Top-seeded Holy Cross bests No. 4 Watertown in NVL semifinal

The cast has changed, but the Holy Cross girls basketball team finds itself in a familiar spot.
The top-seeded Crusaders (20-2) reached yet another NVL final with a 55-37 win over No. 4 Watertown on Monday night in the second semifinal game at Kennedy High School’s Jack Taglia Gymnasium. Holy Cross plays Kennedy on Wednesday night in the NVL final.
Senior Caitlin Cipriano led a multi-pronged Holy Cross attack with 19 points. 
“Cip did a great job inside, Aiyana (Ward) came in and gave us great minutes,” Holy Cross head coach Frank Lombardo said.

Holy Cross talks it over during a timeout.

It was a solid team win for the Crusaders, though the usual suspects were the leaders on offense. Senior RaShana Siders tallied 15 points while junior Idalis Miranda scored 14. The Crusaders had a scare when Siders went down late in the fourth quarter, but she appeared to be OK. Her ankle was taped up after the game, but she seemed to be in good spirits. Holy Cross already lost Century McCartney to a season-ending knee injury.
A 20-0 run in the second quarter was a big key for the Crusaders.
“We definitely want to be the top defensive team in Class M,” Cipriano said.

Holy Cross senior Kaitlyn Grimshaw (11) was Watertown star
Abby Collier’s shadow throughout Monday’s game.

A big part of that defensive effort was 5-foot-10 senior Kaitlyn Grimshaw. Grimshaw’s job was to face guard Watertown senior star Abby Collier, and she did pretty well in that department.
“She does a good job of making it difficult to pass,” Lombardo said about Grimshaw.
Grimshaw was Collier’s shadow, but she had help. When Collier tried to turn after catching the ball, she was usually met by a backside defender like Cipriano, Gabby Goldman or others. Collier earned all 14 of her points on Monday night.
“We like to face guard,” Cipriano said, adding that the Crusaders have good rotation on their defense.
“Our initial defense was very good,” Lombardo said, though he’d like to see his team give up less offensive rebounds.
Collier led Watertown with those 14 points, but she was the lone Indian in double figures. Holy Cross’ strategy was to make someone else beat it, and it worked. The result is another NVL final for the Crusaders. As their warm-up shirts say, “The Tradition Continues.”