The fourth-seeded Holy Cross girls basketball team jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the opening part of the first quarter of their Class M quarterfinal game against No. 5 East Hampton in Tim McDonald Gymnasium on Monday night.
It’s a good thing the Crusaders had that burst, because then they attempted to give the game away in the final quarter. Holy Cross saw a 15-point lead get trimmed to 51-45 in the final minutes. Happily for the Crusaders and their fans, shots didn’t drop for the visiting Bellringers, and the home side hung on for a 54-46 victory. Holy Cross moves on to the semifinals, but not before breaking a major sweat.
“I think we just were not focused at all,” Crusader senior Caitlin Cipriano said. “I don’t know where our heads were.”
Cipriano said her team must be more focused if it wants to win its next game and get to Mohegan Sun Arena for the state final. RaShana Siders led Holy Cross with 17 points, and Idalis Miranda added 13.
“RaShana had a super game,” head coach Frank Lombardo said.
Lombardo said Siders provided some big rebounds, steals and deflections in a solid all-around game. Miranda had eight early points as the Crusaders built their lead.
Lombardo liked the way his team played for much of the contest.
“I thought for 27-28 minutes, we played a very good game,” Lombardo said. “In those last two minutes, we were a little tired, our passes weren’t as strong.”
Cipriano only had 5 points, but two of them were huge. Cipriano corralled a loose ball late in the fourth quarter and laid it in to help put the game away.
Cipriano went to a state final as a sophomore, but this one feels different.
“It feels different just because I’m the upperclassman, and I know my team better,” Cipriano said.
As far as Mohegan goes, that’s not the focus.
“I haven’t really thought too much about Mohegan,” Cipriano said. “We’re taking it one game at a time.”
Next up is the semifinals against undefeated Cromwell, and a trip to Mohegan is on the line.