for the Jays, and Brother Martin executed their full court trap defense to perfection. The score at the end of the third quarter was 37-30, with the Crusaders ahead.
Although the fourth quarter saw some inspired play from sophomore Noah Varnado (23), the deficit was too great to recover from, and the Jays ended their season in the 56-45 loss.
“We just didn’t handle Brother Martin’s strengths well enough to get a victory,” said Coach Chris Jennings ’78. “But this game is not the way I will remember these guys. They have been great teammates to each other and a great team. The season has been a great thing to be a part of with this special group of guys.”
The basketball team finished with a 17-15 overall record, 6-6 in district.