By Tim Hayes ’22
Fresh off a dominant 72-24 win versus Shepard, the Crusaders faced off against the Blazing Trojans of Bloom in the regional final. Bloom came in with a 21-5 record and an easy 83-44 win against Rich Township.
The Blazing Trojans jumped off to a fast start and quickly built up a double-digit lead in the first quarter. As the half went on, the Crusaders were inching back into the game. The hard work finally paid off, and the Crusaders would cut the lead to 31-28 to end the half.
Things looked up at the start of the second half where the Crusaders started out as the better team. They finally took the lead they had been searching for but were unable to extend it past a few points. Bloom came storming back in the fourth quarter and quickly built up their lead.
Bloom went on to win the game 60-48 and take home the sectional final trophy. Ahmad Henderson led the Crusaders with 16 points and 5 assists, while Khalil Ross and Tre Dowdell added 10 and 9 points respectively.
After the game, Coach Bobby Frasor said, “You know, I thought we played hard. Bloom is a very good team and I knew it was going to be tough drawing the 5 seed. Just from watching tape, they had really good guards and size, they attacked, got downhill, and their defensive pressure was really good and caused us the most problems. Every one for us kind of sped off from it and would take a rushed shot or just shoot just a little bit quicker.”
The Crusaders finished their season 24-7 with an 11-3 record in the Catholic League, good enough for a third place finish. Junior Ahmad Henderson was named to the Chicago Sun Times All City first team, junior Nick Niego made the Chicago Sun Times All City third team, and senior Jack Lausch was named to the IHSA All-Academic team. The team was also able to get big wins over rival schools such as Marist, Loyola, St. Rita, St. Ignatius, and St. Laurence.
Looking back on the season, Coach Frasor said, “We did have a good year and a lot of people doubted us after we lost those 4 games during the middle of the year, but we did a lot of good things and we had some big wins. We had fun wins against teams like Marist and Rita while also having some good early season wins against Marian Catholic. What made me the most proud, though, was all these juniors who stepped up to varsity. Going into this year, Ahmad was our only player with varsity experience, so I think we gelled together really well and our guys stepped up to the task.”
Going into the 2022-23 season, Coach Frasor is bringing back the hull of his team. With the only seniors set to graduate being big man Jack Lausch and sharpshooter Danny White, the Crusaders are going to be one of the best veteran groups not only in the Catholic League, but possibly the whole state.
On his expectations for next year, Coach Frasor said, “I don’t want to set a bar like winning the Catholic League or a state title. It’s hard to do that and I just want us to improve. My message at the end of the season was that we’re bringing everybody back, and that we all need to get better. You could go through every guy and find their deficiencies, and I think if we address those and hit the weight room some more, I think we can have a good, deep team that will have a target on their back, but it will be a great opportunity.”
Crusader basketball will return next winter for what will surely be an even more eventful and winning season with a group destined for success. Thank you to this year’s group for making this season so special and memorable, especially seniors Jack Lausch and Danny White.
Photo Credit: Mike Emanuelson.
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