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Holy Cross can’t find antidote for Lincoln – QNS.com

Holy Cross can’t find antidote for Lincoln

Slowly but swiftly, Sylven Landesberg glided from one end of the court to the other, passing teammates and defenders like they were standing still.
In one fluid motion, he delivered a lasting memory to the Crotty Classic at Hofstra University, soaring above the crowd to throw down a jaw-dropping one-handed dunk.
It was the image many pictured would be repeated when the marquee matchup - Catholic power Holy Cross against PSAL juggernaut Lincoln - featuring Landesberg versus Lance Stephenson, Coney Island’s top-rated swingman, commenced. The day-long tournament was created to honor Tom Crotty, the one-time Marist guard who died in the September 11 attacks while working as a managing director at Sandler O’Neill.
Too bad things didn’t work out as the Railsplitters cruised to an 81-60 rout.
Landesberg, despite a heroic effort, was not himself, saddled with the flu. His teammates were not in good shape either, still somewhat lethargic from their 92-87, double overtime loss to Christ the King two nights before.
“We were kind of sapped of energy,” Cross Coach Paul Gilvary said.
The first sign of danger came before the first shot was made. Landesberg, the all-time leading scorer at the Flushing school and the Catholic league’s reigning MVP, was on the bench, a cold blue compress wrapped around his neck as the two teams made their way onto the court for the opening tip.
It did not get much better once the game began. Lincoln scored the game’s first nine points until Landesberg checked in with 5:38 to go in the first quarter. The deficit ballooned to 15-2. Obviously, not the start the Knights were looking for.
The one-on-one matchup didn’t materialize either. Landesberg didn’t start and Stephenson picked up two early offensive fouls and sat for the entire second quarter, enabling Cross, ranked 23rd in the nation by USA Today, to reel off a 12-3 run to get within seven, 38-31 at halftime.
Unfortunately, they were not able to get any closer the rest of the way as Lincoln scored the first six points of the second half and held a double-figure lead throughout.
Stephenson, the star of an Internet-based reality-show (www.bornready.tv), scored 27 points but it was a quiet night for the latest basketball prodigy from Coney Island. Cross, however, did not have an answer for the rest of the Railsplitters (15-2), particularly big men Justin Greene and James Padgett, who combined for 28 points and 19 rebounds.
“They’re a tremendous team,” Gilvary said. “They’re very talented, very well coached. They certainly deserve all the accolades they get.”
The Knights’ secondary parts, notably Tim Beinert, Blaise Ffrench and Kayvon Roberts, combined for just 30, nine more than Landesberg, who also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.
Cross uncharacteristically came out flat, without a rhythm on offense and sense of purpose protecting the hoop. Their relentless schedule - of their first 16 games, eight have come against opponents ranked nationally at one time or another - has taken its toll. Their last three games - all losses - were to No. 11 Archbishop Mitty of California, Christ the King and No. 15 Lincoln.
This was what the Knights (13-4) sought, Landesberg said. They asked for a daunting slate. “We really wanted to show we can compete with the best teams in the nation,” the Virginia-bound guard said.
Landesberg was up to the task this weekend, even though he was not expected to play, against Lincoln or CK. He nevertheless put up 34 against the rival Royals. When he woke up Sunday he was “weak and could barely step out of bed.”
Yet, upon reaching the Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, Long Island Sunday afternoon, he told Gilvary he wanted to give it a go. “I give him a lot of credit,” Gilvary said. “He really exceeded my expectations in each game.”

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