Hoopsters Unable to Steal the Game from Holy Cross
Jesuit 58 – Holy Cross 64
On Friday night, the Jesuit basketball team endured its first district loss at the hands of the Holy Cross Tigers, 64-58. At many points in the contest, the team seemed poised to steal the game from the Tigers, but each time, Holy Cross fended off the attack with near-immaculate 3-point shooting.
The theme was constant – it was simply Holy Cross’s night. Holy Cross shot the 3-point ball at 62%, compared to Jesuit’s 19%. Each quarter was the same story. Excellent shooting would send Holy Cross out in front, Jesuit would then wake up on defense to narrow the lead, but Holy Cross would double down to regain their advantage by the end of the period.
“The whole thing was defense,” said Jesuit’s head basketball coach, Chris Jennings ’78. “Holy Cross had a very good night tonight, and we learned that we need to be able to play much harder and not make mistakes, especially on defense, when things get challenging. Anyone can be excited to play when things are going well, but good teams find a way to stay hungry even when things aren’t going their way.”
Be that as it may, the mid-quarter flurries by the Blue Jays were impressive. They were just not enough to steal the game. Each quarter seemed like just that. Despite their setbacks on offense, the Jays literally stole their way back into the quarter. Jesuit forced 25 Holy Cross turnovers, compared to just 13 of their own. They amassed 16 steals, which ties season-high performances against Mandeville and Slidell.
After trailing by seven at halftime, the Jesuit deficit was extended to 11 points by the 5-minute mark of the 3rd Quarter. Then things turned around. Junior Elijah Morgan hit a 3-pointer from the corner. A Zach DeBlieux steal led to a Morgan layup at the other end. Then Will Landrieu hit another long range ball from the same corner, and just like that the Jays were within three points, all in the span of a minute and a half. Another steal, this time by Morgan, and a completed layup got the Jays within one point, but Holy Cross went on a run of their own to end the quarter ahead by six.
In the 4th Quarter, the Jays began to rely on a shot other than the 3-pointer –the foul shot. Jesuit was in the double-bonus because of Holy Cross foul trouble, and consistency from the charity stripe brought the Jays twice within three points. In the last two minutes of play, though, the Tigers made key shots that helped them pull away for good.
Elijah Morgan led all scorers and defenders with 27 points and five steals. Noah Varnado added 10 points in the effort.
The challenge for the team moving forward is consistency on defense. The spurts of effort kept the Jays in this game, but effort throughout future games will help them come away with victory. The team is now 13-4 (2-1) as they look ahead this week to Brother Martin and Shaw. The Brother Martin game is at home on Tuesday night, and the Shaw game is away on Friday. Tip-off for both games is set for 7:00 PM.