Prep Basketball

Xavier girls' basketball gets a little help from its friends

HS journalism: Group of boys helps Saints be more physical

Cedar Rapids Xavier head coach Tom Lilly talks to his players during a timeout in the fourth quarter of a game against Lewis Central in the 2013 state basketball tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier head coach Tom Lilly talks to his players during a timeout in the fourth quarter of a game against Lewis Central in the 2013 state basketball tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — There is a lot of effort that goes on behind the scenes of any sports team.

This is especially true for the Xavier girls’ basketball team. To get the girls to play with more physicality, Coach Tom Lilly sought the help of five boys from the Saints’ football team — junior Tyler Dupont and seniors Aaron Larson, Patrick McGinn and Derrick and Nathan Skala.

They all make the effort to be at practices to help the girls improve.

This group runs their next opponent’s plays, giving the girls an advantage in learning how to defend and score. Junior and leading scorer, Caitlynn Daniels believes their dedication has made a big impact on the girls’ game.

“The boys help us a lot because of their speed, length and strength,” Daniels said. “Going against them in practice makes going against our opponents in games easier.”

The boys were selected because they have certain skills to challenge the team.

“Having a scout team makes the team better by making them play at a faster pace and with more physicality,” Skala said.

The boys come to support, and enjoy watching their efforts make a difference.

“My favorite thing about helping out is having fun and going to the games to see how they do against the opposing team that we mimicked,” Dupont said.

The two “teams” have fun playing against each other.

“They make us work harder, but also make it a lot more fun with all of their jokes and funny moments,” Daniels said.

The Saints host Western Dubuque in a regional semifinal Saturday, starting at 7 p.m.

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