Holy Cross attended the Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase in Allentown for the first time this weekend. Considering how it went, this won’t be the Crusaders’ last appearance.
The Dunmore, Lackawanna County District 2 program went 4-0 and captured the junior school division championship with a 60-44 victory Sunday afternoon.
Rising senior guard Gabe Gonzales earned MVP honors with 20 points and gave the team a strong start with 11 in the first half as the Crusaders took a 28-16 halftime lead over Oley Valley. The team, which went 21-7 last year and reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals before losing to Constitution 50-48, never lost control in the second half.
“We had fun and played great competition,” said veteran Holy Cross coach Al Callejas. “It gives you an idea of where you are and what you need to work on and shows what you are doing well, so there are three reasons to take part in events like this.”
Callejas said a lot of kids are back from last year’s District 2 Championship team. They met a team that aspires to do well in District 3.
“Oley Valley is a great team and very athletic,” Callejas said. “We tried to stop their penetration to the basket, first and foremost. We thought doing that and holding them to one shot was going to be key. For the most part, we did.
Holy Cross beat Lehighton, Saucon Valley and Warren Hills en route to the final.
“You like to win all the time, but you go down and try to learn…that’s what’s most important,” said Callejas, who has more than 540 career wins.
Callejas’ son, Al Jr., served as Bron Holland’s staff assistant coach at Pocono Mountain East and then served as head coach for a few years. He had a health problem last fall when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His team rallied around him by shaving their heads and throwing a special party for him.
In a WNEP TV report during the 2021-22 season, Gonzales said: “He doesn’t want the thing he’s going through to motivate us. He wants us to just play the way he always wants us to play, but well “Of course, it has something to do with it. He’s showing his passion and everything for us. So, hopefully, we can get him together on the basketball court like we do.”
As for the 6-foot-3 Gonzales, Callejas said, “He’s a tremendous talent. He’s strong and he’s a great outside shooter, but we can also post him and he’s so hard to stop inside and outside. It’s hard to keep one-on-one.
Starting at 6 p.m., Allentown Central Catholic and Freedom were scheduled to meet in the playoff final, with the winner set to face Muhlenberg Township at around 8 p.m. for the championship.
In a 41-39 win over Wilson West Lawn, Central fought back from a 25-18 halftime deficit and trailed by double digits in the second half before making a memorable comeback.
Jahrel Vigo led the charge, scoring seven of his nine points in the second half. David Fridia scored six points in the second half and Cole Cook had four in the second half.
In the JV final on Sunday night, Emmaus and Whitehall were due to meet for the championship.
STELLAR CONSTRUCTION EXPECT A SHOWCASE OF RISING STARS
1997: Glen Mills
2001: Bishop Carroll
2006: Glens Falls, New York
2013: West Wilson Lawn
2015: Bishop Carroll
2016: Pocono Mountain West
CEDAR BEACH SHOWCASE
2017: Berks Catholic
2018: Catholic Berk
2019: Wilson West Lawn (high school); Salisbury (small school)
2021: Parkland (high school); Southern Lehigh (small school)
HIGH SCHOOL SUPPORT
Wilson West Lawn 45, Berks Catholic 38 … Cleveland Harding 12.
Wilson West Lawn 59, Notre Dame-GP 41… Aidan Melograna 13.
Emmaus 62, Liberty 49… Dylan Darville 15.
Reading 65, Phillipsburg 48… Ruben Rodriguez 15.
Wilson West Lawn 47, Emmaus 42… Aidan Melograna 12.
Central Dauphin 50, Notre Dame-GP 42 … Keon Dockens 20.
Municipality of Muhlenberg. 44, Central Catholic 42…Xzavion Robertson 12.
Reading 66, Center Dolphin 39… Ruben Rodriguez 21.
Wilson West Lawn 51, Central York 43 … Aidan Melograna 13.
Central Catholic 41, Wilson West Lawn 39 … Jahrel Vigo 9.
Winners Draw Semi-Finals
Freedom 70, Central York 52…Nick Ellis 29.
Municipality of Muhlenberg. 44, Central Catholic 42… Xzavion Robertson 12.
Winners table final
Muhlenberg Twp 52, Liberty 49… Luis Valentin 18.
Elimination Bracket Final
Central Catholic 33, Liberty 27… Jahrel Vigo 17.
LITTLE SCHOOL SUPPORT
Oley Valley 73, Roberto Clemente 33… Jake Karnish 21.
Sainte-Croix 48, Warren Hills 31 … Gabe Gonzalez 11.
Oley Valley 64, Warren Hills 44…Jake Karnish 24.
Small Schools Championship: Holy Cross 60, Oley Valley 46…Gabe Gonzales 20, Tournament MVP.
Easton 48, Dieuff 40
Whitehall 59, ACCHS 19…Mason Roberts 10.
Emmaus 45, Parkland 43 … Owen Hafner 11.
Nazareth 38, Holy Cross 31 … Owen Banghart 14.
Freedom 39, Easton 34…Jansi Cole 15.
Whitehall 43, Emmaus 40…Mason Roberts 9.
Parkland 47, Nazareth 35… Jude Ruisch 16.
Freedom 2, ACCHS 0… Package.
Freedom 50, Parkland 27…Dwayne Chess 15.
Parkland 47, Nazareth 35… Jude Ruisch 16.
Emmaus 46, Liberty 42… Jack Csensits 10.
Championship match: Whitehall vs. Emmaus
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