Eagles survive late Tiger surge, win 65-61 at home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jenkins scores 19, McCain 16 as RCS remains undefeated at the Nest


Sports Editor

Reserve Christian didn’t make every play that Coach Timmy Byrd wanted to see in their Friday night home game against Holy Cross. They just made enough of them.

With the Tigers down 64-61, Holy Cross’s Steve Logan had a clean look from 3-point range that could have tied the game with 24 seconds remaining in regulation. But the shot was long, and the Eagles’ Chris Roussell gathered the rebound. RCS’s Eddren McCain would draw a foul and make one-of-two from the free throw line to ice a 65-61 win for the Eagles.

“We hadn’t practiced this week, and we were sluggish and out of shape,” said Byrd. “There were some good things, and some that we need to handle better. I am proud that we were able to hold it down at the end.”

Reserve Christian (24-8, 2-0) has not lost at home this season, a perfect 7-0 at the Eagles’ Nest.

“When we’re at home, we’ve got a lot of fire and energy, something we need to take with us in our road games as well,” said McCain, playing for the first time in eight days after recovering from an injury. “When we play here, it’s definitely in our favor.”

Reserve Christian led for the entire game, but Holy Cross wouldn’t go away. The Eagles led 18-10 in the first quarter before Holy Cross (11-9) cut the lead to one in the second, 22-21. The Eagles led 33-31 at halftime.

A Kaliff Gastearl bucket kickstarted an 8-0 run to begin the second half, giving RCS a 41-31 lead. A basket by the Eagles’ Lucas Martin gave Reserve Christian a 51-38 lead at the end of the third quarter.

But just as the Eagles went on a run to begin the third quarter, so did Holy Cross in the fourth. A three-point play by Logan started a 10-0 Tiger run that made it 53-48. The teams would trade baskets when a Logan 3-pointer made it 57-55. McCain made one-of-two free throws to extend the lead to three, but Holy Cross’s Phil DiMacco scored to draw his team within one, 58-57.

DiMacco would make one-of-two foul shots with 1:48 left in the game to tie it up at 58.

But a drive by McCain drew a foul, and he made both foul shots to give RCS the lead for good, 60-58. Martin and McCain would go a combined 7-of-10 at the end of the game to ice the win.

“We get up 10, 12, and then we lose focus,” said Byrd. “We’re lucky we were able to win. We jumped out to big leads in the first and second half, and don’t put them away. We can’t do that and expect to win consistently.”

Holy Cross center Brandon Moore led the Tigers with 18 points, 13 in the first half, where he was a terror around the basket.

“We didn’t box him out at all,” said Byrd. “We were able to do a little bit of a better job on him in the second half.”

Four Eagles scored in double digits, led by Cedric Jenkins’ 19 points. McCain scored 16. Martin and Roussell added 10 each.