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Crusaders take first step toward state tourney

Jesuit puts together a big finish to beat Barlow in its playoff opener


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARKER LEE - Jesuits Reid Bucy looks to pass the ball into the corner during the Crusaders first-round playoff win Wednesday.The Barlow Bruins went three-and-a-half quarters without letting Jesuit pull away from them in the first round of the 6A boys’ basketball playoffs on Wednesday. It was only a matter of time before the Crusaders put Barlow away.

No. 5 Jesuit distanced itself from No. 28 Barlow in the final few minutes and advanced to Round 2 with a 64-47 win.

Prior to the last couple minutes, there were several moments throughout the game where it felt like Jesuit was on the verge of blowing the game open. Barlow made some shots each time to stick around. The Crusaders had to fight off multiple comeback attempts from the Bruins to ultimately prevail.

Three minutes into the second quarter, Jesuit took a 22-11 lead on a 3-pointer from Jack Bell and an old-fashioned three-point play from Collin Landry. That got the Jesuit fans fired up, but they were quieted when Barlow’s Wesley Becker threw in a triple on the other end of the floor. The Crusaders had to work around a handful of Becker 3-pointers to get past the Bruins.

Jesuit responded to Becker’s first bomb and went up by 13 points as Henry Mondeaux made a layup and Landry drained a 3-pointer. Becker immediately sank another trey to keep the Crusaders from running away with the game. That shot opened a 9-2 Barlow run and the Bruins pulled to within six points by halftime.

The Crusaders hit the ground running to start the second half. Reid Bucy and Ryan Bay scored five points each in the first 3:30 of the third quarter and Jesuit lengthened its advantage back out to 12 points. Right on cue, Becker buried a 3-pointer.

Becker punched in another 3-ball with 1:30 to go in the period to narrow Jesuit’s lead to five points. Jesuit answered with a 10-2 run, propelled by Daniel Nelson who made a driving layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, to go ahead 54-41. One more time, Becker tossed in a 3-pointer to stave off a blowout. After that, luck ran out for Becker and the Bruins.

Jesuit finally left Barlow in the dust in the last three minutes of the game. Jesuit’s Jack Nadelhoffer hit back-to-back 3-pointers in that last couple minutes as the Crusaders outscored Barlow 10-1 to close out the game.

Becker kept Barlow in contention for most of the night, but the Jesuit’s offense never allowed the Bruins to catch up. The Crusaders never struggled to score, even when Barlow’s offense was having some success. The Bruins did not score more than five straight points because of Jesuit’s efficiency on the offensive end. The Crusaders biggest scoring lapse came in the first 3:30 of the game when they totaled three points. Following that stretch, Jesuit never went more than 1:15 without scoring.

Jesuit was led offensively by Nadelhoffer who finished with 13 points. Mondeaux and Nelson also reached double figures with 10 points each. Bell hit three first-half 3-pointers to end the night with nine points.

With the win, the Crusaders earned a date with Reynolds in the second round of the tournament. No. 21 Reynolds upset No. 12 Grants Pass 49-34 in Round 1 to set up the matchup with Jesuit.