The Riverview boys’ basketball team Gabriel Richard put their unbeaten record on the line once again on Friday as they hosted rival Royal Oak Shrine Catholic for a Catholic League battle. Richard was also eyeing a season sweep from Shrine after winning the first encounter.
Royal Oak Shrine at Riverview Gabriel Richard Boys Basketball Photo Gallery
While not their best showing of the season, the host Pioneers improved to 13-0 this season as they knocked out a 58-41 win over the visiting Knights.
Friday’s victory was the 10th of their 13 wins this season which was decided in double digits. The end result, however, was deceiving to some extent as the Pioneers (13-0, 8-0 Intersection 1) ended the game on a 9-0 run in the final two minutes of play.
Richard’s coach, Kris Daiek, expected a tighter, more competitive game in Game 2 after his Pioneers beat the Knights (4-11, 2-6 CHSL Intersectional) 46-26 on January 18 .
Daiek indeed got what he expected and is happy to pick up a win against what he says is a “big and physical” Shrine team.
“The second time in the league is always difficult,” Daiek said. “Teams saw you, they know what you look like. We knew (Shrine) would come out hard. The snowy days didn’t help, really on both sides. play.
“Whenever you can get a win, you take it.”
Richard opened the game with eight straight, briefly inflated points that led to double digits in the second quarter. The lead increased to 17 when the Pioneers held a 42-25 advantage after three, limiting the Knights to just four points in the third quarter.
The visitors slowly chipped away, bringing the deficit down to single digits, but were never able to get into a prolonged run to overcome the first hole.
“Our boys showed a lot of fire and passion to hold on and keep fighting,” Shrine coach Mike Maryanski said. “There were runs there where we looked great. But sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, and that’s frustrating, but it’s not for lack of effort.
“For them, they’re still overcoming that, it’s really great to see,” added Maryanski. “You’re playing against a ranked team in their home gym on a Friday night, there’s nothing better than that. These are things you can continue in life.”
Both teams have just two championship games left before the start of the CHSL men’s hoop playoffs on Feb. 19. The Cardinal Division includes the top five from CHSL’s Intersectional-1 Division, where Richard and Shrine reside, as well as the top three from Intersectional Division 2.
At present, Shrine would enter the Cardinal Division Playoffs as the fifth and final team in their division.
Although the season hasn’t gone down overall in terms of a win-loss record, Maryanski appreciates the work ethic his team has shown so far. He hopes the effort, along with some notable defensive improvements, can guide them to long-term success.
“I think our man-to-man defense has improved so much,” Maryanski said. “The last time we played (Richard) we played strictly one zone. But they also have shooters that you have to take into account. We are getting there and tonight I think we did a great job.”
“We definitely had a season,” Maryanski said. “I applaud these kids for sticking together as a family, coming together and getting better every day. We’re going to keep fighting and fighting every time.”
Meanwhile, for Richard, Friday’s win effectively locked in the division championship, currently with a two-game lead over second-placed Marine City Cardinal Mooney and owning the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Cardinals. .
Daiek already plans to make a deep run not only in the CHSL playoffs, but in the state tournament as well. Still, even sitting unblemished at 13-0, Daiek knows they need to be more consistent in one area.
“I honestly think there is yet another piece of equipment for us,” Daiek said. “I think we have that equipment, we’re just sometimes afraid to show it. I’m not talking about speed, it’s tenacity. Friday night against a league opponent won’t be what the (playoffs) State) are with some of the teams we will face.”
Michael Calhoun led Richard with 18 points, including 12 after halftime.
Calhoun was one of three trailblazers to hit double-digit scores. Cainan Harrison had 14 points while Nick Szchechowski added 10 points, including the team’s only three-pointer.
Shrine got a team-high 16 points from Stephen Ruhle, who knocked down two of five triples made for the Knights. Jeff Andrus was the only other scorer for the visitors to reach double digits, he finished with 13 points including two from deep as well. Conor Benson added eight points.
Both teams will be at home against league division opponents when they return to action on Tuesday, February 8. This will be the penultimate regular season game for both teams before the CHSL playoffs.
Richard will host Bishop Foley at Madison Heights, whom they beat 54-36 on Jan. 20. Meanwhile, Shrine will look to avoid a season sweep at the hands of another league when they host Ann Arbor Greenhills. The Knights dropped a close against the Gryphons 48-45 on Jan. 20.