Crusaders unbeaten on Island

Henry Maduabueke of the Holy Cross Crusaders (left) was an all-star at a  tournament in Duncan. - FILE PHOTO / THE LEADER
Henry Maduabueke of the Holy Cross Crusaders (left) was an all-star at a tournament in Duncan.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO / THE LEADER

In a showdown of the top Senior AA high school boys basketball teams in the province, the Holy Cross Crusaders lived up to their number-one ranking.

The Crusaders defeated Brentwood College 72-63 in overtime in the championship game of the Brentwood-Shawnigan Lake Countdown to the Playoffs tournament Feb. 1-2 in Duncan.

The victory allowed the Crusaders to remain atop the Senior AA provincial polls, while Brentwood College climbed from fourth to second.

“They’re a very good team,” said Brentwood coach Blake Gage of the Crusaders. “They’re very big, very athletic. They beat us badly on the offensive and defensive glass. We had to shoot the ball well enough to stay in the game.”

The Crusaders played twice in four days to get the final. They defeated the Mark Isfeld Ice of Courtenay 48-44 in the first game Friday morning, getting 18 points and 15 rebounds from team captain Aaron Madaisky. Later in the day, Taylor Browne netted 20 points and Stanley Maduabueke added 14 rebounds in a win over Shawigan Lake.

The St. Michaels’ University Blue Jags were the second-ranked team in the provincial polls prior to the tournament, but dropped to third after a 60-54 loss to Holy Cross in a semifinal game.

Two Crusaders had a double double, with Madaisky scoring 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Henry Maduabueke putting up 20 points and a dozen rebounds to lift Holy Cross to the championship game against Brentwood College.

“It was obvious that the road to the final had taken a toll on our team as they seemed exhausted,” said coach Matt Lechasseur. “Brentwood came out flying in front of their fans. But as the game progressed, we began to take control of the game and the glass.

“Our ability to dominate the boards was the turning point of the game.”

Henry Maduabueke led the Crusaders with 21 points, with Madaisky contributing 17. Stanley Maduabueke tallied 10 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked three shots, and earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Madaisky and Henry Maduabueke were named to the all-star team.

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