– RIVERVIEW REGISTER
Through some team shuffling by the Catholic League, the Gabriel Richard basketball team finds itself in a new divisional configuration this season, one with some bigger and better programs in it.
This year the Pioneers will play in the Intersectional Division along with Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook, Royal Oak Shrine, Madison Heights Bishop Foley, Marine City Cardinal Mooney and Ann Arbor Greenhills.
It is a move that Richard coach Kris Daiek welcomed and campaigned for.
“It’s going to be tough, there are some good teams in the league, but we feel like it is a real good move for our program,” he said.
The Pioneers won their division and a district title last year, and, although this year’s team is a little on the young side, Daiek said he is hopeful 2019-20 brings more success.
“We’ve looked good so far this year,” Daiek said. “I am excited about this team. We are a little younger than we have been in the past, but we have real good depth.”
Two of Richard’s top players this year are sophomores – point guard Nck Szczechowski and 6-foot-5 post player Michael Calhoun.
Daiek said Szczechowski is a confident young player who is “very strong with the ball” and that Calhoun has grown physically since last year.
“He’s not afraid of the weight room,” Daiek said. He’s added about 15 pounds and he has a real nice touch around the basket.”
The other starters are seniors Robbie Henderson and Nick Hiuser and junior Michael Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw has been a varsity player since his freshman season and Henderson is one of the team’s leading returning scorers.
Junior Drew Daiek and smooth-shooting senior Jacob Kowal will also see plenty of court time this season.
The squad is rounded out by senior Braden Bilinski, Ivan Hernandez, Matt Maki and Hans Frederick and juniors Joe Wisniewski, Jolo Abordo and Travis Lipetzky.
Wisniewski and Maki suffered injuries early this season and are just now making their way back onto the court.
The Pioneers, who were 18-5 last year and lost in the regionals to an Erie-Mason team that went to the MHSAA Final Four, opened the season Dec. 10 against non-league Grosse Ile. The team’s upgraded non-league schedule includes dates with Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, Flint Powers Catholic, Trenton and Livonia Franklin.