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New head basketball coaches at Holy Cross have teams with different levels of experience

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Two coaches with local ties have been put in charge of the Holy Cross High School boys and girls basketball programs.

Jerry Allen is the new girls head coach. He was on the Thomas More College women’s basketball team’s coaching staff from 2010-2015 and an assistant coach at Notre Dame Academy during the 2015-16 season.

Brandon Grammer

Jerry Allen

Brandon Grammer is the new boys head coach. He was an assistant coach at Holmes the last two seasons and head coach at Grant County from 2013-16 when his teams won two 32nd District championships and compiled a 35-51 record.

Allen is taking over a Holy Cross girls team that posted an 18-13 record last season with only one senior in the starting lineup. It was the Indians’ sixth consecutive winning season under former head coach Kes Murphy, who left the program to became Notre Dame’s head coach.

In Murphy’s eight seasons at Holy Cross, the Indians compiled a 151-81 record and became the first 9th Region team to win the Sweet 16 girls’ state tournament in 2015.

“Coach Murphy did a great job establishing a winning tradition and with only one senior graduating these girls are ready for more,” Allen said. “Essentially, I’m planning on coming in and changing a few things, but I’ll still be trying to continue the winning tradition.”

Last season, Holy Cross won the 9th Region All “A” Classic and lost in the quarterfinals of the small-school state tournament. In the post-season playoffs, the young team lost close games to Holmes, 34-33, in the 35th District final and to Ryle, 60-58, in the first round of the 9th Region tournament.

The top returning starters are 6-foot-5 freshman center Sidney Thomas, who averaged 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and junior shooting guard Olivia Crigler, who averaged 11.2 points with 72 3-point goals.

“I do want to run with them,” Allen said of his preferred style of play. “But this is a lot different than college ball where you can recruit players to fit your system. When a high school coach comes into a program, you’re going to make some adjustments to fit the personnel you have.”

The Holy Cross boys basketball team will lose the top three scorers on this year’s team to graduation. Those three seniors led he Indians to the semifinals of the 9th Region tournament and a 14-17 record in Ryan Schrand’s final season as head coach.

Grammer said he applied for the head coaching position as soon as he heard that Schrand was stepping down after compiling a 67-78 record in five years with the program.

“I interviewed for the job when Schrand first got it so I’ve been pursuing the Holy Cross job for five years,” Grammer said.

“I felt like it was a school where I could go in and make an impact,” he added. “I wanted to go to a school that had a great tradition and had a community behind it that loves their basketball and loves their school. And that’s Holy Cross.”

The top returning player for the Indians is junior center Pete Knochelman, who averaged 9.7 points and 7.7 rebounds.  Grammer will have to find a way to replace the three graduating seniors, who had a combined average of 45.5 points per game.

“Being (an assistant coach) at Holmes the last two years, I’ve seen the junior varsity and freshman teams at Holy Cross and the pieces are there,” Grammer said. “But it’ll take a collective effort. It’s not going to be three guys replacing those three seniors. We’ll definitely play more players than they probably have in the last few years.”

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