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By John Richardson, Xavier senior
CEDAR RAPIDS – The Xavier boys’ basketball team has had its fair share of ups and downs in the recent weeks.
The Saints, who are 4-8 in the MVC Valley Division and 8-9 overall, started off the roller coaster with a thrilling overtime victory over Waterloo West.
The Saints maintained a lead throughout the entire match-up, and held a four-point lead going into the game’s final 30 seconds. The Wahawks tied the game with a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining. After a hard-fought overtime, the Saints came away with the victory thanks to steady free throw shooting by senior Corbin Woods, who was 8-for-8 from the line. Junior Matt Nelson led the team with 19 points, with sophomore Adam McDermott totaling 10 points.
However, the Saints were not as evenly matched in the next outing, falling to Cedar Falls despite 11-point performances from senior Trey Sampson and McDermott.
The Saints traveled to Dubuque Senior to face the fourth-ranked Rams. Xavier had Senior down seven at halftime, but in the second half fell, 42-34. The team was led by McDermott’s four 3-pointers.
The most recent match-up put the Saints up against Linn-Mar, where the team once again was outplayed in the second half. The game was tied 20-20 at halftime, but the Saints were outscored 16-12 in the third quarter, resulting in a final score of 52-44 in favor of the Lions.
The Saints, however, remain confident as the post-season draws closer.
“We just have to keep working hard in practice and get better each week,” senior Robbie Thinnes said.
The Saints host Jefferson tonight, then play at unbeaten and top-ranked Iowa City West on Friday.