Holy Cross sweeps Trinity, heads to CCAC playoffs
Thomas Zwiller | Tuesday, February 21, 2023
The Holy Cross men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled to Deerfield, Illinois, to finish their regular season conference schedule against Trinity International University with lots at stake for both teams.
The women’s team came into their game looking to set a new record for regular season wins and win percentage in program history. The previous high mark for regular season wins was set in 2018-2019 when the team went 15-15 in the regular season. Last year’s squad set the win percentage mark when they went 15-14 (.517).
The Saints opened their game against the Trojans by taking a 13-0 run in the first four minutes of the first quarter. That opening run set the tempo for the first quarter, and the Saints held the Trojans to single digits on 30% shooting from the floor.
The Saints began the second quarter with a layup from senior Jayda Miller that extended the lead to eleven. Junior Lauren Morris got the Saints to 23 points before the Trojans finally got to double digits with 8:44 left in the second.
The Saints continued to build on their lead thanks to their potent defense, which forced three turnovers in the first two minutes, and 11 turnovers in the second quarter alone. Holy Cross boasted an impressive 43-24 lead at the half they would ultimately turn into a 95-53 victory.
By beating Trinity, the Saints finish their regular season 16-12, with a CCAC record of 11-9. That record is now the program’s all-time mark for regular season wins and win percentage (.571).
The squad now turns its attention to the CCAC playoffs, where they are the seventh seed. Their opponent is the second-seeded Indiana Northwest Red Hawks, who finished the season with a 17-3 conference record and a 22-6 record overall.
The Saints played the Red Hawks earlier in the season, back on January 28th, where they lost 56-70.
Historically, the Saints have struggled against IU Northwest. The team is 2-10, and the program’s last win was in 2011. Since then, the team has lost nine straight games, with the Red Hawks boasting an average margin of victory of 13.1.
The Red Hawks will host the Saints on Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Holy Cross Men’s basketball team entered their game with much higher stakes. If the Saints defeated the Trinity men’s team, they would secure a playoff berth. If they lost, they would be eliminated from the postseason.
The Saints began the contest precisely how they wanted to: a freshman Phil Robles II three-point shot, assisted by sophomore Justin O’Neal. However, the Saints would quickly fall behind as Trinity’s Diamond Presniakovas contributed six of the Trojan’s eight first points.
After consecutive missed three-pointers, head coach Mike McBride called a timeout which allowed the Saints to catch their breath and hit back-to-back three-pointers thanks to sophomore Nash Hostetler and senior Beau Ludwick, tying the game at 15.
The Saints briefly took the lead as freshman Tommy Snyder made a layup, but the Trojans tied and then took the lead on a 14-7 run, giving them a 29-22 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
Snyder was fouled on three of the next four Saints possessions and made all six free throws, getting the Saints within five as the first half ended.
The opening first minutes of the second saw the two teams trade three-point shots as the Saints began to claw their way back into the game. At 15:02, the Saints finally took a 44-42 lead, their first since 8:53 of the first half.
Now possessing the lead, the Saints began to build on it, and Snyder again began to shine, scoring the Saints following five points and keeping them ahead.
Their season on the line, the Trojans continued to battle hard and nailed a key three-point shot to tie the game with 11:40 to play, only to fall behind by three thanks to Hostetler.
Hostetler’s three-point make was a dagger for Trinity as the Saints began to build a double-digit lead that peaked at 72-57.
In the last five minutes, the Trojans got their deficit down to single digits, but the Saints held on to win 87-78.
Thanks to their clutch win on the road, Holy Cross improves to 14-14 on the season with a 9-11 conference record. While still below .500, their conference record is just good enough for a playoff berth as the Saints sneak into the CCAC tournament as the eighth seed.
The Saints will hit the road on Feb. 21 when they face the top-seeded Olivet Nazarene University Tigers in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
Holy Cross came away with an 83-72 upset victory over the Tigers the last time the two teams squared off on Jan. 21. They will look to repeat that feat, this time with their season on the line.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.