By Steve Svetovich
Holy Cross Crusaders sophomore basketball forward Matt Lyons has steadily improved his game this season.
At press time, he was a big factor in the Crusaders winning 15 of its first 20 games under veteran coach Al Callejas.
Son of Mark and Eileen Lyons, Matt has picked up on his scoring as the season progressed. He is often in double figures.
“I have been playing more inside,” he said. “I’ve been getting more rebounds and scoring more scrap points off the boards.”
The sophomore stalwart contributed 10 points in his team’s 51-50 win over Dunmore Friday, Feb. 10. Teammates Hayden Hosie and Gabe Gonzales scored 11 points each. Gonzales hit the winner for Holy Cross on a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left.
Matt, 16, has an impressive 3.9 academic average at Holy Cross. His favorite academic subject is history.
The sophomore scholar-athlete said he learned a lot from his parents.
“They teach me to stay humble and treat people with respect.”
Humble in nature, Matt was the recipient of the Presidential Service Award last year. The award goes to a student with at least 100 hours of community service.
Matt is also a member of the Holy Cross track and field team. He performs in all three jumping events and qualified for districts in the high jump.
He praised coach Callejas who was honored in a home court ceremony recently for his own personal fight with cancer. “He is beating it and that’s why they held the ceremony for him,” said Matt, “It was a nice tribute to him. He continues to be at every practice and every game. He is doing well.
He teaches us to never give up. If you never give up, you can do anything.”
The talented sophomore made the Holy Cross varsity basketball team as a freshman, but suffered a fractured left wrist early on. He came back in time for the district playoffs. He is as strong as ever this season.
He talked about the success of the team this season. “It’s all about teamwork, trusting each other ,and finding the open man. We’ve been doing that. No one plays selfish on this team.”
He talked about future goals. “In basketball, we want to win district and state titles. Those are the only goals. As far as academics, I want to continue to do my best and eventually decide what I will do after high school.”
Matt, whose favorite musical artist is Drake, is the grandson of late legendary Scranton Prep basketball coach Jack Farrell.
“I wish my grandfather was still living, so he could see me play. I know he would have loved seeing me on the court.”
Matt said he is enjoying his experience at Holy Cross High School. “It’s been a very good experience,” he said. “The school was very welcoming to me as a freshman. It’s carried over into my sophomore year.”