By Tom Robinson
Kieran Burrier’s scoring came to the forefront last week, but the senior captain and JB Hoops AAU alum handles many roles in his fourth season on the Holy Cross boys basketball team.
Burrier handles the ball for the Crusaders at times, is a big part of the team’s commitment to not letting being undersized be an excuse for poor rebounding and is part of the tough defense for which Holy Cross has become known.
Those on-court traits, combined with leadership responsibilities to help his teammates get through tough times, were on display when Burrier helped Holy Cross to a pair of victories and back into its usual spot at the top of the Lackawanna League Division 2 standings.
After scoring 44 of his team’s 101 points, and hitting the 1,000th point of his career in the process, Burrier is the PNC Bank District 2 Boys Basketball Player of the Week for the period which ended Sunday.
Burrier scored 20 points in a 49-31 victory over Old Forge, getting the four points he needed in the first quarter. He arrived at the milestone on a drive that started in the backcourt and resulted in him weaving his way through the Blue Devils defense as he approached the basket.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Burrier said. “I didn’t want to let it affect my game.”
Burrier knew he was close, but did not want to know the particulars of his pursuit. Instead the crowd reaction made it clear.
After the brief celebration, the Crusaders found themselves facing a 19-18 halftime deficit.
“I can see in my teammates’ faces when they might be kind of riled up,” Burrier said. “In the locker room, I pretty much just calmed them down and said we have to come out and play our kind of basketball.
“We played better defense and we pulled away from Old Forge in the second half.”
In Friday’s game between teams that had won their league openers, Holy Cross saw a lead get away in the fourth quarter. The Crusaders never fell behind, however, and Burrier made six of eight fouls shots in the final 54 seconds of a 52-47 win at Lakeland.
Burrier had 14 of his 24 points in the second half of the game that was televised locally, bringing out even more rowdiness from a loud Lakeland student section.
“That was my first televised game,” Burrier said. “The crowd at Lakeland was a huge factor.
“We’ve played in big games with big crowds, but I think in the fourth quarter when they tied it up, the crowd noise was ear-piercing and you could feel the ground shaking.”
Burrier’s ballhandling and foul shooting helped get the Crusaders through.
The versatility and toughness Burrier brings to the game leads the guard into situations where he posts up certain defenders and where he can be called on to try to help defend bigger players.
Through his award selection, Burrier was averaging a team-high 15.2 points per game by shooting 54 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the line. He was second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per game while leading the Crusaders with 3.8 assists and 2.4 steals.
Burrier, last season’s Lackawanna Division 3 Player of the Year selection by NEPABasketball.com, has led the way as the defending Lackawanna Division 3 and District 2 Class 2A champions started 10-1.
Kieran is the son of Shawn and Danielle Burrier of Scranton.