– RIVERVIEW REGISTER
After five straight victories to open the 2019-20 season, the Gabriel Richard basketball team found a mountain that was just a little too tall to climb.
But coach Kris Daiek’s team gave it a good shot.
The Pioneers fell at home to powerful Flint Powers Catholic 62-56 on Jan. 7
Gabriel Richard led much of the night. The Pioneers were up 31-18 at halftime and still ahead 45-39 headed into the fourth, but Powers outscored the 23-11 over the course of the final eight minutes to snatch away the victory.
“We need to make more plays down the stretch to win those games,” said Daiek.”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.”
Gabriel Richard jumped out to a 13-5 first-quarter lead and then turned it up a notch on both ends of the floor and played a great second quarter, increasing its lead from eight points to 13.
Powers closed the gap in the third period and continued getting closer in the fourth, finally taking its first lead of the night with three minutes left in the game. Powers took the lead for good with about two minutes left and closed out the game at the free-throw line.
Robbie Henderson led the Pioneers offense with 23 points. Nick Hiuser and Jacob Kowal scored none each and junior Mike Holdsclaw had eight points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Nick Szczechwoski had four points to go along with nine assists.
Prior to the Powers game, Gabfriel Richard had ripped off five straight victories, a couple of them close, a few blowouts.
In the easier category were a 59-30 win over grosse Ile, a 71-35 win over Huron and an unbelievable 57-8 destruction of Cabrini.
On the other hand, there was a close 55-51 win over Monroe St, Mary Catholic central and a 56-53 squeaker over Livonia Franklin.
The victories over SMCC and Franklin came in back-to-back games.
First, the Pioneers knocked off SMCC.
It was a tight game all the way with SMCC holding a 40-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter. But Richard outscored their Huron League rival 16-11 over the final eight minutes to pull out the win.
Henderson and Nick Huiser combined for 13 of Richard’s 16 points in that final period.
Sophomore Mike Calhoun led Richard with 10 points followed by Henderson and Jacob Kowal with nine each and Huiser with seven. Szczechowski had another great stat line with seven points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
With the win over SMCC, Richard completed a clean sweep of Huron League teams on its schedule, knocking off the Falcons, Grosse ile and Huron, a fact not lost on Daiek.
“We feel like we accomplished something,” he said. “That’s a very tough league and to beat three teams in that league, that says something.”
Three nights later the Pioneers engaged in another tense battle and again came away with the victory, this time over Livonia Franklin.
It was a close game all the way, but in the fourth quarter Kowal hit a couple of three-point shots and Holdsclaw was money at the free-throw line and Richard hung on for the win.
Holdsclaw led the Pioneers with a career high 18 points and Hendson added nine points. Branden Bilinski had eight points and Szczechlwski seven to go along with another nine assists.
It wasn’t Richard’s cleanest game of the season, but Daiek chalked it up as a learning experience
“We found a way to win,” the Richard coach said.. “Our kids took it to another level and decided tonight wasn’t going to be the night we lose our first game.”
- January 17 at Cardinal Mooney
- January 21 H Bishop Foley
- January 27 at Royal Oak Shrine
- January 31 at AA Greenhills
- February 4 H Cranbrook
- February 7 H Cardinal Mooney
- February 11 at Bishop Foley
- February 14 H Royal Oak Shrine
- March 4 at Trenton