The Gabriel Richard Catholic Pioneers welcomed in Class B powerhouse Powers Catholic (Flint) on Tuesday Night. Richard was coming into the contest with a 5-0 record with a win over cross town rival Cabrini 57-8 while Powers was coming off a win over Dakota High School (Macomb) .
“We knew this was going to be our toughest game on the schedule (thus far) in the early season.” Head Coach, Kris Daiek said.
The Pioneers were up to the challenge in the first quarter. The offense was sparked by Seniors, Jacob Kowal and Robbie Henderson who poured in 11 points in the quarter. The Pioneers would take a 13-5 lead in the first 8 minutes of play.
“Our defense was outstanding.” Coach Daiek said. “We really played well on both ends of the floor.” Coach said.
In second, Richard would continue to play great on both ends of the floor. Six Pioneers would find the scoring column while the defense continued to stiffle the Chargers offense.
Seniors, Braden Bilinski, Nick Hiuser and Robbie Henderson would score. Junior, Mike Holdsclaw would score 4 points and Sophomore, Nick Szczechowski would score 2 points. Again, Robbie Henderson would drop in 5 points to push the Pioneers to a 31-18 lead headed to halftime. Junior, Owen Lobsinger (Central Michigan offered) would score 9 points and keep the Powers team close at half. The Senior, D1 recruit, (Lobsinger) dropped in a three just before the buzzer to cut the lead to 13.
“We played really good defense in the second quarter…” Coach Daiek said. “We gave up a few points in the end that I thought were big…key points that we could have closed out the half with.” Daiek added.
In the third, Powers would respond. The Chargers would outscore the Pioneers 21-14. Once again, Henderson would score 5 points in the quarter and Nick Hiuser would drop in 5 points, however, it was Jesse Carpenter (Junior) that would provide a spark scoring 6 points in the quarter. Lobsinger would drop in 4 points to keep the game within 6 points heading to the fourth quarter.
“We knew they were going to fire back.” Coach Daiek said. “We didn’t have the same intensity we did in the first half.” Daiek added. “Although, we didn’t back down…No question of that.”
In the fourth, the Pioneers held on until the 3 minutes mark when Powers finally took the lead 50-49. However, Richard would come down and retake the lead 51-50 with just under 2:30 minutes to go. Gabriel Richard seemed to wear down in the last moments of the game. Senior, Noah Baylas would score 9 points in the quarter and Powers would knock down key freethrows to close the game out. Richard would fall 62-56 to the 49th ranked team in the state (Regardless) off class.
“That was the hardest working team we have faced all year.” Powers Head Coach, Greg Burks said. “Their intensity is unbelievable…I am proud of our kids for matching the effort. Coach added.
“That doesn’t always equate to wins.” Coach Daiek said of the comments. We are proud of the kids effort, however, we need to make more play down the stretch to win those games. That is a really good team over there…but we gotta make plays down the stretch….and we didn’t and they did.” Coach Daiek said.
The Pioneers where led by Robbie Henderson who scored 23 points. Nick Hiuser and Jacob Kowal added 9 poinst a piece. Sophomore, Nick Szczechwoski dropped in 4 points and 9 assists. Junior, Mike Holdsclaw scored 8 point sand grabbed 7 rebounds in the game. Braden Bilinski had 3 points in the game.
“We fought hard…I am really proud of that…but we have to make plays down the stretch and we need more guys to step up. We can be a really good team but we need some guys to take a step forward.” Coach Daiek added. “Playing hard is expected…making plays is the next step.”
Richard will open up league hosting Ann Arbor Greenhills on Friday Night. Greenhills won the CHSL division title last year and is favored again to contend this year.
“We have to come out with the same intensity we did tonight and sustain it for 32 minutes. This league is tough and to compete, we are going to have to keep up the intensity.” Coach Daiek said.