Sports

Crusaders do the double

Henry Maduabueke of the Holy Cross Crusaders shoots over an opponent the from a St. John Brebeuf Bearcats during first round play at the B.C. Catholics Tournament  - EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER
Henry Maduabueke of the Holy Cross Crusaders shoots over an opponent the from a St. John Brebeuf Bearcats during first round play at the B.C. Catholics Tournament
— image credit: EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER

For one basketball team from Holy Cross high school, it was more of the same.

For the other, they’re hoping they, too, will get used to winning a B.C. Catholic Schools championship.

The Holy Cross Crusaders girls team lived up to their provincial ranking, and won a seventh consecutive B.C. Catholics title Saturday night, defeating the St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints of North Vancouver 46-37.

It was the seventh consecutive championship by a girls team from the host school.

“We were favoured, but this group felt a lot of pressure,” said coach Steve Beauchamp. “Their focus was on not ending the streak, as opposed to winning it. They didn’t want to be the team that lost to end it.”

Holy Cross wasn’t challenged in their first two games, defeating the Little Flower Academy Angels of Vancouver 66-11 in their first game before topping the Immaculata Mustangs of Kelowna 59-23 in a semifinal game.

The top two girls team in the Senior AA provincial rankings met in Saturday’s final, with the top-ranked Crusaders coming out on top. They placed Michelle Bos, Nicole Vander Helm, Rachel Beauchamp and Amy Sprangers on the tournament all-star team. Spranger was also the Top Defensive Player of the tournament.

For the Crusaders boys, it was a second championship in three years, and came with a 57-44 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights of Burnaby.

The Holy Cross boys are ranked second in the Senior AA provincial rankings, three places up on St. Thomas More. And noting the big contributions from some Grade 11s, Crusaders head coach Matt Lechasseur is hoping for more of the same in the years ahead.

“We’re going to get used to this,” said Lechasseur of the victory, which came after a fifth place finish a year ago. “Last year was a down year. Now, we’re a young team. We’re a big team, and we’re tough to match up against. It (size) can wear teams down.”

The Crusaders cruised through the opposition last week, defeating the St. John Brebeuf Bears of Abbotsford 76-41 in the quarterfinal round, before getting past the Archbishop Carney Stars 56-39 in Friday’s semifinal.

In the final, the Crusaders knocked off a fifth-ranked Knights team.

Forward Aaron Madaisky of Holy Cross was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, while Grade 11 teammates Taylor Browne at guard and Henry Maduabueke at forward were all-stars.

St. Michael’s University Blue Jags are the number-one team in the Senior AA ranks, and the Crusaders would welcome a chance to take to the floor against the Victoria team.

“We’re going to Vancouver Island for a tournament in a few weeks, and we hope to see them there,” said Lechasseur.

“I think they’re on the same side of the draw as we are.”

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