By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
2/11/22 * 5:30 PM
(EAST LONGMEADOW) - On Thursday night, the Cardinals from Pope Francis were on the road to play against the Spartans from East Longmeadow.
Thursday was also Senior Night for six East Longmeadow Seniors: Ray Carter; Pat Crenshaw; Nate Wainwright; Luke Mazza; Erik Donaldson; Paul Gosselin.
The game didn’t start well for the Spartans. They turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the game. Pope Francis capitalized on all those turnovers and led early 6-0.
Ray Carter kept the Spartans in the game in the first quarter. He got past Pope Francis defenders for easy layups at the basket.
On the other end, the Vedovelli brothers, Cam & Ryan, led the Cardinals on offense. They both made good drives to the basket for shots in the lane.
In the second quarter, the score was tied at 19. Pat Crenshaw hit a jump-shot to give the Spartans their first lead 21-19. Crenshaw also made three 3s in the second quarter. The Spartans led at halftime 27-23.
The third quarter was closely contested. Both teams traded shots. Nate Wainwright and Crenshaw hit 3s for the Spartans. AJ Holl scored 2 points for Pope Francis in the first half; he scored 12 points in the third. He made three 3s and got fouled on the last three he hit. Holl made the FT and the game was tied at 43 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, East Longmeadow led narrowly 50-48. Pope Francis Guard TJ Reid got around his defender and made a floater in the paint. That shot tied the game at 50.
Reid made another important play down the stretch. He made a pass to Holl for a layup and Holl got fouled again. He made the FT and the Cardinals were up 53-50. On the next Cardinal possession, Holl drained a three to put them 56-50.
East Longmeadow couldn’t mount a comeback; Pope Francis won a tough road game 62-57.
Holl scored a game-high 20 points. Cam Vedovelli scored 18 points.
Crenshaw scored a team-high 19 points for the Spartans. Ray Carter scored 17 points. Nate Wainwright scored 12 points.