By Steve Svetovich
The Holy Cross Crusaders splendid basketball season ended in a hard fight.
The Crusaders lost, 69-64, to Constitution, Saturday, March 24, in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals at Freedom High School.
Holy Cross rallied back from a 21-point halftime deficit in the contest, but fell a little short.
Pat Galvin put on quite a show for the Crusaders, scoring more than half of his team’s points. Galvin, always a scrapper, scored 33 points for the Crusaders in the loss.
He scored 27 points in the second half.
Jabari Merritt scored 10 of his team leading 20 points in the fourth quarter as the district 12 runner-up Generals (20-11) advanced to the championship game in Hershey for the second consecutive year.
The loss ended a 20-game winning streak for Holy Cross (23-7).
Holy Cross veteran coach Al Callejas said he has never been prouder of any group of kids he ever coached.
It was a Cinderella story all season for the Crusaders who played above expectations. But the team, itself, always had big expectations.
And it will go down as one of the best seasons of coaching for Callejas. And he’s had many.
The Crusaders got off to a rocky start in the contest, missing their first 10 shots and 14-of-16 in the first quarter along with committing six turnovers.
Then Holy Cross made its run in the second half.
Galvin went on a shooting spree from all ends of the court. A 3-pointer he hit capped a 13-0 spurt for the Crusaders bringing his team to within six points at 40-34 with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
Constitution led, 46-40, after three quarters.
Then layups by Kieran Burrier and Galvin to open the fourth quarter brought the deficit to only two.
Constitution scored the next eight points, but the Crusaders responded with a 7-0 burst. Five of those points came on free throws by the spunky Galvin.
The gap was only 54-51 with 4:02 to go.
But two consecutive 3-point plays by Merritt sparked an 8-0 Constitution run as the Crusaders began to run out of gas.
But the Crusaders had something left in the tank.
A 7-0 Holy Cross run brought the score to 62-58, with 1:48 left.
However, Jahmir Marable-Williams scored Constitution’s final seven points, including a steal and lay-up with 27.2 seconds left to seal the win.
The Crusaders simply ran out of time.
Tyler Mozeleski scored 12 points and hauled down 13 rebounds for Holy Cross.
Burrier added nine points, but sat out the final four minutes due to a possible concussion.
The Crusaders defeated Math, Civics, and Science, 71-58, in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal Saturday, March 17, at Liberty High School.
Mozeleski scored 26 points, including five 3-pointers, in the win. He added 11 rebounds.
Galvin scored 20 points. Burrier totaled 12 points. Tom Montefour chipped in with 10 points and five assists for the Crusaders.
Holy Cross defeated Bishop McCort, 61-39, in the second round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs Wednesday, March 14, at Cumberland Valley High School.
Galvin put together a huge all-around effort in the contest, scoring a team high 17 points and adding four rebounds, three assists and seven key steals.
Burrier and Declan Tokash added 13 points each in the win.
The Crusaders easily defeated Northeast Bradford, 71-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs Saturday, March 10, at the Marywood University Insalaco Arena.
Burrier led the Crussders with 20 points in the win. Caleb Callejas scored 14 points off the bench.
It will be a season to remember for the tough Crusaders.