Tyler Mozeleski led Holy Cross in scoring and rebounding and contributed to the team defensive effort that added up to one of the most impressive come-from-behind victories in the first three rounds of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association basketball tournament.
Before they were among the half of the state semifinalists who had their tournament schedules disrupted twice by weather, the Crusaders knocked off Math, Civics & Science High School, 71-58, March 17 in a quarterfinal game at Bethlehem Liberty High School.
Holy Cross held the highest-scoring team in the state tournament without a field goal for the entire fourth quarter while completing a rally from a 10-point, second-half deficit.
Mozeleski, a 6-foot junior forward from Yatesville, made five of his six 3-point attempts in the game and played a leading role in a game-changing, 16-0 run. He finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds to help the undersized Crusaders dominate on the boards, grabbing two-thirds of the game’s rebounds.
Math, Civics & Science, the champion of District 12 for Philadelphia schools, had scored 101 and 92 points in the first two games of the state tournament, then 55 in the first three quarters before managing just three more. While the Crusaders reached the postseason unranked on the state level, the Mighty Elephants were ranked fourth among Class 2A teams by cityofbasketballlove.com and fifth by pennlive.com.
The Mighty Elephants led 55-46 before Mozeleski hit a 3-pointer for the final points of the third quarter. Mozeleski added the go-ahead 3-pointer and hit two free throws to complete the streak to a 62-55 lead with 3:37 to play.
Mozeleski assisted Holy Cross being part of an impressive boys state tournament by teams from District 2 – and the Lackawanna League in particular – this season.
Through three full rounds and half of the state semifinal round, District 2 teams were 17-8, including 11-3 by Lackawanna League teams.
Abington Heights is already in the state final in Class 5A. Holy Cross and Hazleton Area, in 6A, went into Saturday’s rescheduled state semifinal doubleheader with a shot to reach the finals.
When the semifinal round could not be completed, the PIAA took its three-day, 12-game championship schedule at the Giant Center in Hershey and moved it from Thursday through Saturday. It is now scheduled to be played Monday through Wednesday.
Because of the delays, a previously scheduled all-star doubleheader will be played before the state tournament is complete.
The first Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic will be held Monday with the girls game at 6:30 and the boys at 8 at Wilkes University’s Marts Center.
Senior all-star teams from the Wyoming Valley Conference and Lackawanna League will square off. Jackson Danzig from Abington Heights will not be able to play for the Lackawanna League because of the state final the next day. Three Hazleton Area players, for the WVC team, and one Holy Cross player would have to miss the game, too, if their teams got through Saturday’s semifinal.
Wyoming Area’s Sam Greenfield is on the WVC boys team. The WVC girls team includes Alexa Noone from Pittston Area along with Sarah Holweg and Addison Orzel from Wyoming Area.
With the game made up largely of future college players, a shot clock and 20-minute halves will be among the rules in place.
The 49th annual George P. Moses All-Star Classic, a senior all-star doubleheader for WVC teams, is set for April 6 at Holy Redeemer.
Wyoming Area’s Chad Lojewski will assist Holy Redeemer’s John Jezorwski in coaching Team Jezorwski for the girls game. Holweg, Orzel and Kristi Skok will be part of the team.
Noone and Pittston Area teammates Mary Silinskie and Andrea Ruby will be part of Team Johnson, coached by Kelly Johnson of Dallas.
The boys rosters were announced earlier.
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