The Gabriel Richard Catholic Boys Basketball team welcomed in rival Cardinal Mooney on Friday night. The Pioneers would look to win the CHSL League title with a win over second place Mooney. The Cardinals need a win and another GR loss to have a chance at the title. Richard would head into the game with a 12-1 record and 7-0 record in the league. Cardinal Mooney had a 8-4 record and 4-2 record in the conference. Both teams were riding winning streaks heading into the game.
“This was a big game for both teams.” Said Head Coach Kris Daiek. “We knew that we could win the league title with a win tonight and get the first seed in the CHSL tournament.” Coach Daiek added.
In the first both teams would trade leads. Richard would get 4 points from Senior, Robbie Henderson and 3 points from Jacob Kowal. Junior, Mike Holdsclaw would score 3 points in the quarter. GR would rail by one (1) points in the first 11-10.
“They had a good game plan.” Coach Daiek said. “I thought our guys adjusted well in the early going and several guys stepped up.” Daiek continued.
In the second, Richard would explode from both ends of the floor. Jacob Kowal continued with the hot hand dropping in 2 three pointers while Mike Holdsclaw would score 4 points and Robbie Henderson would score 3 points. Sophomore, Nick Szczechowski score 2 points and Sophomore, Mike Calhoun scored 2 points. The Pioneers would take a 27-20 lead into the half.
“We really had a chances to extend the lead in the second quarter.” Said Coach Daiek. “We missed several opportunities. I thought we seemed to be pressing on the offensive end a little bit.” Coach Daiek added.
In the third, Mooney would cut into the Pioneer lead. Senior, Nolan Julio would take over offensively for the Cardinals. However, GR’s Robbie Henderson would score 5 points behind Holdsclaw’s 6 points. Julio scored 11 points in the quarter followed by a big three pointer by Kevin Everhart’s. GR was outscored 14-11 but led 38-34.
“We played pretty well in the quarter, however, Julio (Mooney) found his rhythm and seemed to answer every one of our runs.” Coach Daiek added.
In the fourth, both team traded baskets early. Mooney had two chances with 3 minutes to play. Holdsclaw would score a two pointer to extend the lead to 3 points for the Pioneers and grab two rebounds in the closing minutes. The Cardinals would have a chance in the final two minutes when Senior, Nick Hiuser would take his second charge of the game. On the next play it was Nick Szczechowski who would find a driving Henderson for a huge basket to provide some breathing room with just under a minute to play. The Pioneer defense would hold the Cardinals while Holdsclaw would drain 3-4 freethrows to clinch the title.
“Our guys really made some plays down the stretch.” Coach Daiek said. “Hiuser took two charges down the stretch while Mike (Holdsclaw) stepped up on the glass and at the freethrow line.” Coach Added.
Gabriel Richard will claim their 6 league title in seven years. This was the first Intersectional 1 title for the Pioneers.
“It’s special for the kids to win this title.” Coach Daiek said. “We moved up (Division) this year and really boosted up our schedule. It has really been a battle and our guys got through it.” Coach Daiek said. “We can’t be satisfied…this was only one of our goals.
With the win GR has secured the first seed in the CHSL tournament which will begin on February 22nd.
Mike Holdsclaw would lead GR with 18 point sand 13 rebounds in the game. Robbie Henderson scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Jacob Kowal scored 12 points. Sczcechowski and Calhoun scored 2 and 4 points respectively. Richard moves to 13-1 on the season while Mooney movers to 8-5 on the season.
Richard will play Bishop Foley on Tuesday. The game will be played at Bishop Foley. The Pioneers where was 83-56 winners earlier on the season.