Holy Cross can’t close out Hayes

By Troy Mauriello

Holy Cross again had to cope with a tough loss after being oh-so-close to an impressive win.

A strong defensive effort and some hot shooting had Holy Cross cruising, with an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter against Cardinal Hayes.

It didn’t last.

The Knights were hit with a 15-0 run from Hayes, scoring only three points for the rest of the game. It led to a disappointing 59-51 home defeat in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball last Friday.

It was another example of Holy Cross falling short against some of the league’s top teams. The Knights lost to Christ the King by 11 points, Molloy by seven and Loughlin by eight in their three prior league games.

Hayes held Holy Cross scoreless for over five minutes during their fourth-quarter run, as the Knights continually took shots despite being ahead and seemed to suddenly lose all of their rhythm on offense.

“Obviously, we gave one away,” said Holy Cross head coach Terry Tarpey. “We didn’t play smart when we had the lead… there were three or four possessions where we just forgot what we were doing on offense.”

Senior guard Baron Goodridge was instrumental in Hayes’ comeback, scoring seven of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. Sophomore forward Ishmael Massoud added 12 points, including a clutch three-pointer during the fourth-quarter run. Quran Brickhouse’s free throws with 1:33 remaining put the Cardinals (11-5, 7-4) ahead for good, and his layup 31 seconds later iced the game.

Holy Cross (8-10, 3-7) got a game-high 17 points from Jonas Cooper. Chaz Platt and freshman Hassan Diarra dropped 11 each. They and the rest of the team struggled in the fourth, in which the Knights scored just six points.

“We started to be selfish with the ball,” Cooper said. “Not working as a team, and that’s when we started to have turnovers.”

Despite the disappointing ending, the night began positively for Holy Cross. It jumped out to an early 11-4 lead in the first quarter. The smaller Knights played stingy defense and withstood a 12-4 run from Hayes in the second quarter to go into the break with a 26-24 lead.

Holy Cross looked like it might run away with the game in the third quarter. Diarra had six points in the third, while Cooper and Sahdique Watkins each scored four to build an eight-point lead after three quarters. Diarra drilled a three-pointer to open up the fourth quarter and extend the Holy Cross advantage to 48-37 before Hayes took over.

But then the Cardinals went on an eight-point scoring run in just a minute of playing time, leading Tarpey to call a time out. Even that didn’t slow down Hayes, who took the lead for good with 1:02 remaining. Holy Cross didn’t score again until Cooper hit a free throw with 39 seconds remaining.

In a season of tough losses, this one has to hurt a little extra. Holy Cross has lost seven of its last nine, though only two of those losses have been by double-digits.

“It’s a real tough loss,” Tarpey said. “But we have to respond real quickly.”