Evan Conti had plenty of motivation when he took the short trip down Francis Lewis Boulevard for the second Battle of the Boulevard game of the year against archrival St. Francis Prep.
The senior swingman was 21 points shy of scoring 1,000 points for his career and there was the revenge factor after the Terriers smoked Holy Cross by 16 last month.
But most importantly, Conti said, was the first-round bye in the upcoming CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan playoffs that the Knights are trying to secure.
Holy Cross moved into sole possession of second place in Brooklyn/Queens last night with a 62-52 victory in front of 1,200 raucous fans at St. Francis Prep. Conti fell six points shy of a personal milestone, but the victory was more satisfying.
“That will come and it’s nice, but the main goal is to win a city championship,” Conti said. “In 10 or 20 years I’ll sit down and reflect that I had a pretty good career at Holy Cross, but right now it’s strictly business. I’d much rather get the win than get my 1,000th point.”
Conti finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, including a huge 3-point play after George Hatzioannides tied the game at 43 with just under four minutes to play.
“If they got the lead and the crowd was going ballistic, it would have been very hard to overcome that,” Conti said. “It was important that we made our foul shots and held together to get the win.”
Will Davis (11 points) followed with a massive 3-pointer to extend the Holy Cross lead to 49-43 with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter.
“Those were two huge plays,” Gilvary said. “I thought Will struggled a little in the first half and I just kept telling him to not overthink things. He’s such a good player and he’s such a smart kid that sometimes it’s like paralysis by analysis.”
Junior guard Marquise Moore had 14 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and Marcus Hopper added 12 points for Holy Cross (13-8, 5-5), which shot 12-of-13 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
“It’s the best game of the season, rivalry, right down the block,” Moore said. “You can’t get any better than this.”
Said Conti: “Me and Marcus have been getting rebounds by ourselves all year and we needed someone else to step up and rebound. [Moore] played well on Khalid and didn’t let him get second-chance shots. I’m telling you, he’s one of the best juniors in the city. People are starting to realize that now.”