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Holy Cross bests Xaverian in CHSAA quarterfinals

Holy Cross' Joshua Wallace (c.) grabs for the ball. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Holy Cross’ offensive struggles were a laughing matter in the locker room. The Knights missed countless layups and putbacks in the first half, but there wasn’t any panic on the basketball court.

“We were kind of laughing at it,” Holy Cross Coach Tom Marchesini said. “We were like, ‘Guys, we know the shots are going to go in.’ Sometimes the game is like that.”

He couldn’t have been more right.

The Knights came out of the locker room ultra-aggressive on the backboards and used a dominant fourth quarter to pull away for a 60-40 win over Xaverian in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens boys’ basketball quarterfinals Monday. Holy Cross visits Christ the King at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.

“Eventually shots are going to fall,” junior guard Joshua Wallace said. “Basketball, you can’t bring yourself down.”

Senior forward Ryan Wilson raised his level of play from recent games in the final quarter. He scored eight straight points during a 12-0 Knights run that put the game away. Wilson tallied 12 of his game-high 18 points in the frame.

“I played bad in the first half,” Wilson said. “I just had to get it going rebounding.”

Marchesini said Holy Cross (11-11) is a different team when Wilson is playing well. At 6-foot-3, he is one of its biggest players and is capable of blocking shots on the defensive end. He has been off his game of late and Marchesini and his staff has been trying to build up Wilson’s confidence again.

“He let it affect his game,” the coach said. “I told him, ‘It’s going to take a couple of baskets and you’re going to be right back in it.’”

Wallace had 14 points and Terrell Williams added 13 for Holy Cross. Lamel Faison paced Xaverian (13-13) with 16 points. The Clippers were in the game until an Akil Spruill three-point play attempt, which Xaverian thought was an offensive foul. But Cross got the basket and a foul on Xaverian.

Spruill missed the ensuing free throw, but Wilson put back the rebound to put Holy Cross ahead 46-37 with 7:03 left in the game. The Knights dominated from there.

“That’s when I think everybody woke up,” Wallace said.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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