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The Knights' first-half run keyed the team's first league win of the season in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan opener for both teams Friday night in Fresh Meadows.
"When we have five guys contributing, we're going to be hard to beat," said Holy Cross coach Paul Gilvary after the victory. "You don't want to let [the Terriers] get into a rhythm. They're a very disciplined team."
The Knights came into the game riding high, winner of nine of their first 10 games. St. Francis Prep was struggling to stay above .500 in the preseason. Still, the longstanding neighborhood rivalry seemed to give the Terriers more bite than bark in the early going.
Prep big man Rashad Bell got his team on the board first, as the two squads exchanged baskets through the first five minutes of the game. E.J. Kapella's basket at 2:25 gave Prep a 12-10 lead, but Cross responded right away. Michael Howell hit back-to-back baskets and Chris Fileti nailed a three to put the visiting Knights back ahead 17-12 with less than a minute to play.
Bell converted the conventional three-point play and Adam Frederic did the same for Cross, making the score 20-15 with 12.4 seconds remaining. But Prep got two quick scores, as Mike Devardo hit for two with 5.6 remaining and Kevin White stole the subsequent inbound pass and laid it up at the buzzer to pull Prep within one, 20-19.
"I thought offensively we played well in the first quarter, [but not defensively]," Gilvary said. "We had 20 and we finish the quarter and they end up with 19."
The Knights clamped down defensively and began to hit almost every shot they put up. Joe Marino's two threes sandwiching a Fileti fastbreak basket kicked off the quarter, as Cross jumped out to a quick nine-point lead.
After Bell missed a shot for Prep, Sean Wallace hit for two, forcing Prep coach Tim Leary to call a timeout and try to regroup. But it didn't help.
Miguel Gonzalez fought and won a loose ball battle, finding an open Fileti, who converted the goal despite being fouled. Fileti's free throw continued the onslaught. Another turnover by Prep led to a Fileti three-pointer, which was immediately followed by a Wallace steal and dish to Gonzalez, who scored the basket.
Neither team scored for the next two minutes, but Frederic's basket at the 3:06 mark was the last of the Knights' 20-0 run to start the quarter. Prep's Rich Henderson hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe at 2:59 to finally put the Terriers on the board in the second.
Bell hit 4-of-5 from the line before Fileti hit a jumper just inside the arc to end the first half.
What had been a competitive game through the first quarter was now a 42-24 blowout at the half.
"We have the ability to do that sometimes," Gilvary said. "We worked to push it. It was a better quarter than I thought."
Cross maintained its dominance through the third quarter, opening the second half on a 10-3 run capped by a Howell three-pointer. But the Terriers fought back to make the game respectable.
Trailing by 18 heading into the fourth quarter, 63-45, St. Francis slowly chipped away at the Cross lead, mostly from the foul line. But the closest the Terriers would get was 13, when Chris Lanci nailed a three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
Perhaps the key to the game was the Knights' ability to harass Bell under the basket. Whenever the 6-foot-6 senior out of Hollis got the ball down low he was engulfed by Cross defenders. Bell ended up with a team-high 23, but had only five field goals in the game and just one in the second half.
"He's a tremendous player but basketball's five-on-five," Gilvary said.
White added 18 for the Terriers and Lanci had 12.
The Knights finished with four players in double figures, led by Fileti with 29, Marino with 16, Howell with 11 and Wallace with 10.
Next up for Cross, following a Tuesday match-up against Bishop Loughlin, is the Jimmy V High School Challenge at the LaSalle Institute in upstate Troy. The Knights will play three games in the tournament, the first against Rhode Island's Bishop Hendricken.
St. Raymond's 83, Christ the King 58. Peedy Nelson led the Royals with 17 points in Sunday's battle of perennial CHSAA powerhouses, but it wasn't nearly enough, as the Hawks of St. Ray's dominated Christ the King from the outset. Julius Hodge led St. Ray's with 27 points and Chris McRae added 17 points and 10 boards. The loss dropped CK to 4-6.
Holy Cross 84, McClancy 77. Joe Marino had 26, Chris Fileti had 19 and Sean Wallace had 12 as the Knights defeated the Crusaders Sunday afternoon. Joe Vargas had 20, Tremaine Stevens had 16 and Kevin Bishop added eight for McClancy. The Knights raised their record to 10-1 overall and 2-0 in league play with the victory.
Monsignor McClancy 68, St. Anthony's 52. Tremaine Stevens led the Crusaders with 17 points - 13 in the second half - as McClancy won this non-league encounter in the Nassau/Queens Classic at St. Dominic High School on Long Island. Wesley Matthews added eight second-half points as well.
Holy Trinity 53, St. John's Prep 43. Desean Burke led the Red Storm with 14 points, but St. John's Prep fell to the Titans Saturday, also as the Nassau/Queens Classic.
Archbishop Molloy 93, Brooklyn Tech 38. The Stanners had little trouble dispatching the PSAL's Brooklyn Tech Friday. John Sikiric led the way with 17 points, followed by Kevin Diffley with 15.
Regis 61, Cathedral Prep 50. The Crusaders fell to Regis Friday, as Matt Prasse scored 15 and Steve Quinn added 14 for the winners.
Xaverian 82, Monsignor McClancy 51. Kevin Bishop's 16 points were not enough to help the Crusaders upend the Xaverian Clippers last Thursday. Chris Taft led the Brooklyn team with 16 points.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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