Holy Cross star helps his team advance at state tournament
Holy Cross (23-6) faced Constitution Thursday in a PIAA Class AA basketball tournament Final Four battle.
The winner would advance to Saturday's state championship game at Hershey’s Giant Center.
The Crusaders’ magical run to this point has been highlighted by an impressive array of contributions by every player. None bigger than 6-1 junior, Tom Montefour.
Blue Collar Kid
After two seasons pounding the pavement on his mini home court at the end of Hospital St, Montefour has taken his tireless, blue collar approach to courts across the area and state.
“After playing guard for two years, we asked Tommy to move to forward because of our lack of size,” said Coach, Al Callejas.
Montefour has stood tall for the Crusaders in accepting the challenge.
While Montefour has averaged 8.0 points per game, the Crusaders have leaned on other starters to lead the points parade. Montefour shoulders the aspects of the game that results in points in a variety of other ways.
That loose ball on the floor ... Montefour will dive into the scrum head first, come out with the ball and flick the ball to an open teammate igniting a score.
A missed shot comes off the rim or glass … Montefour is among the trees pin-balling his way to retrieve the errant shot.
“His toughness can be seen at both ends of the floor,” offered Callejas. “He is our leading rebounder. He’s constantly diving for loose balls and attacking the basket hard.”
Holy Cross, which has been outsized in most games, has used a tenacious, ever ball-hawking defense to compensate the lack of size.
“At 6-1, Tommy is asked to guard the opponent’s post player and despite being out-sized, on most nights, he’s been outstanding.
During the run through the playoffs, the Crusaders may have faced a taller team or more athletic team, but they have yet to encounter a harder-working unselfish squad.
“His willingness to do the little things that don’t show up in the box’s score is one of the reasons we have been successful,” stated Callejas.
With the team’s lack of height, everyone has to be able to be a jack-of-all-trades.
Montefour can take a defender in the paint, blow by a defender for a drive-by score, knock down the trey or score whether his back is to the basket or he is facing the rim. His versatility gives the Crusaders a big advantage.
“I just do whatever the team needs me to do at any point in the game,” noted Montefour. “I believe defense is my strength and our team believes a solid defense turns into a transition scoring offense.”
Advancing to within one game of a state title appearance has already given the Crusaders state recognition. They were seeking to take that last step last night.
“Tommy has a work ethic second to none,” offered Callejas. “His hunger to continue to improve makes him an indispensable part of our team.”
And for opponents, some bad news, Montefour and nearly every key contributor will return next season.
Whether they had one more game left this season was answered last night.
Either way, Holy Cross made state-wide noise this season and Montefour will be among those leading the crusade into states next season.