The Holy Cross Tigers had been banged up early on in the season, costing them a few matchups. The Jesuit Blue Jays, on the other hand, had been cruising through nearly every game. But on Friday night, Holy Cross was the one looking dominant.
Kalil Thomas put up 16 points, Jason Chan scored 14 and Holy Cross (14-8, 2-2) handed Jesuit (13-4, 2-1) its first district loss of the season, 64-58.
The Tigers led by as many as 11 and never trailed, rarely making mistakes and shooting the ball well from 3-point range. Coach Mister Kirkwood felt having a full roster was the biggest reason for the Tigers success.
“I think we really buckled down defensively,” he said. “That’s a very good team we just defeated. I think the biggest thing for us is that we don’t have any more injuries so it really helps when we can play all of our guys.”
Jesuit never stopped fighting, getting as close as 1 even after trailing by 11, but it wasn’t enough on a night when Holy Cross had an answer for everything.
“(Holy Cross) played real hard,” Jesuit coach Chris Jennings said. “They matched us defensively and they’re a really good team.”
Holy Cross took command early, jumping out to a 10-3 lead. Jesuit refused to roll over, however, as they went on a 9-3 run of its own to close within one. The Tigers' Sidney Madison sank a buzzer-beating jumper to give Holy Cross a 16-12 lead after the first quarter.
Things stayed competitive in the second with the Blue Jays staying within one point multiple times. But the Tigers would continue to stay in charge as Myles Sanders’ driving layup with one second left in the half extended Holy Cross’ lead to 7 to go ahead 31-24 at halftime.
The third quarter was a back and forth affair as the Tigers came out swinging, going up by 11 points just 3 minutes in. Jesuit wouldn’t quit, however, as they went on a 12-2 run, 7 coming from Elijah Morgan, to pull within one. Holy Cross regained its groove with the help of a layup and a pair of free throws from Thomas. The Tigers maintained the lead 43-37 heading into the final quarter.
The battle continued in the fourth as Morgan refused to let the Blue Jays go down without a fight. Morgan made everything from free throws to 3 pointers to get his team as close as three points down with just over 2 minutes to go. The Tigers proved to be too much, however, as Chan’s jumper and free throw stretched the lead to 8 with 1:35 remaining, which sealed the win for Holy Cross. Morgan led the Jays with 27 points.