Ever since the Pathfinder Bank Zebra Classic switched from a post-season all-star showcase to a mid-season event in 2014, Bishop Ludden and Christian Brothers Academy have continued their “Holy War” as part of the festivities.
They did so again Sunday night at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall, a new venue after recent editions took place at Le Moyne College, and in both the boys and girls games the Gaelic Knights got the best of the Brothers.
The boys game between Ludden and CBA again featured throwback jerseys. Unlike years past, when old Syracuse parochial schools were represented, the schools this time featured their own colors.
The jerseys won dated back to 1974, back when CBA’s long-time head coach and athletic director, Buddy Wleklinski, and assistant coach Ed Leone were players at the school and the two rivals shared a league title, but Ludden won the playoff game at Le Moyne.
On this night, Ludden would prevail, too, easing its way past the Brothers 61-39 just 24 hours after a home defeat to Rochester Aquinas.
It was the first time in more than three decades that someone other that Pat Donnelly was coaching for the Gaelic Knights against CBA, and Gallagher Driscoll, with plenty of help from his players, made his first “Holy War” a successful one.
But it wasn’t easy at the outset. Playing its usual tough defense, the Brothers contained Ludden well throughout the first half, surrendering an early lead, but roaring back late in the second quarter to tie it, 23-23, by halftime.
Only in the third period did the Gaelic Knights take charge, finding consistency on offense while, at the same time, controlling the paint on defense, forcing CBA into outside shots that kept flying off target.
That 17-5 push through the third quarter got Ludden ahead for good as game MVP Mykell Kaigler netted five points in that frame and 16 points overall.
Nic Button gained 13 points, with Champ Reid adding 11 points as Tyler Webster and John DeMonte had eight points apiece. No CBA player reached double figures as Aaron Clendenin led with nine points, while Nick Valenti and Nate Griffith each had seven points.
Before the boys took the floor, Bishop Ludden and CBA met in girls basketball. And this proved a closer contest, but again the Gaelic Knights finished in front, edging the Brothers 62-56.
CBA was just 3-5 going into the game, while Ludden was 8-3 riding a five-game win streak. Still, it was the Brothers going in front 16-10 by the end of the first quarter.
Just like it would go in the boys game, the Gaelic Knights gained a tie by halftime (25-25 in this instance), and then went in front during the third period, though in this case CBA didn’t go away. Led by Brooke Jarvis, who poured in 26 points, the Brothers made Ludden work all the way to the wire.
Aurora Deshaies, who passed 1,000 career points in last Friday’s win over Homer, had 24 points, but unlike Jarvis, Deshaies got substantial help from Lauren Petrie, who had 13 points, and Amarah Streiff, who got 10 points. Karleigh Leo added six points.
As a follow-up last Tuesday, Ludden pounded Hannibal 74-42 for its sixth win in a row, jumping out to a 25-8 edge by the end of the first quarter and eventually leading 61-28 before easing up late.
This was a display of the Gaelic Knights’ depth and balance. Deshaies had 14 points, with Katie Costello joining Streiff in earning 11 points. Petrie managed nine points, with Olivia Boyea contributing seven points as Kaitlyn Kibling and Keaira Odume each had six points.
Ludden’s “Rivalry Week” continued Thursday night when the boys Gaelic Knights went to Westhill and took the upper hand in that neighborhood battle, defeating the Warriors 73-57.
Essentially, Westhill never recovered from a first quarter where Ludden roared out to a 22-9 lead. For the rest of the night, the Warriors gave chase, with Ryan Gilmartin setting a career mark with 25 points as Zach Brown added 14 points and Charlie Bolesh got seven points.
Yet the Gaelic Knights remained comfortably in front, getting five players to score in double figures. Button’s 21 points included four 3-pointers as Monte Johnson stepped up with 14 points. Kaigler and Reid had 12 points apiece and Webster added 10 points.