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St. Mary’s Overcomes Injuries And Rallies For Big Win Over St. Francis

The injury bug keeps biting the St. Mary’s High School boys basketball team. But the Lancers have never looked for excuses, even when competing against the much larger schools in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.

Despite losing two more key players to injury and facing an eight-point fourth quarter deficit against MMAA rival St. Francis, St. Mary’s kept battling and rallied for a 58-54 home win on Wednesday night.

“We’re the walking wound right now but we still have to play,” Lancers coach Paul Rath said. “We’ve run into a rash of injuries  … we’re overcoming a lot but we have to keep going. Some guys that are reserves are getting a lot of time now so that will help.”

St. Mary’s lost standout point guard Eric Brown to a facial injury and junior Brady O’Brien also left with an injury in Wednesday’s game against the rival Red Raiders Senior Jacob Lukasik is battling n ankle injury, senior Frank Propis has been hobbling and senor Christian Szablewski is fighting through a wrist injury suffered on St. Mary’s trip to Cincinnati.

But St. Mary’s has never been about looking for excuses.

“We were definitely down some guys with Eric and Brady going down,” Lancers senior Matt Ciezki said “We’ve got to keep working, 100 percent. Those two guys went down and two more guys stepped up. That’s kind of our motto this year. We need to show off to other teams that we’re a strong team this year.”

On Wednesday, the Lancers started and finished strong against St. Francis in a big MMAA contest. Up 14-4 after one, St. Mary’s hit a slump and the Red Raiders seized control of the game and had the lead at halftime and again after three quarters. In fact, St. Francis led by eight with four minutes left in the game but the Lancers weren’t done battling. The Lancers went on a run and tied the game with just under three minutes on a 3-pointer by Ciezki.

“Oh man, that 3-pointer, that got the crowd going,” the senior standout said. “My teammates really set me up on the wing there so it was a great play by the whole team.”

St. Mary’s took the lead for good on a free throw by Jailen Russell and extended on buckets by Ja’Shawn Collins and Eric Kegler.

“Our coaches tell us about the last four minutes we just want to keep going strong,,” Ciezki said

Ciezki scored 13 points and Kegler added 11 for the Lancers (11-4 overall and 5-2 in the MMAA). Lucas Theisen scored 17 for St. Francis (9-7, 3-2), while Dorion Ivey added 10 for the Red Raiders.

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