BOYS BASKETBALL: Holy Cross hits its stride in 4-4A season

Knights rapidly improving under first-year coach Curran



Midway through the season, Holy Cross and its first-year coach have reached an understanding.

TAPPS District 4-4A wins over Laredo St. Augustine Tuesday (73-64) and Victoria St. Joseph Friday (78-46) were evidence of the fact the Knights (8-17, 3-3) are all on the same page. The victories took on added meaning because they came on the heels of a blowout loss to powerful San Antonio Christian and re-established Holy Cross as a potential playoff contender.

“It has been good to see the boys buy into our whole philosophy,” said Holy Cross coach Chad Curran, who coached Castle Hills Baptist for the previous three seasons. “We don’t have a lot of AAU players. It’s about playing good defense, getting up and down (court) and making smart passes.”

Holy Cross lost its first 10 games this season, but has steadily improved. Rapidly, in fact, since the Knights picked up their first win (76-54) over Cornerstone Christian Dec. 2 in their TAPPS District 4-4A opener. They used the momentum to sweep their next four games at the Pearsall Tournament.

The Knights are fourth in 4-4A, trailing co-leaders San Antonio Christian and TMI (both 5-0) as well as Corpus Christi John Paul II (3-2 in district).

“Our goal has been to beat the teams we need to beat,” Curran said. “We’re working for that second or third (playoff) spot. San Antonio Christian has been beating all the good 5A teams in town.”

Scrappy Laredo St. Augustine (7-17, 1-5), whose mascot also is Knights, fit the bill as a team Holy Cross needed to beat. St. Augustine scored 10 points in less than two minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters to take the lead.

Holy Cross led 41-33 before the visiting Knights threw down the gauntlet.

“Early in the year, we lost focus when we got down,” Curran said. “Tonight, the kids responded. We made great adjustments in the second half. We played a little 2-3 (zone) to get them out of their rhythm. The kids have come a long way.”

Trailing 43-41, senior post John Autrey (10 points) scored inside and sophomore point guard Raymond Rios (18 points) drove for a layup that regained the lead.

St. Augustine’s Robert Gonzalez tied the score with a rebound basket, but Holy Cross launched a 13-2 run with a three-pointer from Thaddeus Gonzales (13 points). The long-distance shots quickly became contagious.

Jason Fernandez (12 points) and Gonzales each contributed three-pointers to the run, which left the host Knights with a 58-49 advantage with 3:42 remaining. Drives from Rios and senior Chris Rodriguez led to open shots.

“We were coming up with layups,” Rios said. “As we made more layups, we got the confidence to make our threes.”

Holy Cross received 20 points from senior guard Bryan Brown and 16 from Autrey in the win over Victoria St. Joseph.

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