By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
2/2/22 * 9:15 AM
(HOLYOKE) - On Tuesday night, the Cardinals of Pope Francis Preparatory School played on the road against the Purple Knights of Holyoke HS.
Pope Francis is a Catholic school, located in the East Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield, MA. Pope Francis replaced Cathedral HS. Cathedral was severely damaged by a tornado in the summer of 2011.
Holyoke HS is led by HC Juan Maldonado. Pope Francis is led by HC Justin Dalessio.
The first half was closely contested. Cam Vedovelli and Adam Sarlan led the Cardinals on offense. Vedovelli is a shooter and he can drive to the basket. Sarlan is post player. He has worked on his perimeter jump-shot since last season.
Roel Figueroa and Jael Cabrera led the Purple Knights on offense. Both players can shoot and get to the basket. Cabrera was also a great football player for the Purple Knights.
(#7 Jael Cabrera)
Even though the game was close, Pope Francis had a slight advantage in the first half. They were getting to the FT-line and slowing the pace of the game down. The Cardinals led at halftime 41-38.
The third quarter was contentious. Multiple players got into small skirmishes throughout the third. The referees warned players multiple times. The referees also had to stop the game a few times because of issues with the shot clock. The scoreboard went out all together at one point.
Despite the contention, Cam Vedovelli hit a three before the end of the third to put the Cardinals up 63-58.
In the fourth quarter, Holyoke fought back into the game. Patrick Gubala made a three to put Holyoke ahead 70-68. It was the first time Holyoke had led since the first half.
On the other end, AJ Holl made 2 FTs to tie the game at 70.
On Holyoke’s next offensive possession, Cabrera got the ball on the baseline. He drove to the basket, got to the rim and made a tough, contested layup. That layup put Holyoke ahead 72-70.
On the Cardinals next offensive possession, Holl got fouled on a drive to the basket. He made the first FT but missed the second. Pope Francis got the offensive rebound off the missed FT. HC Dalessio called a timeout with 36 seconds left.
Holl got fouled again and stepped to the line. He split the FTs again. The game was tied at 72.
Cabrera got a shot to win the game but missed. The Cardinals and Purple Knights had to quickly prepare for overtime.
The Purple Knights pounced on the Cardinals early in OT. Gubala stole the ball away from Ryan Vedovelli and scored a fast-break layup for Holyoke’s first FG of OT. Lordi Smith scored on a put-back layup that put Holyoke ahead 77-72.
Figueroa scored on a drive to the basket. Holyoke led 79-72.
Pope Francis made a strong attempt to comeback, scoring 10 points in the final two minutes. However, Holyoke kept pace with their run and maintained their lead to a victory, 88-82.
Roel Figueroa scored a game-high 28 points. Jael Cabrera scored 22 points.
Cam Vedovelli scored a team-high 27 points for the Cardinals. Adam Sarlan scored 19 points.
Holyoke is now 8-4; Pope Francis is 9-3.