Crusaders storm past Broncos
WHITINSVILLE CHRISTIAN 87, KEEFE TECH 38
By Carl Setterlund CORRESPONDENT
WORCESTERâ Whitinsville Christian continued to breeze in its postseason march, turning back third-seeded Keefe Tech, 87-38, in a Central Mass. Division 3 semifinal tonight at WPIâs Harrington Auditorium.
âTheyâre into it,â Crusaders coach Jeff Bajema said. âTheyâre having the time of their lives right now.â
Senior guard Taylor Bajema scored 24 points to lead the second-seeded Crusaders, the defending champions who will play in their third straight final. Six-foot-9 Hans Miersma and Colin Richey each added 15 points before the starters were pulled midway through the third quarter.
âThese hoops were great to us today,â Taylor Bajema said. âEverybody was hitting 3s, and when weâre on fire, we just donât miss. Weâve got a lot of great shooters on this team.â
Whitinsville Christian (20-2) faces top-seeded Quaboag in the final at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Fitchburg State.
The Crusaders likely will be without starting forward Antonio Estrella after the sophomore suffered what appeared to be a serious ankle injury in the first quarter.
Senior guard Jose Morales (8 points) and younger brother Brandon Morales (9 points) carried the scoring for Keefe Tech, who finished 18-3.
âWeâve started a full junior pack in recent games in the tournament, and we didnât really think this was going to be the season,â said Keefe Tech coach Paul Cavicchi, whose Broncos lose one key player to graduation, Jose Morales. âWeâre real happy with where we areâ¦ Weâre going to bring a lot of kids back, and I think the experience is going to be good for them.â
Miersma quickly capitalized on the Crusadersâ huge height advantage, winning the opening tip and then getting free on the right baseline on the gameâs first possession.
After receiving the ball, the senior center promptly drove for a dunk, setting the tone early.
âThis height doesnât come around often,â coach Bajema said.
Jose Morales responded with a 3-pointer from the left side for the Broncos, but Taylor Bajema, who scored 12 first-quarter points, came back to drain a trey.
Whitinsville led, 25-10, after one, then went on a 12-3 spurt to start the second. Miersmaâs inside bucket off an inbounds pass made it 37-13.
Miersma scored on a putback as time expired to extend the Crusadersâ halftime lead to 45-19.
Whitinsville Christian kept hitting after intermission, starting with an 18-0 run, with Richey hitting three 3-pointers.
The Broncos finally broke their scoreless drought five minutes into the second half after Anthony Moralesâ no-look pass in traffic earned Devin Arroyo an open look inside.
âWeâve been working on defense all year, and weâre finally executing,â Taylor Bajema said. âOur main goal is just to play great defense, and weâve been doing that the past three weeks and held a lot of good teams pretty low.â
A highlight for Keefe Tech came at the end of the third quarter, when Wilfredo DeJesus jumped into a passing lane for a steal and heaved a shot from half court, swishing it at the buzzer. But that 3-pointer only left the Broncos trailing, 74-28, entering the fourth quarter.
Whitinsville Christian junior forward Jesse Dykstra had eight points, all in the final period