By Nathan Seidel
Varsity basketball hit its stride lately, with three wins in a row following a tough 64-60 loss at Liberty Christian on Dec. 9.
The Raiders’ won again last night against the quick Tigers of Hargrave Military Academy. After a shaky start in which the team was down 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, North Cross pulled ahead by 20 by the third quarter. Shooting guard Keith Oddo, who recently committed to play at the University of Richmond, said the team picked up its intensity, but then saw the lead go away. Hargrave cut the lead to 46-40, when point guard Jordan Lowery fouled out with about three minutes left.
“It hurt us when Jordan got in foul trouble,” Oddo said.
With a six-man rotation, the Raiders seemed tired late in the game when The Tigers fought back with a constant press, forcing numerous turnovers, but to no avail. The Raiders hit their free throws down the stretch and managed to secure the W at the end, with a final score of 49-40.
“We hit our final shots,” coach Ed Green said, “and that definitely was a help.”
This win gives the Raiders a 5-1 record on the year, in prime position to do some damage as they enter the thick of their conference schedule.
Coach Green is optimistic about this team’s possibilities. He feels it has the talent and potential to reach great heights.
“I think our chances right now are as good as anybody’s,” Green said. “Thing is, we won [the conference] last year, so everybody in our league is out to knock us off.”
One reason for the team’s continued success is Peyton Bailey (‘16), a starter at power forward, who transferred from Dayspring Christian Academy. He is a big fan of our community and basketball program.
“The transition has been smooth,” Bailey said.
Bailey likes Coach Green’s style of play and his new teammates.
“I like to run,” he said about liking Coach Green’s system, “I like that a lot.”
The Raiders’ next game will be Saturday in a rivalry game versus the Celtics of Roanoke Catholic.
Forward Bennett Holley (‘15) is leading the Raiders in points per game (17.0) as well as 5.5 rebounds. Shooting guard Oddo also pours in 14.5 points per game and five assists per contest. In addition, Lowery contributes 3.3 steals and center Kennedy Nwabia (‘15) pulls in 9.8 rebounds every game.
“It’s a team game,” Nwabia said. “Five guys pass the ball around. We move the ball a lot. Everyone does their part cleaning the boards and scoring, which makes our teamwork effective.”