The Boys Basketball team will look to get back to it’s winning ways in 2018-2019. Although the Pioneers finished 15-7 last season, the team missed out on having a championship season. Richard lost several games by single digits. In fact, GR would lose 6 games by a combined 16 points. Returning 8 players to this seasons roster brings optimism for the Richard team this season.
“We have some players returning with some varsity experience.” Said Coach Daiek, who is entering his 27th season coaching basketball and 8th season at Gabriel Richard Catholic. “With the season starting earlier and our football team making a good run this year, we have only had 12-13 practices. We are going to have to rely on our experience a little bit here.” Coach Daiek added.
Returning for the Pioneers is All Catholic and All Area, Garrett Balazsi. The senior, who played on the varsity since his freshman year, will again play the point. Averaging over 12 points a game and 6 assists last season.
“He (Balazsi) had a strong Junior season.” Coach Daiek said. “He has really worked hard this off-season and he has shown some improvements in every part of his game.” Coach Daiek added.
Senior guards Matt Silka and recent CMU commit (Baseball) Kevin Tuttle return to the back court for the Pioneers. Both players where starters for GR and will look to improve on their success last year. Both Silka and Tuttle started over 15 games last season and provided consistent scoring and defense. Seniors, Kyle Alonte and Colby Daiek both saw time last season and will look to produce in this years rotation. Junior, Jacob Kowal will see some action at the guard position as he has proven to be a consistent threat. Juniors, Braden Bilinski and Hans Frederick will continue to develop and compete at a competitive guard position.
“No question that this is one of the strengths of our team.” Daiek said. “We have some good athletes at several positions and having the ability to play several players will hopefully work to our advantage.” Daiek added.
At the forward spot, the Pioneers will have returning Sophomore, Michael Holdsclaw and Junior, Robbie Henderson. Holdsclaw as a freshman, started several games on the varsity. He was also named All-Catholic in football this past season. Henderson was a starter on the Junior Varsity and will be counted on at the forward position. Juniors, Matt Maki and Nick Huiser will look to compete for time.
Last season, time in the post was a challenge as the Pioneers boasted a big front court with 2018 graduate Tahj Mcgee (Ford College). This season GR returns Seniors, Deshon Elam and Jacob Henderson. Henderson was named All League last season while Elam has played on the Varsity since his Sophomore season. Both look to split time in the post and provide some presence in the paint. Freshman, Michael Calhoun has made a positive impact at the start of the season. Calhoun is working hard for minutes and may see some action. Rounding out the bigs is football standout Nevin Hughes.
The Pioneers will again play a highly competitive schedule. With local class A and B teams on the schedule like Wyandotte and Trenton, Richard has added SMCC (2018 Final Four) and Our Lady of the Lakes to their non-league schedule. Gabriel Richard will again compete in the CHSL Intersectional with 2018 Champs Cardinal Mooney, Everest Collegiate, Detroit Cristo Rey and of course crosstown rival Cabrini.
“This is the toughest competition we have had since taking this position.” Daiek said. “Our league schedule is tough enough and adding these guys to the schedule will be a challenge. Hopefully we can be competitive and stay positive in these games. We are hoping it pays off later in the state playoffs.” Daiek added.
Gabriel Richard opens up with St. Mary’s Catholic Central tonight (11/27) at 7:30pm.