Kyle Semmel does the dirty work for the Holy Cross basketball team - grab rebounds, play defense, spill blood.
That last duty isn't part of Semmel's job description, but it was in keeping with the nature of his contribution to Holy Cross' 37-30 victory over West Deptford Saturday in a scrappy, nonleague boys' basketball game.
Semmel's line: 12 minutes, one rebound, one steal, two jerseys.
"He shows us how it's done," said Holy Cross junior forward Lloyd Smith, who led the team with 13 points. "He shows us how a Lancer should be."
Semmel needed two jerseys because his first was covered with blood after he took an elbow to the nose early in the fourth quarter. He began the game as No. 32 and ended it as No. 14.
In between, Semmel played his usual game, bouncing off the bench to battle underneath, set picks, mix it up, and raise the thermometer reading on the Lancers' energy and toughness.
"I like to provide a little intensity," Semmel said. "We've got a lot of guys who have a lot more skill than I do. My job is to hustle, to provide a spark."
Semmel is the only senior on a Holy Cross team that starts five juniors. The muscular, 5-foot-10 athlete was a starter last season, but prefers his role as a reserve.
"I think it's better this way," Semmel said. "This team is better than last year's team. I like to watch the other team and see what they're doing on offense and defense. Then I can give us a change of pace."
Holy Cross has some talented juniors, especially Smith and guard Justin Dornisch, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
But the Lancers need senior leadership and toughness. Those are Semmel's specialties.
"He gives us that toughness," Holy Cross coach Barry Harper said. "He's a workhorse in practice. I don't want him shooting threes or dribbling into traffic, but he can change the complexion for us with his intensity."
Semmel, who lives in Burlington Township, is a three-sport athlete whose best game is baseball. A top outfielder and hitter for a Holy Cross team that should be among South Jersey's best in the spring, he's heading to Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., to play baseball for the Crusaders. He also played soccer for Holy Cross.
"If you saw him on the soccer field, you would know he only has one gear - wide open," Harper said.
Semmel was on the floor when Holy Cross took command of the game. His steal led to a fastbreak layup by Dornisch that gave the Lancers a 33-17 advantage with a little more than six minutes to play.
Moments later, Semmel was face-down on the floor. He caught an inadvertent elbow from a West Deptford player during another in a series of scraps for a rebound.
"I hope it's not broken," Harper said of Semmel's nose. "He'll be even scarier out there if he has to play in a 'Jason' mask."