By Henry Barsch ‘20

Over the last four years, the expectations for Brother Rice basketball have been extremely high.

After the tandem of Josh Niego and Mike Shepski in 2017, Brother Rice progressed with two stellar season with Marquise Kennedy. Coming off a 22-9 season, and their second 20 win season in three years, the Crusaders are expected to repeat their recent success.

And they are already off to a burning hot start.

Seven games into the season, the Crusaders are 3-0 in Chicago Catholic League Blue play, 5-2 in overall play, and already have a big win over St. Rita.

Senior Deandre Hagan scored 20 with 13 rebounds, and senior Conor Glennon had six assists to add against St. Rita.

“I thought defensively and on the boards it was our best game. It sure led us to victory, because Rita is a bigger team than us,” said Sean Joyce.

After beginning the season 2-2 at the Joliet West Tournament, the Crusaders have since rattled off three straight wins against Catholic League opponents.

Senior Colin Campbell made the Joliet West Tournament All-Tournament Team and made 15 three-pointers over the course of the tournament. That is good for second all-time at the tournament.

“I have high hopes for the Crusaders this season,” said Connor Bowes, “especially after losing to Simeon in overtime last season for the regional.”

The Crusaders fell in the regional championship at home to public powerhouse Simeon last season by a buzzer beater in overtime. They were also only a game out from the top of the Catholic League.

After being so close to success last season, the Crusaders are definitely looking to seal the deal this year. The young team, with varsity returners like Hagan, Campbell, and Glennon, will be able to grow their potential to exceed last season.

Kevin Phelan said, “I think we can win Catholic League and compete for a regional championship.”

The Crusaders resume play on Friday, Dec. 13 against St. Francis de Sales.