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Holy Cross Holds Off Ryle

Holy Cross fought off rust --playing for the first time in ten days -- and a gutsy Ryle team, 57-46, Saturday night in Covington to pull even on the season at 10-10, while Ryle fell to for the seventh straight time and sixteenth time this year. The Raiders are now 4-16 on the year.
“We gave our guys some time off and we didn’t know how we were going to respond tonight,” Holy Cross head coach Ryan Schrand said. “The first half we played really good defense and we struggled a little bit offensively, but if you get nine or ten days off that happens. know, Ryle’s not gonna go anywhere and they made a little run and we responded well and held them off in the end,” he said. 
“We didn’t know what to expect and we thought we’d be a little rusty, but we hung in there and got the W.”
The Indians got off to a slow start in the opening quarter but rebounded to take a four point lead into the second, 14-10. With under two minutes remaining in the quarter, Indians’ point guard Leighton Schrand was pick-pocketed by Ryle sophomore Bryce Ashley, who gave the Raiders a 10-9 lead with a layup. But as Ryle thought it had a bit of momentum to end the quarter, Holy Cross’s Hamilton Scott stole the ball and got it out of his hand and off the glass in time before the buzzer sounded on the quarter.
Each team went on a three minute scoring drought to open the second, until Ryle sophomore guard Braden Cheesman pulled his team within two, 14-12, with five minutes remaining until halftime. 
Beginning with junior Erich Jakobowski’s three pointer, Holy Cross converted several buckets into a 23-15 halftime lead.
Hitting an immediate three to begin the third, sophomore Aaron O’Hara rattled off eight unanswered points to pull the Raiders to within one, 24-23. Ashley propelled Ryle to a one point advantage for the first time since late in the opening quarter with a following basket of his own and the Raiders’ led 25-24 with under six to go. Each team would not let the other get ahead as the margin remained one with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the game, via a three pointer by Raiders’ senior Max Lonneman to put his team up 40-39. But Ryle would not get any closer.
Having to rely on its chances of a comeback on the hope Holy Cross would not convert their free throw opportunities, Ryle saw the game gradually slip away. With two minutes remaining, Schrand made two shots from the line to put Holy Cross up by six, 46-40. Two possessions later, the Raiders’ foiled their chance to close the gap. After an O’Hara steal-and-dish to an open Cooper Scherr behind the three point line, Scherr’s attempt bounced off the iron and into the hands of an Indians’ defender. Down the floor, Jakobowski was fouled and sank both shots to make it 52-44. Holy Cross kept the game interesting as it fouled the Raiders several times, sending them to the line, but the Indians’ converted on more of their chances, closing out the victory.
Schrand led the Indians with 15, and senior Tyler Bezold added 11 – many near the game’s end when his team needed it the most. “He’s our leader and we wanted him to have the ball at the end of the game so he can get to the foul line,” coach Schrand said. “You know, it was a big win for us.”
Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor
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