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Balance is key to Brother Rice victory

12/11/2012, 10:33pm CST
By Pat Disabato

Alex Majewski poured in a game-high 21 points, while Quinn Niego added 15 and Jim Barista 12 to lead Brother Rice to a 69-44 victory against visiting Tinley Park Tuesday.

Brother Rice's Alex Majewski (left) puts a shot up against Tinley Park's Orlando Lewis during their basketball game in Chicago Tuesday, December 11, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

What makes Brother Rice such a difficult team to defend is its ability to knock down the perimeter shot.

From 5-foot-9 point guard Jim Barista to 6-7 forward Alex Majewski, the Crusaders boast a bevy of sharp-shooters.

Tinley Park found that out Tuesday night.

Majewski poured in a game-high 21 points, while Quinn Niego added 15 and Barista 12 to lead Rice to a 69-44 victory against the visiting Titans.

Rice canned 10 three-pointers on the evening.

“They’re a very good team,” Tinley Park coach D.J. Brown said. “They’re a big team and their bigs shoot it as well as their guards can.”

Ray Rubio (eight points) and Niego buried three-pointers to start the game and give the Crusaders a quick 6-0 lead.

The Titans would close to 11-7, but never any closer.

Rice (6-1) canned five threes in the opening quarter and led 19-12.

The lead would swell to 15 — 34-19 — at the break on a layup and trey by Rubio.

If Tinley Park had any intentions of generating a second-half comeback, it was quickly dispelled by a 23-4 run by Brother Rice to start the third.

Barista, who scored just two points in the first half, found his groove in the third quarter. The senior scored 10 points in the period, with Majewski adding eight.

By the time the third ended, Rice owned a 59-26 lead.

“Early in the second half, we made a couple of threes and we started rebounding,” Brother Rice coach Pat Richardson said. “We got a couple fast-break layups and we did a better job defensively and rebounding.”

The return of Cal Kennedy to the lineup provided a spark for the Crusaders.

The 6-6 senior made his season debut after sustaining an elbow injury.

He scored only one point, but pulled down six rebounds and kick-started the Crusaders transition game with key outlet passes.

“Cal hasn’t practice once yet,” Richardson said. “He had such a good summer. Rebounding has been our biggest weakness and having him back will help us.”

Greg Martin led Tinley Park (3-5) with nine points, while DeQuan Powell added seven off the bench.

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