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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Holy Cross College basketball winter break preview

Students across the tri-campus will likely use their winter break as a time to relax. That won’t be the case for the Holy Cross basketball teams, though.

Men's Basketball

The Holy Cross College men’s team could not have started their season any better​. Emphatic wins of 20, 25 and 12 at home over East-West University, Goshen and Moody Bible.

But those were the games the Saints were supposed to win. As the team got deeper into November, the opponents got more challenging at it showed.

A win streak of three turned into a losing streak of five in the month of November. It began with an 82-59 thrashing at the hands of Bethel. St. Ambrose and Roosevelt piled on, sending the Saints to .500 and 0-2 in conference play.

A non-conference game against Huntington dropped the Saints to 3-4. But the true back-breaking game came four days later against IU-South Bend.

The Saints outshot the Trojans, from the floor, from deep and from the line. Holy Cross limited turnovers and their bench performed beautifully, contributing 19 points.

The Saints, who jumped out to a 14-4, led by one with 2:19 to play. Sophomore Phil Robles II made a jumper to put the Saints up by three.

An IUSB bucket made it 40-41. With just 4 seconds on the clock, Robles II took to the free throw line.

He missed, an unfortunate outcome from a player currently shooting 77.8% from the charity stripe.

The Titans collected the rebound and completed their comeback with a buzzer-beating layup.

The Saints are now 3-6 on the year, after a 74-65 loss to Waldorf last Saturday. The team is still in search of its first conference win and will look to break a six-game losing streak when they take on Indiana Northwest.

Over the teams’ winter break, the team will have six games to try and salvage what might already be a lost season.

It’s by no means a foreign concept to the team. Last year when the team struggled in November, it rallied and won six of seven games. That team finished the year 15-15 and made it into the conference playoffs.

Can the team do it? That remains to be seen. The Saints play four conference games, at Calumet and Olivet and home to St. Francis and Judson.

Last year the Saints went a combined 3-4 against those squads; this year however, three of those teams have a better conference record to date.

The team will get its chance to start a turnaround this Saturday when they take on Indiana Northwest.

Women's Basketball

The women’s basketball team has had a much better season than last year to date. The Saints started off on the right foot, getting an 81-69 home win against Huntington.

The team then took a quick road trip to Atchison, Kansas to participate in the Benedictine Classic. The women’s team split its games, falling to Benedictine 92-77 and picking up a win, 66-61 against Baker.

The Saints then had four straight tough road games, including their conference opener against the Roosevelt Lakers.

The team played well and was in each of the four games but wound up going 2-2. They lost to Bethel (76-68) and Goshen (75-67), but snagged wins against IU Kokomo (68-55) and Roosevelt (69-56).

Once home, the Saints hosted IUSB and fell 55-47 despite leading by as much as eight. The team followed up the loss with a drubbing of Saint Ambrose.

The Saints dominated the game from start to finish, totaling 20 turnovers that resulted in 39 points. The Saints proved especially dominant in the paint, where they scored 58.

The women’s team will have two more games before they head into the break: one against Grace (a non-conference matchup) and one against Indiana Northwest.

Over winter break, the team will have five games, four of them conference matchups.

Odds are good the Saints are going to struggle in those conference matchups. In contests against Calumet, St. Francis, Olivet and Judson the Saints went .500 last year.

But this Saints team is also playing good basketball. And the results are showing up early. The team sits third in conference play.

Calumet and Judson are both 0-3 and 1-2, respectively. St. Francis and Oliviet should represent tougher challenges, with each team currently sitting at 2-1.

The team should be able to go 3-2 over the break, with likely losses to St. Francis and Olivet. Calumet, St. Mary’s and Judson feel like wins.

But before they get there, the team needs to play two more games and make it through finals.

The team will look to string together a win streak when they host Grace Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

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