February 19, 2008

Cross Tops St. Francis; Preps for Semis

While Holy Cross certainly has a shot to defend their Brooklyn/Queens title, they were not able to secure one of the top two seeds and a bye in the first round of the borough playoffs.

However, the Flushing school was able to cruise past St. Francis Prep 81-51 on Monday evening at Christ the King.

Coach Paul Gilvary's Holy Cross team looked to apply the defensive pressure early to put away the Terriers. However, it was rebounding that made much of the difference during this playoff game, as forwards Ernest Freeman and Sylven Landesberg hit the glass hard and put the Knights' size advantage to good use. A lay-up from senior guard Blaise Ffrench gave Cross an early 13-6 lead. Prep caught a big break when the Virginia-bound Landesberg picked up his second foul with 1:53 to go in the game and was forced to the bench for much of the remaining first half. The Terriers were able to keep the games within an arm's length, as they trailed 18-12 heading into the second session.

The Knights were truly able to punish Coach Tim Leary's squad on the boards as the lead and the second quarter opened up. A three pointer from the senior Ffrench with 5:26 to go in the first half gave Cross a 28-15 lead over the Terriers, who came in last place in the CHSAA B/Q league. The Knights would continue to cruise from there, as their starting line-up made entirely of seniors blew the game open to the tune of a 44-22 halftime lead. Blaise Ffrench led all first half scorers with 16 points, while Landesberg chipped in with 12 points for the Knights. Nick Mulero led the Terriers with 5 points at the halfway point.

Coach Gilvary's squad didn't relent on their third quarter attack, even though they had a large cushion. The Knights kept working defensively and getting open looks as they were able to sustain their large margin on the scoreboard and carried a 56-36 lead into the final quarter after a Blaise Ffrench jump shot in the lane at the buzzer.

After a quick barrage of three pointers from Holy Cross, both teams began emptying their benches and playing their reserves, as the Flushing school was able to finish off an 81-51 whooping of the Fresh Meadows squad. Sylven Landesberg led all scorers with 22 points, while Blaise Ffrench was right behind him in the scoring column with 21 points. The Knights will take on Christ the King on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Brooklyn/Queens tournament.

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