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Knights toppled: Holy Cross fails to defend Brooklyn/Queens title, falls to Bishop Loughlin

By Dylan Butler

One day after being named the CHSAA Class AA player of the year for a second straight year in a vote of league coaches, the star of the Holy Cross basketball team was named to the prestigious McDonald's All-American team and helped lead the Knights over rival Christ the King in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinals.But the Virginia-bound guard wasn't thinking about any of those accolades as he pulled his jersey to his mouth and was the last to leave the Holy Cross bench after the Knights fell to Bishop Loughlin, 76-66, in the Brooklyn/Queens final Saturday night at St. Francis Prep.”All those things are nice, but this is what I'm really playing for, to win a championship,” Landesberg said. “I wanted this.”Landesberg did everything he could, finishing with a game-high 33 points, which increased his school record for career points to 2,025. And fellow senior Blaise Ffrench, an undeclared guard, added 22 points in the Knights' bid to repeat as B/Q champs.But Holy Cross (19-8) had no answer for Loughlin's super sophomore Doron Lamb. The guard from Laurelton scored 28 points, including 17 in the pivotal third quarter, which saw the Lions outscore the Knights, 23-9.”I thought we were in pretty decent shape in the first half, but in the third quarter I thought we got away from what we needed to do,” Holy Cross coach Paul Gilvary said. “We allowed Lamb to get some real easy looks.”Trailing 55-40 heading into the fourth quarter, the Knights threatened. Landesberg followed a three-pointer from the top of the key with a ferocious dunk. And when Ffrench scored on his own putback, Holy Cross was within, 57-49, with 5:33 left.That would be as close as Holy Cross would get, though. Lamb hit a free throw, Jayvaughn Pinkston, who had 14 points and 19 rebounds, scored from inside and Laurelton native James Johnson (16 points) added a layup as the Lions scored nine of the next 11 points to put the game out of reach.Loughlin (20-5), which won its first B/Q title since 2000 and second in seven championship appearances since 1996, will take on All Hallows Thursday at St. Francis Prep in a Class AA intersectional quarterfinal.Holy Cross will face St. Peter's Friday at Christ the King.”This is hard. We wanted to repeat, but we still have the city playoffs,” Ffrench said. “The city playoffs is the most important thing and it's what we're focused on. If we lose that, we go home forever.”Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or c all 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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