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Holness-Lightbody a game-saver for St. Francis hoops

COUSINS — Pictured above top, senior Trey Holness and junior Kordell Holness-Lightbody, cousins from Canada, have teamed up to lead St. Francis. Photos courtesy of Ron Larson.

Kordell Holness-Lightbody has been quite the find for the Saint Francis Red Raiders basketball team. But, on Feb. 1, he elevated his game to a new level, shining brightest in the most opportune of times.

The junior guard scored the final six points of the game, to erase a late 4-point deficit, as his coast-to-coast layup with 1.8 seconds left, gave the Red Raiders a 70-68 win over South Park High School on Feb. 1.

“[Coach] just said attack the basket because basically we could attack the basket at will this game,” Holness-Lightbody said. “So he said just attack the basket and get a high percentage shot.”

The game-winning basket was set up by the work on the other end of the floor from his cousin, Treyvon Holness. The two, who are both from Montreal and live with head coach Brian Ferris, came up with big plays throughout the final period, but none bigger than a block and rebound on back-to-back defensive possessions for the Red Raiders that eventually set up the game-winner.

South Park held a 4-point edge with about a minute left, when Holness-Lightbody went the length of the court and cut the deficit in half. He tied the game 30 seconds later, with a pair of free throws, with 44.2 seconds left. The game featured six ties and 17 lead changes.

After the block by Holness, a missed shot by the Red Raiders and another defensive stop, Ferris called a timeout with 8 seconds left, to try to get his team a good look at the basket.

Holness-Lightbody got free on the in-bounds pass and caught the ball on the run. He split two defenders near mid-court, used a ball screen near the 3-point line and, after a crossover dribble around the free throw line, he spun the ball off the left side of the glass with his right hand. “It’s nice having, what I think is one of the top players in Western New York,” Ferris said, about Holness-Lightbody. “Kordell is unbelievable. So that helps, especially at the end, he made that his own.”

Holness-Lightbody netted a game-high 21 points while his cousin, the 6-foot-8 senior forward, scored 14 and pulled down 11 rebounds. St. Francis had two others in double-figues as Dave Kennedy scored 15 and Maurice Burse put home 11.

“They had a lot of size,” South Park coach Ron Killinger said. “They obviously play in a tough league and they’re playing their games close. But when I saw that height, I knew we were going to have to work on the boards.”

Despite a 5 – 12 overall record, the Red Raiders are beginning to hit their stride. After holding a halftime lead against Saint Joe’s the night before, St. Francis fell by eight to its Monsignor Martin rival. Holness-Lightbody scored 27, to lead his team that game. Burse added 11 points.

“That night, I think we were better,” Ferris said. “I said, after the game, ‘Guys, we can take some things from this game. Don’t be satisfied with a loss, but we can take some things and build on it.’ And we’re going to see them again, and probably two more times.”

St. Francis will meet the league’s top teams in Canisius, Nichols, St. Joe’s and Timon once more this year, so it can position itself, heading into the Manhattan Cup playoffs.

“We’ve been in every game, so yeah, the league is crazy, and I think the Manhattan Cup is going to set up to have, hopefully, some surprises,” Ferris noted.

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