By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
ABSECON — Normally, basketball teams come out a little sluggish on the second day of back-to-back games. Holy Spirit didn’t have any problem with energy on Monday night. The Spartans were itching to get back onto the court and wipe a bad taste away after St. Joseph beat them with a last-second shot on Sunday at the Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend event.
The Spartans took out their frustrations on a young and inexperienced Cedar Creek team, blitzing the Pirates with a 13-0 run to start the game before putting things on cruise control in a lopsided 73-38 victory, Holy Spirit’s first of the season.
“We needed this win, coming off our last two games. We started out rough, but we’re going to keep working hard and practicing. We have a long season ahead of us,” said Holy Spirit junior point guard Drew Gallagher, who finished with nine points.
Holy Spirit pushed the pace from the opening tip, and Cedar Creek had a tough time defending the Spartans in transition. Reece Miller converted a pair of layups and Gallagher followed with a 3-pointer as Holy Spirit bolted to a 7-0 lead, forcing Cedar Creek to call a timeout less than two minutes into the game.
Things didn’t get much better for the Pirates coming out of the timeout, as Gallagher converted a steal and Miller scored two quick buckets to push the lead to 13-0. The Pirates finally got on the board with 3:04 left in the first quarter when Javon Bailey scored, but Holy Spirit went on another run to extend its lead to 22-6 by the end of the first quarter.
The Spartans got some balanced scoring, as nearly every player in the rotation scored. Freshman Christian Kalinowski led the way with 15 points, as he had a strong second half, while Joe Marczyk and Gallagher each added nine and Isaiah Gerena — another freshman — finished with 10 points. Miller scored seven points, while Dante Daniel, Jake LaMonaca and Joe Glenn each chipped in with six.
Cedar Creek got a team-high 12 points from Bailey, while Najee Coursey added seven.
Gallagher said the Spartans are making more of an effort to be an up-tempo team this season.
“We have to keep pushing the ball to be successful. We really just needed a win to boost our confidence,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a win (over Oakcrest) on Thursday and go into the Christmas break 2-2. A lot of took that loss yesterday hard, but we knew we just had to be energized and come out here and get the win.”
Gallagher added that getting a big lead helped because it allowed the Spartans to get some of their younger players extended minutes, which is always a big plus before the conference season begins in January.
“They need to boost their confidence right away, and once they get that confidence boost they’ll get a feel for what they can do out on the court,” Gallagher said.
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN