The way Holy Cross scores in bunches can catch a team off guard in a hurry.
So when the Indians faced an early 14-10 deficit to Owensboro Catholic in the first quarter, a little more than two minutes later and the Aces found themselves in a 24-14 hole.
Owensboro was unable to respond from there as Holy Cross ran away with a 70-46 victory to move on to Sunday’s All “A” Classic tournament championship where they’ll face Evangel Christian.
“It all started on the defensive end of the floor early on. They had some guys make shots that don’t normally make the shots they were making. And then we stepped up the intensity and the energy and it changed the game,” Indians coach Casey Sorrell said.
Jacob Meyer is enjoying his stay in Richmond, scoring 29 first half points and finishing with 37, netting a total of 108 points in the tournament’s first three games. He’s seven points shy of the All “A” tournament record of 115 points scored in the tournament and just eight shy of 3,000 for his career.
Now he’ll head back to the hotel room with his teammates. The Indians have plans of taking in the EKU-Bellarmine men’s basketball game on Saturday night at Alumni Coliseum.
“We’re having a lot of fun. Just good team bonding with my teammates,” Meyer said.
Hours before they saw the girls team head to Sunday’s championship, the boys team will be doing the same. The girls will look for their second All “A” title, winning one in 2015, the boys are on a quest for their fourth with the last one coming in 2012.
“I think it’s awesome for our alumni, for our fans and our community. Hopefully we have a big crowd down here for those games,” Sorrell said. “One thing I learned early when I got the job at Holy Cross was the support and the loyalty in the community. So our goal is to make them proud.”
While the scoring in spurts and the amount of points the Indians are capable of putting up is nice, where they’ve really stood out in the tournament so far is on the defensive end. They’ve allowed 49 points per game in the three contests, well below the average of 63.8 they gave up the first 18 games of the season.
It also helped taking on an Owensboro Catholic team who played into Saturday after a thrilling four-overtime victory over UHA Friday night in the quarterfinals.
The Indians took full advantage by getting out on the break early and often, winning the fast break points battle 19-0.
“I was at the game last night and I was still sitting in my seat at midnight. That’s not easy. Our focus was coming out and getting a quick start and setting the tone and speed of the game. We felt if we could do that, we could wear them out long term,” Sorrell said.
Jacob Smith’s layup ignited the Indians 14-0 run in the first that stretched into the second quarter. Meyer followed with a mid-range jumper and then Matthew Dreas hit a running 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give the Indians a 17-14 edge after a quarter of play.
A Meyer layup, Smith three and another Meyer layup finalized the run. The Indians would take a 41-22 lead into the break.
Catholic opened with a 8-0 run out of the break, but would get no closer from there as the Indians responded with a 13-3 run to extend the lead back out to 54-33 on two Sam Gibson free throws, who grabbed his 500th career rebound in the contest.
The victory was capitalized by a Javier Ward alley-oop pass of the backboard to Meyer in the fourth.
“I wasn’t expecting that, I didn’t think Javi was going to do it. If I missed that coach was going to be on us. We didn’t make it last night so coach wasn’t too happy,” Meyer said.
Ward finished with 12 points. Dreas posted another all-around game, scoring six points, dishing out five assists, grabbing four rebounds and collecting four steals. Smith added seven, Gibson with six.
The Indians are 3-1 all-time in the All “A” championship, the lone loss coming in 1988.