The Gabriel Richard Catholic Boy’s Basketball team welcomed in the Frankel Academy from West Bloomfield on Thursday Night. The Pioneers entered the game in first place with a 10-2 record and 8-1 in the league. Frankel Academy entered the game in second place at 9-5 and 4-3 in the league. With a win, Richard would capture the Intersectional Title.
Earlier in the season, Gabriel Richard loss to the Jag’s 56-49 on the road led by 6-5 Ryan Otis. The Senior, scored 21 points in the earlier meeting and was a huge in the win. The Pioneers had been off for nine days with a league bye, giving them time to prepare for the key game.
“It was a good break for our kids.” Head Coach, Kris Daiek said. “It gave us a chance to get our legs back and rest some injuries.” Coach added. “It also gave us time to prepare for them and we knew Otis was going to be a key.”
In the first, Richard’s defense on Otis was apparent. The Pioneers would not allow him to touch the ball. Senior, Kevin Tuttle not only drew the defensive assignment on Otis, he also sparked the offense scoring 6 points in the quarter. Junior, Robbie Henderson would add 3 points and Sophomore, Mike Holdsclaw would score a basket. GR would take an early 12-9 lead.
“We came out a little too excited.” Daiek said of his team. “We were moving at 100 miles and hour and a little out of control defensively.”
In the second, the Pioneers again turned the defense up not allowing the Jags to score a basket for over 5 minutes, however, the Pioneer offense couldn’t find the mark. Richard would outscore the Jag’s in the second, 7-4 and head to half time 19-13. Once again, Frankel’s leading scorer would not score in the first half.
“Our defense was pretty good.” Daiek said. “The team did a great job defending tonight. We had some good looks at the basket…we just couldn’t finish. It seemed we where trying to score 20 points on each shot.” Daiek added.
In the third, GR would miss some good opportunities to extend the lead but the Jag’s would respond by starting the quarter on a 9-1 run and take the lead. Senior, Ryan Otis would drop in his first points during the run. After a timeout, Gabriel Richard would put together a run on offense and defense outscoring them 10-1 in the final 4 minutes. Mike Holdsclaw would drop in 4 points in the quarter and Junior, Jacob Kowal would hit a big three pointer to close out the run. The Pioneers would enter the fourth quarter up 30-23.
“Our kids responded.” Coach Daiek said. “That was a huge shot by Kowal…It gave us some good momentum.” Daiek added.
In the fourth, It was all Pioneers. Holdsclaw would score 6 points in the quarter while Senior, Garrett Balazsi would score 6 and Kevin Tuttle would drop in 5 in the. Senior, Deshon Elam would add 4 points. Richard would outscore the Jag’s 21-4 in first 6 1/2 minutes in the quarter and go on to win 51-30. With the win GR would secure the Sectional Championship and secure the top seed in the CHSL tournament.
“We beat a good team tonight. They play extremely hard and they are well coached.” Coach Daiek said. “I am extremely proud of our guys and what they accomplished. We played good..tough..team defense.” Daiek added
Sophomore, Mike Holdsclaw would lead all scorers with 14 points 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Senior, Kevin Tuttle scored 11 points and 7 rebounds while Garrett Balazsi dropped in 9 points 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Senior, Deshon Elam had all 8 points in the second half and pulled down 5 rebounds. The Jag’s where led by Noah Schlussel with 9 points and Ryan Otis finished with 7 points.
The Pioneers move to 11-2 on the season and will host Cardinal Mooney on Tuesday night.