NVL COMMENTARY: Holy Cross rolls into the final against Sacred Heart

After his team’s NVL Tournament quarterfinal win over Torrington on Saturday, Kennedy head coach Ryan Sullivan talked about the keys against semifinal opponent Holy Cross.
Sullivan said whoever got to the 50-50 balls and controlled the boards would win the game. Unfortunately for Sullivan, his Eagles didn’t do enough in either category to win on Monday at the Reggie O’Brien Gymnasium inside Wilby High School.
Second-seeded Holy Cross used its length and athleticism to roll past third-seeded Kennedy 78-52 in the first semifinal on Monday. Marcellus Gomes was an absolute terror for the Crusaders with his length and ability to get to the basket. He led all scorers with 24 points while teammate DeAndre Wallace poured in 22. Kerson Etienne (12) and Nyzair Rountree (11) also scored in double figures.
Kennedy actually led the game 30-29 at halftime, but that became a distant memory in the second half. Holy Cross used its athleticism well, and it took advantage of a slew of Kennedy mistakes to run away with the game in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders led 52-42 after three quarters, then blew away the Eagles with a 26-10 advantage in the final eight minutes.
Gomes in particular was awesome. He used his length and long strides to quickly get to the basket. Gomes’ length was also a factor on the defensive end.
When the Eagles did get to the basket, Wallace was there to swat away shot after shot. On the offensive end, Gomes and Wallace were a consistent problem on the backboards.
Kennedy’s Lashawn Smith (17 points), Ty Sands (15) and Chomari Joseph (13) all hit double figures. The Eagles were hot shooting in the first half, but turnovers and poor shots made the offense come unglued in the second half.
Holy Cross will play top-seeded Sacred Heart in the tournament final Wednesday night at 7 at Wilby. The Crusaders gave the Hearts their biggest scare of the season on Feb. 6 at Alumni Hall. Holy Cross led by 17 points in the fourth quarter, but Sacred Heart rallied for a 65-63 win.