CEDAR RAPIDS — Still smarting from a three-game stumble into the winter break, the Cedar Rapids Xavier boys’ basketball team sought to recapture the formula that allowed it to start the season 5-0 and get ranked as high as 10th in Class 4A.
For first-year Coach Ryan Luehrsmann, that meant putting in work during the long layoff.
“We were able to get back to the basics, really work on our defense,” Luehrsmann said after the Saints ran away from Cedar Rapids Washington, 56-42, Friday night at Washington. “I thought when we had to, we guarded really well in both man and zone tonight.”
Leading 28-24 at halftime, Xavier charged out of the locker room, turning Washington over three times in the first two minutes during an 11-0 run highlighted by nine points from Corbin Woods to push the lead to 39-24.
“I think everybody just came out and definitely had a different vibe in the second half,’ said Woods, who finished with 15 points. “The intensity level was definitely up, and good things happened on the defensive side.”
Washington (1-6, 1-4 MVC), still finding its way under first-year coach Adam Sanchez, held brief first-half leads. Junior guard Nehemiah Newman scored a game-high 23 points, which included five 3-pointers, for the Warriors.
Trey Sampson and Adam McDermott each added 10 points for Xavier (6-3, 2-2 MVC), which begin its climb back up the MVC Valley Division standings.
“We were definitely itching to get back into the games,” Woods said.“This was a good win to get us back on track.”
Next for the Saints is Tuesday at Kennedy. Washington hosts Western Dubuque Saturday.