Holy Cross overcomes very slow start to overcome Jesuit in OT

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NEW ORLEANS – It is not how you start, it is how you finish.

The tried and true statement was never more apparent than it was for Holy Cross Tuesday night at the Jesuit Gym.

The Tigers overcame a huge first half deficit, rallying to down Jesuit 58-55 in overtime in a key District 9-5A contest Tuesday night. The loss ended Jesuit’s seven game win streak. Holy Cross has now won nine of its last 10 games.

Holy Cross never led until Tyler Beaver scored on a driving layup with 57.4 seconds left to give the Tigers a 49-48 lead. After Noah Varnado tied it by splitting a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left, Jason Chan missed a shot as time expired as the game went to overtime.

In the extra period, Chan and Beaver each scored four points as the Tigers overcame making just three of their 10 free throw attempts in the extra period. Jesuit was equally as poor, connecting on just two of nine free throw attempts in overtime.

Elijah Morgan came out on fire, scoring the first seven points of the game before Holy Cross got on the board with a free throw. Jesuit exploded to a 15-1 lead and built a commanding 20-4 lead after one quarter behind 12 points from Morgan.

The second quarter belonged to Holy Cross. The Tigers trailed 26-8 and then went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 26-19 before trailing 31-24 by halftime. Morgan picked up three fouls and had to sit for the final three minutes of the first half, in which he scored 15 points.

Holy Cross continued its momentum in the third quarter, eventually tying the game 40-40 at the buzzer on a 3-pointer by Tyler Beaver.

The fourth quarter saw Jesuit take a 44-40 lead and the Blue Jays held the lead until Beaver put Holy Cross on top, setting the stage for the dramatic ending.

Morgan led all scorers with 23 points and added eight rebounds but fouled out in the overtime period. Noah Varnado had 13 points and five rebounds while Robert McMahon finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Blue Jays (21-3, 2-1).

“If you look at the shot chart, all their shots were in the lane,” Jesuit coach Chris Jennings said. “That was the difference. More than anything, it was that, they said we are going to beat you to the goal every time and they did. They deserved to win. That was the real thing, their determination to get to the rim and us not doing a good job of preventing it.”

Beaver led the Tigers (18-5, 2-1) with 12 points while Jeremy Lindsey had 11 points and seven rebounds. Kalil Thomas had 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists and Chan finished with nine points before fouling out in overtime while Tyler Kirkwood had nine points and seven rebounds. Holy Cross overcame 22 turnovers.

“Our kids played hard,” Holy Cross coach Mister Kirkwood said. “They were resilient tonight. We just told them it had to be a possession by possession game. We were down by about 19 points (18). Hey man, my kids fought hard, they deserved this win. I thought out defense picked up full court, made them uncomfortable and made them turn over the ball.”

The win avenged a 64-54 loss to Jesuit in the championship game of the CYO Tournament on Dec. 1 at Jesuit. The two teams will square off in a rubber match on Feb. 1 at Holy Cross.

Both teams return to district play Friday night as Jesuit travels to Archbishop Shaw while Holy Cross hosts John Curtis Christian.

“Our kids played 36 minutes of basketball, this is huge,” Kirkwood said. “This was big. I’ve been saying this all year. Anybody can win on any given night in this league. We just showed you that.”

Final
Jesuit 20 11 9 10 6 55
H.C. 4 20 16 10 9 58

Scoring
Jesuit
Elijah Morgan 23, Noah Varnado 13, Robert McMahon 11, Nick Artigues 5, Kyle Haupt 2, Nick Brewster 1

Holy Cross
Tyler Beaver 12, Jeremy Lindsey 11, Kalil Thomas 10, Jason Chan 9, Tyler Kirkwood 9, Myles Sanders 3, Sidney Madison 2, Michael Crossley 2

Rebounds
Jesuit 32, Holy Cross 36

Turnovers
Jesuit 18, Holy Cross 22

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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