By Jimmy Navarrete ‘23

The Brother Rice basketball team was on a roll heading into their rivalry game against the Mount Carmel Caravan. The Crusaders are sitting at 23-3 (9-2 in conference) and the Caravan holds a strong record of 21-3 (5-1 in conference). This was a matchup between two of the state’s most electrifying guards in Brother Rice’s Ahmad Henderson and Mount Carmel’s Deandre Craig.

Coming off of a great road win at De La Salle on Tuesday, the Crusaders looked to finish the year out strong in conference play. Everyone knew this was going to be a battle. Two of the state’s top ranked teams were going at it on a Friday night; it doesn’t get much better than this!

Junior JD Gamboa said this prior to the game: “Energy, passion and great preparation won us this game.”

The scene was set, 99th and Pulaski was packed with both Crusader and Caravan fans. This place was jumping. For the players, it was just another hard-nosed, high intensity CCL Blue game. The only thing left to do was to leave it all out on the floor for 32 minutes.

The first quarter went how you expected, players finding rhythm and getting into the flow of the game. After the first quarter the Crusaders led 16-14. Senior Khalil Ross found success around the rim.

The second quarter was a little different; the Crusaders started to take control of the game. Oh, and Junior Tre Dowdell was feeling it. Dowdell checked into the game and hit four three pointers, giving the Crusaders great energy off the bench. McShane was getting after it on the defensive side of things. The score at halftime was 34-22 in favor of Rice.

Tre Dowdell said this about his performance: “I got it going early in the game, my teammates knew I had the hot hand, and they kept feeding me.”

The 3rd quarter can either make or break a team, and the Crusaders made sure not to let their foot off the gas. Junior Zavier Fitch and Kahlil Ross were getting the job done underneath the boards. The Crusaders were playing great team defense which led to easy buckets in transition. Rice controlled a 14 point lead going into the 4th quarter.

Rice had all of the momentum heading into the 4th, and the Crusader Crazies were feeling it! The Crusaders kept a solid lead throughout the quarter and ended up finishing the job winning 63-57. This was a statement win for this Crusader team; many contributed to this tough Conference win.

Khalil Ross said this about the atmosphere: “The energy was electric in a big time game against a good team.”

The Crusaders look to finish off the year strong.