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By Alex Fox, Xavier senior
CEDAR RAPIDS – Xavier’s boys’ basketball team took on undefeated Iowa City West on Feb. 5, looking to gain momentum with the substate tournament nearing.
Despite playing without senior star Dondre Alexander, the Trojans were able to win handily, 76-31. Junior Matt Nelson led the Saints with 13 points.
The Saints then traveled to Waterloo East on Feb. 12 looking to bounce back after the tough loss. Xavier held off a late run by the Trojans and won, 62-53. The Saints were led by sophomores Adam McDermott and Calvin Winker, who scored 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Xavier played Iowa City High at home Feb. 15, honoring its six senior (Trey Sampson, Reggie Schulte, Greg Foxhoven, Corbin Woods, Robbie Thinnes, and Patrick Mullin) before the game. Xavier fell to the Little Hawks, 55-50. Sampson knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 15 points to pace the Saints. Matt Nelson chipped in with 12 points.
“It was cool how supportive everyone was on senior night, and it was a special moment for us, even though we couldn’t pull off the win,” Sampson said.
With a 10-11 record, the Saints were paired against 7-14 Clinton in the first round of substate. The Saints started the game on a 19-0 run, and went on to win 73-38. McDermott led the Saints with 21 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter. The game featured two dunks, one by Nelson and the other by Sampson.
“If we keep playing well who knows what could happen during substate,” Foxhoven said. ”Our obvious goal now is to make it to state.”.
With the win, the Saints will take on second-ranked Dubuque Senior tonight at Senior. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.