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Dominique Matthews had to work the jitters out.
“This was our first playoff game, and I had to calm down,” the St. Rita senior guard said. “I had some good looks early but I rushed my shot.”
Matthews caught fire at the right time, scoring 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half that sparked the host Mustangs to a 65-52 victory over emerging Public League program Kenwood in a Class 4A regional semifinal Tuesday night.
No. 20 St. Rita advances to meet DuSable, a surprise winner over Brother Rice, for the regional championship Friday night.
Sophomore Charles Matthews added 16 points and five rebounds for the Mustangs (19-7). The Matthews brothers were necessary to upstage the Broncos’ upset chances.
“They were a very good team, with very good and quick guards and they gave us a lot of problems,” Dominique Matthews said.
Kenwood (15-12) led by as many as 10 points in the first half. St. Rita awoke from a slow start for a 10-0 run to end the second quarter with a 28-24 lead at the break. Scott Kingsley scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half.
“We have to get Scott more involved because he’s a great shooter, and he’s always,” Dominique Matthews said.
Dominique Matthews shot 6-for-8 from the floor after his 1-for-6 first-half start.
“I was able to get good looks at the basket and be aggressive going to the basket, and that opened up my outside game as well,” he said. He drilled a three-pointer from the left baseline, his second of the third quarter, that pushed the Mustangs to a 52-42 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Charles Matthews also shot 1-for-6 in the first half, but recovered to shoot 4-for-6 in the second half.
“At this stage of the playoffs, everybody’s 0-0, and you know everybody you play is going to be good,” Charles Matthews said. “If anything, Kenwood had the advantage on us because they got their first game out of the way last night and they played less tight than we did.
“But we just did a much better job of sharing the ball in the second half,” he said.
Zach Clark impressed for Kenwood by posting a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Remy Price added 13 points and Joell Davis contributed 12 points for the Broncos.
St. Rita forced 16 Kenwood turnovers. Victor Law added six points and eight rebounds for the Mustangs.