Varsity Basketball defeats Alief Taylor

By Liam Smith ’20

The Strake Jesuit Fighting Crusaders beat the Alief Taylor Lions 64-47 on Friday, January 24. Unlike in past games, the Crusaders scored in the paint with ease while minimizing turnovers.

Jesuit took control of the first quarter, scoring the first eight points of the game. Aaron Rucker, the 6’7’’ sophomore center for the Crusaders, established his presence early—scoring eight points in the quarter. 

Jesuit drove to the basket for their offensive production that night. They took advantage of many opportunities at the free throw line, yet they were efficient in their shooting percentage. Only when the team took hesitant jumpers did they squander their chances for points. 

The Crusaders held a 21-15 lead to start the second quarter and found a temporary rhythm—making five straight baskets. One of those shots came from sophomore shooting guard, Ryan Chang: a surprise three that breathed life into the gym. Taylor hit a three in response, and the next five minutes were a scoreless standoff. Jesuit took a timeout to regroup with two minutes left in the half. A set play gave Ryan Chang another open look behind the arc, and the Crusaders took a 35-25 lead into halftime.

At halftime, it was clear that Strake Jesuit wanted to win, they had to keep Taylor on their heels defensively. 

That’s exactly how senior point guard, Luke Thornburn, spent his Friday night. Out of the half, Taylor drew a three point foul. No biggie. Luke Thornburn responded with an AND 1 off a steal. Taylor went coast to coast for a layup. Thornburn went right back down the court with a drive of his own. Then, he poked the ball loose on Taylor’s next possession, allowing Oliver King to swoop in and force a jump ball. The forward’s efforts gave his team consecutive scores, with Luke Thornburn hitting a pull up two-point shot. Half a minute later, Thornburn was sliding along the court having drawn another foul—he’d make his two free throws. 

Within all this flurry of offense, the Crusaders outscored the Lions 16-10. Junior guard, Edgar Romero, crossed a defender and hit an exclamation point three to cap off the quarter. 

Jesuit cruised comfortably through the fourth quarter, nine potential points given up on fouls. Thornburn sliced his way through Taylor’s defense, hoisting up off-balanced shots, rebounding them and somehow scoring. It was that kind of night. Aaron Rucker’s AND 1 and Romero’s corner three cemented a twenty point lead to end the game, 64-47.

“We played really hard on defence, and we kept them to only one shot” Head Coach Amorosa said after the game. Jesuit didn’t give any second chance points, forcing one shot per possession all night. 

With this win, Strake Jesuit improved to 7-18 (2-5 in district play) while Alief Taylor dropped to 5-21 with no district wins.