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Holy Cross gets their revenge on Handsworth in epic back-and-forth battle

In what we predicted to be the game of the day on the quad-A side, the Handsworth Royals were set to battle it out with the Holy Cross Crusaders for a rematch of the year.

One word to describe it: Intense.

Both teams played hard in the key to put up nearly equal points in the first quarter.

Holy Cross leaned heavily on their Grade 10s, utilizing the young squad that has brought the team much success over the season.

Crusaders standout guard, Jamal Osei-Anim was called on a questionable charging foul late in the first when he was only standing in position. Osei-Anim was completely bulldozed to the ground, left dazed and confused.

What knocks you down, only makes you stronger though.

The second quarter saw both teams battling it out in the paint. At times, the Crusaders trailed behind the Royals by as little as two points.

However, Handsworth continued to use their height to intimidate Holy Cross, blocking them from finding the basket on multiple possessions and rebounds. They led 44-40 heading into the third quarter.

After the break, the Crusaders hit the court with an undeniable drive to win. They brought the score to an even 48-48 after just three minutes into the quarter. Thanks to a strong rebound by Cross’ Uyi Ologhola, guard Michael Risi hit a wet 3 to give pull ahead on the scoreboard.

Just as the game heated up, the refs called a technical foul against Holy Cross’ bench, giving Handsworth a chance to tie the game, and eventually take the lead. But the Crusaders were not going down without a fight. They bounced back with some impressive shots to stay up 65-64 over their opponents at the end of the third.

Pressure heated up early in the fourth with both teams tying at 67-67 after one minute of play. Holy Cross’ Brent Padilla was good for two layups, taking the Crusaders ahead.

The final moments had fans’ heads spinning and hearts racing as points teetered between both sides. Ologhola took a hard hit and found his place on the bench, giving Handsworth an opportunity to creep back up on the scoreboard. With just under three minutes to go, the teams were tied at 78 points apiece.

Jamal Osei-Anim sunk a clutch 2 to give the Crusaders the upper hand. With a technical foul called on Handsworth, Holy Cross was awarded a chance at the foul line, adding another one to the scoreboard.

Only 41 seconds remained on the clock. Hearts were pounding on both sides of the court. Tension was at an all-time high. And buzzers were ringing prematurely--the coaches had a laugh at that one, thankfully.

Handsworth’s Stanley Choo incurred his fifth foul of the game and was sent off the court. Royals’ head coach Cam Mowat lit a fire under his boys by calling multiple time-outs before the game’s close and even motivated them to come back to within just two points.

In what could only be defined as the fieriest matchup of the day, the Holy Cross Crusaders avenged their early season loss and defeated the Handsworth Royals with a final score of 82-80.

Ologhola was named player of the game, with 13 rebounds and 17 total points for his team.

Coach Matt LeChasseur, with a smile from ear-to-ear, had nothing but praise for his boys following the game.

“This is the kind of game that we’ve been dreaming about all year and the kids played their guts out,” he said. “A lot of redemption coming our way; we didn’t play well in the last few weeks and we told the kids it was a clean slate coming in and they played their guts out today.”

The Holy Cross Crusaders have another tough matchup against the Semiahmoo Titans on Day 2. Stay tuned for our game preview!

Written by: Crystal Scuor

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