By Steve Svetovich
Holy Cross senior guard Kieran Burrier is known for his scrappy and clutch performance on the basketball court.
And it was his hustling and confident style that helped lead his team to its first Lynett Memorial Basketball Tournament title since 2008.
Burrier, 18, led the Crusaders with 22 points and added seven assists and six rebounds in his team’s Lynett Tournament semifinal win, 61-58, over Scranton Friday, December 27, at the Lackawanna College Student Union.
But it was in the Lynett Tournament final Sunday, December 29, at the Lackawanna Student Union that Burrier came up with his biggest clutch play.
With the scored knotted 54-54, Scranton Prep had the basketball in the closing seconds. A Prep shot caromed off the backboard towards the Cavalier bench.
“I felt no one was going to get that ball, but me,” Burrier said.
And he did. The senior stalwart corralled the basketball by the Prep bench and was fouled with close to one second left. Burrier made his foul shot as the Crusaders took a 55-54 lead. He let his next free throw attempt roll of the rim forcing Prep to take a full court shot which missed. The Crusaders had a 55-54 win and the Lynett title, unseating Prep and its six-year run.
Burrier scored 13 points plus added six assists and five rebounds in the title win. Caleb Callejas led the Crusaders with 23 points.
Son of Danielle and Shawon Burrier, Kieran’s brother Braden, 21, played football at Scranton Prep and is currently a student at Marywood University. Braden also was a very good basketball player in various youth leagues.
Kieran has 996 career points at press time and is expected to score his 1,000th career point in a home game against Old Forge, Tuesday, January 7.
He is averaging over 13 points and close to five assists per game this season.
The senior stalwart has an impressive 3.7 academic average and is a member of the National Honor Society at Holy Cross.
The scholar-athlete is a four-year member of the Holy Cross basketball team and said he will study pharmacy at Wilkes University next year. He added that basketball at Wilkes is a possibility.
He talked about what it takes to excel at the guard position in high school basketball. “You need to be scrappy and aggressive,” Kieran said. “That’s how I play the game. You also need to be a good play maker and have a high basketball IQ. You need to know what to do with the ball.”
Always a battler on the court, Kieran said it was a great feeling winning the Lynett Tournament. “I played with and against many of the guys on Prep’s team, so it was a special feeling beating them. They were the champions for the past six years, so it is a big thrill beating them in my senior year. We gave our all and finished with a feeling of elation.”
Kieran said he has learned a lot from veteran Holy Cross basketball coach Al Callejas. “He stresses discipline, respect and hard work. Respect others and always work very hard.”
The scrappy guard said his parents taught him something very simple, but meaningful. “Just to be myself everyday.”
Kieran, whose best academic subjects are math and chemistry, said he enjoys listening to music and would like see rapper Post Malone in concert.
He talked about the reason for his team’s success thus far this season. “It it because of coaching, preparation and focusing on playing together as a team.”
And his future goals? “I want to help this basketball team win the league and district title and then go as far as possible in the states. I want to help our team improve game by game. Then I want to go on in college and become a pharmacist. I will keep playing basketball if I can.”