By Leo Niksic ‘24

The Brother Rice basketball team started their road to state on Wednesday, Feb. 21, with a regional semi-final matchup against the Tinley Park Titans. The Crusaders came into this game 28-3 and were one of the top teams in the state. However, they were without star point guard Cale Cosme, who was out with flu-like symptoms for this game.

It didn’t matter for the Crusaders. They handled business right away. Jumping out to a big lead in the first couple minutes of the game, senior Zavier Fitch and junior Caden Workman kept showing why they are the two best big men in the state. They dominated this game, racking up easy layups and getting huge rebounds.

This game was Rice the whole way, and at halftime, the score was 39-24, Brother Rice. Junior Marcos Gonzales, who is having a phenomenal season, controlled this game with his quick shooting and great passing skills.

Gonzales said, “It was an easy win, and I (was) happy to see everyone get in the game, but we’re not done yet; we’re coming for it all.”

As the second half began, it was business as usual for Rice. They kept expanding the lead by doing what they do best: attacking the hoop and playing great defense. Tinley Park couldn’t get anything started, only scoring 15 points in the second half. The Rice defense rose to the challenge and dominated.

In the middle of the fourth quarter, Rice started getting their subs in. The scoring didn’t stop. It was the same as usual. Coach Stamas has a great system where he knows how to drain the other team with his great ball movement, and the way he can control the game with the way he coaches.

One of those key subs is senior Jack Gorman. Jack leads the team when the starters are out, but don’t get it wrong; he can hoop. His quick release on his shot and his unlimited range make him a threat from the three-point line.

Gorman said, “It’s always fun to get in and perform, but this team has one goal, and that’s to win state, and we’re going to do it.”

The final score was 67-39, Brother Rice. They advance to the regional championship and will play Perspectives on Friday, Feb. 23. Brother Rice is now 29-3 and has a real chance to make it down state.

Live interview with senior Zavier Fitch – see below