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There aren’t many teams in high school basketball that can afford its star player fouling out of the game, especially late in the fourth quarter. But when that happens, it’s an opportunity for other players on the team to step up and make an impact.
That’s exactly what happened Friday night when star St. Rita sophomore Charles Matthews fouled out halfway through the final quarter with his team up by just a few points over Catholic League rival Leo.
Treston Forbes came in and scored six points in the final minutes to provide instant offense for No. 16 St. Rita to secure the 53-45 victory over the Lions.
“Forbes stepped up big for us tonight and gave us a lift,” said St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare.
The Mustangs (6-2, 2-1) were ahead 28-17 at the end of the first half but a strong third quarter effort by the Lions (0-5, 0-3) brought them to within one point to start the fourth quarter led by senior forward Kerron Bragg’s 15 points and seven rebounds.
“I told the guys that we have to learn to play with a target on our back and be ready every night,” DeCesare said.
The Lions gave it all they could to pull off the comeback win, but Forbes and the Mustangs were able to pull out the victory. But head coach Noah Cannon and his team will learn from the loss and use it going forward.
“This is a learning curve for us,” he said. “We’re getting healthy and better. We get to play another game tomorrow and we need to bounce back and keep the energy up.”
Bragg is also anxious to getting back on the court tomorrow.
“We have a young team but we need to stay discipline,” he said. “But we’re looking forward to tomorrow and getting a win.”
St. Rita junior Dominique Matthews scored 19 points and Vic Law added 11 points and six rebounds.