WILKES-BARRE — Rasheed Moore stood just inside the midcourt stripe as the time wound down in the second quarter. He passed to C.J. Szafran. Szafran passed to Dominic Pittman.
The clock continued to tick down and Holy Cross’ defense continued its harassment. Pittman got the ball to Ryan Krawczeniuk, who fired up an off-balance shot well behind the three-point arc that was destined to be well off the mark.
It was that type of Saturday afternoon for the Mohawks, who never found any continuity and failed to defend their District 2 Class 2A boys basketball championship.
Instead, it was Holy Cross that came away with its fourth title in the last six seasons with a 59-45 victory at Wilkes University’s Marts Center.
“What I tried to remind them is last year Holy Cross had to stand there and watch us celebrate winning the gold medal,” Meyers coach Pat Toole said. “And then (Holy Cross) went into the state playoffs and came a basket away from going to the state final. The only good thing about losing today is there is tomorrow.”
Meyers (23-3) will spend the week repairing and preparing for next Saturday’s PIAA Class 2A playoffs. The Mohawks’ task will be a difficult one as they will face District 3 runner-up Trinity (18-7), which was the top seed in the D3 tournament. The game will be inside District 2, with the time and site likely available this afternoon at piaa.org.
Meyers defeated Holy Cross 59-41 on Dec. 18. The Crusaders, though, had two guys hurt and two more sick for that game. Center Josh Kosin was among the latter back in December. The 6-foot-6 senior looked perfectly healthy Saturday, pouring in a game-high 27 points. He hit 13 of his 16 shots as Holy Cross shot 60 percent (25-of-42) from the field.
Revenge, though, went deeper than the pre-Christmas loss.
“It was even from last year,” said Kosin, whose team fell 51-36 to Meyers’ in last season’s title contest. “We felt like we owed them from last year. We were really motivated this time, especially from last time when they basically kicked us out of there.”
Holy Cross wanted to stop Meyers’ two big offensive threats — Moore on the inside and Krawczeniuk from the perimeter. The Crusaders would even settle for curtailing one of them, and Krawczeniuk was the guy. The sharpshooter struggled from the field — and Meyers did as a team as well, shooting 15-of-48 (31 percent).
Holy Cross coach Al Callejas praised senior guard Corey Joyce for his defense on Krawczeniuk, who finished with six points. Joyce missed the December game with an ankle injury when Krawczeniuk lit up the Crusaders for 20 points, including the 1,000th of his career.
Moore finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. The latter category, though, was dominated by Holy Cross. Casey Gaughan, who had an ankle injury late in the season, showed early that the Mohawks weren’t going to get many second-shot opportunities. Gaughan and Kosin had nine rebounds each as the Crusaders finished with a 34-15 edge.
“Getting Casey back was huge,” Callejas said. “I think he had in the neighborhood of 10 rebounds today. That’s something you just can’t replace.”
Meyers never led, but kept it close until a 13-4 Holy Cross run that started late in the third quarter and extended into the fourth. Joyce capped it with a three-pointer for a 48-34 lead with 6:25 to play.
Meyers, which entered the game ranked second in the state in Class 2A, had its nine-game winning streak snapped. Holy Cross (23-5), ranked fifth, will play District 3 third seed Lewisburg (25-4) next Saturday at a District 2 site at a time to be announced.
HOLY CROSS (59): Josh Kosin 13-16 1-3 27, Connor Callejas 4-4 1-3 9, Kerry Kearney 1-3 0-0 2, Corey Joyce 2-7 0-0 5, Casey Gaughan 0-3 0-2 0, Erik Nelson 0-0 0-0 0, Connor Jones 5-9 4-5 16, Kyler Kovaleski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-42 6-13 59.
MEYERS (45): Matt DeMarco 0-4 6-6 6, Ryan Krawczeniuk 2-12 2-3 6, Rasheed Moore 9-22 3-7 22, C.J. Szafran 3-7 2-2 7, Dominic Pittman 1-3 0-0 0, Ryan Wasley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-48 13-18 45.
Holy Cross 12 15 14 18 — 59
Meyers 10 13 9 13 — 45
Three-point FGs: HC 3-10 (Joyce, Jones 2); MEY 2-11 (Moore, Szafran)