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When Brother Rice began the season with forward Cal Kennedy out with an injury and without four other players who were members of the Crusaders’ football team, coach Pat Richardson was just hoping to survive.
Instead, the Crusaders have thrived. They improved to 7-1 and 3-0 in the Catholic League with Friday’s win over Fenwick.
“Like everyone else, we’re playing like it’s December and we’ve still got to get better,” Richardson said. “To get through that stretch and be 7-1, though, we’re happy.”
Senior forward Alex Majewski leads the team in scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.8), but the Crusaders have gotten major contributions from a number of sources.
Richardson raves about the play of senior point guard Jimmy Barista (15.3 points, 3.3 assists per game).
“He’s been outstanding,” Richardson said. “He’s been leading our fast break and playing with a ton of confidence and really just running things for us. We’ve had some great guards here and he’ll be one of the best we’ve ever had.”
Barista has gotten help in the backcourt from junior Quinn Niego, a St. Rita transfer who is averaging 12.4 points per game and is shooting at a 53-percent clip from the field.
“Quinn’s accuracy from the field has really helped us,” Richardson said. “He jelled really well with the guys from the start. He’s a good student of the game. He asked a lot of questions and he made sure he caught up.”
Richardson also praised the play of junior guard Ray Rubio.
The Crusaders visit St. Joseph on Friday before taking part in the Hinsdale South Holiday Tournament next week.
The season of giving
Morgan Park Academy junior guard Theo Norris dished out 14 assists, believed to be a school record, in Friday’s win over Elgin Academy.
“We had seven straight possessions where he had an assist,” Warriors first-year coach Scott Fredericks said. “He’s a pass-first point guard.”
Nick Boarden (20 points, 9.3 rebounds per game) and Norris have led the Warriors (3-5), who have equaled their win total from last season’s 3-20 campaign.