Gabriel Richard boys win basketball division title

The Gabriel Richard boys basketball team won the Sectional Division title and will head into the Catholic League playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

The Gabriel Richard boys basketball team won the Catholic League Sectional title and captured a spot in the Catholic League playoffs on Jan. 24, and the Pioneers did it with style.
In a year that has seen mostly success, one of Richard’s disappointments was a early season league loss to Frankel Jewish Academy. On Jan. 24, the Pioneers righted the wrong by crushing Frankel 51-30 in a rematch.
With the victory, Richard captured the division crown, earned the top seed in the upcoming playoffs and will play in the first round Feb. 9 at Sacred Heart High School
Coach Kris Daiek’s team grabbed a 12-7 first-quarter lead and won each quarter en route to the decisive victory. The Pioneers capped the night with a 21-7 scoring edge in the fourth quarter to win going away.
Daiek credited the team’s defensive play for the turnaround from game one to game two.
“Frankel is a good team that has been together pretty much for four years,” he said. “They have a really good player in Ryan Otis and in the first game he scored 21 against us. This time we did a much better job.”
Otis had just seven points against the Pioneers the second time around and three of those came on a meaningless late-game three-pointer.
“We did pretty good job of playing team defense,” Daiek said. “We were really good at switching and denying him the ball.”
Offensively, the Pioneers got 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals from sophomore Mike Holdsclaw. Daiek said the 10th-grader has been crucial to Richard’s success this season.
“He’s about 6-2, he rebounds very, very well and he can really get to the basket, that’s a key part of his game,” Daiek said.
Senior Kevin Tuttle scored 11 points and had seven rebounds, while Garrett Balazsi dropped in nine points to go along with six rebounds and six assists. Senior Deshon Elam had all eight of his points in the second half and pulled down five rebounds.
Frankel was led by Noah Schlussel with nine points.
Richard is 11-2 overall this season and finished 9-1 in league play and Daiek said it has been a fun team to coach.
“This team has been together for awhile,” he said. “We were 15-7 last year – pretty good – but we got up early in a lot of games and let them slip away. This year we haven’t always won by as big a margin, but we’ve closed out games and won a lot more.
“This group has a ton of character and we can – and do – play a lot a guys. When you can run nine or 10 guys on the floor, it brings a higher intensity to the game, especially defensively.”
Richard’s depth has shown up in other ways, too. The team’s leading scorer, senior Max Silka, went down early this season with a knee injury and fellow senior Kyle Alonte stepped in seamlessly. When Elam was out with an injury, junior Nick Huiser filled in and played his best game of the season. The Pioneers hope to get even a little deeper as the Catholic League and state playoff begin as they hope Silka will be able to return to the line-up soon.
“He has been rehabbing and he’s getting close,” said Daeik.
Daiek tipped his hat to all the season on this year’s team who have provided leadership right from the beginning of the year. The seniors are Balazsi, Tuttle, Elam, Alonte, Slika, Jake Henderson, Colby Daiek and Nevin Hughes.
Richard beat non-league Trenton 76-31 on Feb. 1 and finished the league season with a 60-53 win over Cardinal Moony on Feb. 2. The Pioneers open the playoffs against Bishop Foley. The championship is Feb. 16 at Calihan Hall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *