It’s been a long wait for Riverview Gabriel Richard.
Their last Catholic League boys basketball tournament title came in 1998-99, but after Saturday night’s 63-56 win over Marine City Cardinal Mooney at University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall that was ancient history.
The Pioneers won the C-D division CHSL tournament championship in their third game this season against Cardinal Mooney — all wins. It’s tough to win three consecutive games against one team.
It was a huge win for Richard which now owns an 18-1 record.
“Winning the league was a goal, winning this title was a goal, winning the districts. This is up there, anytime you can win a Catholic League championship it’s pretty special,’’ Daiek said.
The Pioneers led throughout, but the Cardinals were never out of it.
At the end of third Richard led 45-29, but the game was just getting interesting. Cardinal Mooney kept chipping away at the lead and got within 4 points (55-51) with a minute and a half left. When No. 4 dropped a 3-pointer with less than a minute left, Mooney again with within 4 points (58-54). But Gabriel Richard held on for the win.
Mooney actually outscored Richard, 27-18, in the fourth.
“Did they miss a shot? We switched everything defensively, I thought we did a good job, (Nolan Julio) knocked down some 22- and 24-footers, our defense is designed to kind of do that, to make teams beat us from the perimeter, he almost did it,’’ Daiek said.
Indeed Julio, a senior guard, finished with 23 points while senior Jacob Marshall added 11.
For Richard, junior Michael Holdsclaw led the way with 26 points while Michael Calhoun added 13.
Calhoun and Nick Szczechowski, both sophomores, started for the Pioneers.
“They’re very young, very talented kids, hard-nosed kids,’’ Daiek said.”They knew they had a chance to start over the summer, busted their butts and got themselves ready, they’re playing pretty well.’’