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Emotional Wilson beats buzzer, Xaverian for Holy Cross

By Stephen Zitolo

Christian Wilson’s day was filled with emotions, from one of the lowest of low to the highest high.

The Holy Cross junior wing found out early last Friday that his grandfather had died. Wilson struggled the whole game to find his shooting stroke, but it returned when the Knights needed it most.

Wilson had the ball in his hands behind the three-point line in the final seconds with Holy Cross down two points and two Xaverian players in his face. He got off what looked like an awkward jump shot, but it found nothing but net as the buzzer sounded.

“Jermaine [Bishop] was hot the whole game,” Wilson said. “But I was following up on his play and I tried to get a good look and I made the shot. Emotions were running high for me. That shot was for my grandfather.”

Wilson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Knights a trilling 48-47 home win over Xaverian in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball last Friday. The victory snapped Xaverian’s nine-game winning streak and moves the Knights into third place in the Brooklyn/Queens Division.

“Christian showed great mental fortitude tonight after finding out about his grandfather’s passing,” Holy Cross head coach Terry Tarpey said. “This is extra gratifying for him.”

Holy Cross fouled the struggling Clippers to avoid them scoring down in the paint in the fourth quarter. Xaverian missed three front ends of 1-and-1’s, but forward Sayon Charles made two free throws with 13 seconds left. The second, however, would be disallowed because of a lane violation. The Clippers led 47-45 and the stage was set for Wilson.

The ball was given to Bishop, who was immediately surrounded by Xaverian, on the inbounds pass. Bishop then found Wilson who for the contested three-pointer that won it for the Knights.

The final play did not come without controversy, however. Before Wilson’s shot, Holy Cross threw the ball to halfcourt from under the Clippers’ basket and called time out, but the clock did not start. Two seconds were taken off and the Knights were given the ball at halfcourt. Xaverian coach Jack Alesi believes the ruling was incorrect and plans on protesting the game to the league.

“The ball was supposed to be taken out under the basket, but they gave it to Holy Cross at halfcourt and by rule that is not supposed to happen,” Alesi said.

Holy Cross (8-7, 4-4) benefited greatly from Xaverian’s poor free throw shooting. Xaverian (11-3, 5-3) finished the game 7-of-23 and Cross took advantage.

“This win was big and should put the city on notice,” Wilson said. “Xaverian is a good squad, but so are we. This should be the start of a good run for us.”

The Knights were sparked by senior guard Jermaine Bishop, who had his shot working for him. Bishop scored a game-high 15 points, while junior guard Jamael Horton added 13 points of his own.

Bishop was honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th career point for Holy Cross. He currently stands seventh all-time for the Knights with 1,107.

Forward Gerald Buncum got in early foul trouble, leaving the Knights to rely on junior Yannic Williams. He picked up the slack and more as he made every shot hard for Xaverian’s big men and scored seven points.

“Yannic has been doing really well in practice,” Tarpey said. “He was really aggressive tonight and finished well at the basket. He had a huge stretch for us tonight.”

It was just the start to a big and emotional win for Holy Cross.

“We executed down the stretch and with Christian hitting that shot with hands in his face at the buzzer,” Tarpey said. “You can’t write a better script.”

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