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Big second half leads Holy Cross past Fillies

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    Isabella Schwabe connects on a layup against Holy Cross in Scranton on Friday. BOB SHANK/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published March 08. 2019 11:38PM

SCRANTON – Marian’s season came to an end Friday night against Holy Cross at Scranton High School.

The Fillies led at halftime, but Holy Cross controlled play in the second half and pulled away for a 53-39 victory in the opening round of the PIAA Class 2A State Tournament.

“We struggled early, we turned the ball over a few times and their size inside hurt us,” Holy Cross head coach Barry Fitzgerald said. “Once we were able to get them spaced out a little bit on our offensive end, I think we had better opportunities.

“In the second half, we were a little more patient and we took the ball to the basket much better.”

Holy Cross had three double-digit scorers on the night. Kaci Kranson led the Crusaders with 14 points, while Haley Bestrycki and Abby Sempa each registered 13 points.

The Fillies (20-5) opened the game on a 9-3 run, but Holy Cross came right back to take an early lead in the second quarter.

Isabelle Schwabe and Emma McClafferty showed the way in the first half for Marian, alternating buckets during a second quarter stretch that allowed the Fillies to take a 23-21 halftime lead.

Marian struggled with rebounding in the contest, and it hurt Paul Brutto’s team in the long run.

“In the first half, it was a lack of rebounding,” Brutto said. “Most of their baskets came on second opportunities. I think if we would’ve rebounded better in the first quarter, it would’ve been a little bit bigger gap at halftime.

“Then in the second half, we just got out of whack. Their pressure seemed to bother us more in the second half than the first. We just got a little careless because of it.”

Holy Cross grabbed the lead in the third quarter and gradually pulled away, ending the Fillies’ season.

“It’s the first time we’ve been in this situation in four years,” Brutto said about his team’s appearance in the state tournament. “It’s a 20-win season, which is a benchmark in basketball.

“The team was a great team to coach. The kids are really respectful and have a lot of character. It was an enjoyable ride. I’m going to miss these girls. It was an enjoyable season — one that I’ll remember.”

TRANSITION … Holy Cross got a number of its second half baskets in transition. “We are a transition team, so we need to rebound the basketball and I thought we did a good job of that. Rebounding was definitely a key for us tonight because of their size,” Fitzgerald said. “I also think we made better decisions (in transition) than we’ve made recently.”

BOARD BATTLE … Despite Marian’s height advantage, Holy Cross won the battle on the boards. “We had the size advantage pretty much at most of our positions,” Brutto said. “I just think we were kind of looking and waiting for someone else on our team to grab it, instead of going to get it. A couple of times we had inside position and they went right by us to get the ball.”

KUDOS TO THE VICTORS … Brutto was impressed with Holy Cross. “They move the ball well and play well as a team,” he said. “To their credit, they drove the ball a lot on us in the second half, something we weren’t letting them do in the first half.”


Kreisl 1-0-0-2, Shaud 3-1-1-7, Walsh 0-1-2-1, Digris 0-0-0-0, Possessky 0-0-0-0, Alansky 3-0-0-7, Murray 0-0-0-0, Schwabe 6-0-1-12, McClafferty 5-0-5-10, Shimko 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-2-9-39.


Bestrycki 4-4-4-13, Kranick 2-5-6-9, Sempa 5-1-2-13, Lentowski 1-1-2-3, Kranson 6-2-5-14, Ferguson 0-0-0-0, McGee 0-0-0-0, Goetz 0-0-0-0, Calciano 0-0-0-0, Kovaleski 0-0-0-0 TOTALS: 18-13-19-53.

Marian 11 12 10 6 - 39

Holy Cross 9 12 18 14 - 53

Three-pointers: Marian – Alansky 1; Holy Cross – Sempa 2, Bestrycki 1.

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