By Zach Braziller
Campus Magnet entered last Thursday’s basketball contest at Holy Cross red hot, still on a high from wins over Queens AA rivals Bayside and Cardozo. The Knights were aware of their opponent’s recent success and in front of a large crowd full of alumni, treating the non-league tilt with intensity befitting a playoff game.
“I knew they’re a good team — that’s why we wanted to play them before we go to New Orleans,” Holy Cross Coach Paul Gilvary said, referring to next week’s Tiger Invitational in the Bayou. “We were looking forward to this game.”
That was clear from the get-go. Cross led 16-9 after the first quarter, went ahead 26-13 by halftime and cruised to a surprisingly dominant 58-38 non-league home victory.
With senior guard Marquise Moore (broken toe) missing his fifth straight game, seniors Will Davis and Mareiga Clarke continued to shine. Davis scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter and shot 6-of-10 from the field. The 6-foot-5 Clarke owned the paint, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Anthony Libroia added nine points and 11 assists.
“They’re a good team, but we came out ready to play,” Clarke said. “From the jump ball, we took it right to them.”
Clarke is only getting better after an up-and-down junior year when high blood pressure cost him several games. Not only did he control the lane, grabbing offensive rebounds on one end and changing and blocking shots on the other, but he also sank a few perimeter jump shots, an area of his game he steadfastly worked on over the summer.
“I feel good, I feel confident,” he said.
Gilvary felt Cross won the game on the defensive end. Campus Magnet, after all, was stuck on 19 points through three quarters and top scorers Sam Durodola and Tarik Raynor struggled, managing just 24 between them — well below their average.
“Defensively I thought we were very good,” Gilvary said. “We made it tough for them to get open looks.”
Campus Magnet (10-3) Coach Charles Granby, who picked up his 700th career victory last week, credited Cross’ effort at both ends of the floor. He was upset with his players just the same. They arrived late and lacked the passion they had in the big wins over Bayside and Cardozo.
“The kids just seemed dead,” Granby said. “Maybe they read their press clippings about how good they are. To me it was embarrassing, not that we lost, but the way it happened. Some good will come out of this because maybe they’ll realize they’re not that good.”
Cross (7-1), meanwhile, only figures to get better once the multi-talented Moore returns. Gilvary credited his entire team for not only staying above water, but not losing a game without Moore. Junior Terrell Williams has filled in nicely in the starting lineup and the Knights have received balanced scoring from everyone, notably Clarke and Davis.
That was again the case last Thursday night.
“We played hard, we pushed the ball, made the extra pass, we rebounded well and played defense,” Davis said. “We played Holy Cross basketball. A lot of alumni came to the game and supported us. We wanted to show them Holy Cross is still in good hands.”