January 26, 2023
Chat with Coach Biehl #3
by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. (CJ ’57)
"Last Friday, the Crusaders lost a hard-fought game at Holy Cross 59-56. “We had the lead for 30 minutes,” says Coach Chris Biehl. “I couldn’t fault the effort. The kids played hard. We had two or three banged up during the game and had to take them out. The trainer was the busiest guy in the gym.”
Already hobbled to start the game, leading scorer DJ Fowler went out when he rolled his ankle in the first quarter. “He came back in the second quarter but didn’t have any lateral movement. So the trainer thought it best to take him out. When he got hurt initially we were up 10 or 12. The second time, 12. He wasn’t scoring himself, but his defense was really getting under the skin of their best player, holding him to two points.
“At one point, we had four sophomores on the court. Usually, I complement the sophomores with an upperclassman, Eli Pichon or Parker Dinsdale, but Eli got hurt and sat for a while, and Parker’s thumb was not doing well. So we often had four sophomores and Kevin Marinello. Our matchups weren’t very good, so I reluctantly went to a 2-3 zone, which I’m not a big fan of. As a result, by the time we got Eli back, we lost all our momentum.”
But the game was still nip-and-tuck to the last minute. “Nobody’s gonna ever say the kids don’t battle. The reality is, when you play that much time with DJ and Eli out, where are points going to come from? You got to get stops, but they were getting some pretty easy looks. Holy Cross scored four ‘and ones’ (field goal plus foul shot) where they had layups, and we gave them a touch foul when we were out of position. Of all the things that came out of that game, that’s the thing we have to grow from. If you’re out of position, you have to make a quick decision. Foul as hard as you can or give them the layup. All the fouls were on sophomores.
“It’s been a long time since I coached a team that’s 2-4 (in league play). We very easily could be 5-1. We had a double-digit lead on everybody with the exception of St. Aug. People forget that we lost to them by 14, but it was a two-point game with 30 seconds to go in the third quarter.”
After a bye this Tuesday, the Crusaders start second round play against St. Augustine in the St. Mary’s Academy Gymnasium on Chef Menteur Hwy. The Purple Knights have won six district games in a row.
“I’ve watched the first game with St. Aug. six or seven times. We have to limit our turnovers. Many times, we forced a turnover and immediately gave it right back to them. They capitalized on our turnovers. We hope to throw a couple of new defensive looks at them.”
The Crusaders’ overall health “is better than we were. Fowler, barring no other setback, will likely play. As for Dinsdale, wrap up his thumb and play. He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever seen. We’re going in with nine players dressed out, although two are questionable. If I had to guess, I think those two will play, but we won’t allow those two to harm themselves. Troy Santa Marina had his first practice in a week today. He’s still trying to figure out everything. He’s had 14-15 practices for the season (after the football season). The other kids have had 70-80 practices."
Join us in support of our Crusaders versus St. Augustine on Friday, January 27th at St. Mary's Academy beginning at 4:15 p.m. Tickets must be purchased online at GoFan.com.
Photos courtesy of SVP Media Group, LLC