By Ryan Gierhahn ‘23
Every year, the Brother Rice vs. Marist rivalry is regarded as one of the biggest games of the season, regardless of sport. The Redhawks were able to defeat us in football this fall; so, the basketball team had no choice but to seek revenge in their matchup.
Marist, a fairly young team, held a solid record of 17-4 before the game. The Crusaders were 18-2.
Coming into the game on Tuesday, January 17, everyone knew both teams were going to come to play. But no one would have predicted it to end the way it did.
Senior Jimmy Navarette said, “Walking into the gym, you could tell something special was going to happen. We knew the game was going to be a battle from start to finish.”
And it was. Marist was able to get out to a 4-0 lead on Brother Rice early, before the Crusaders regrouped and tied it at 9 at the end of the first-quarter.
The second-quarter was the same. The teams traded buckets and defensive stops, and no one could seem to get a steady lead over the other. The Crusaders entered the halftime break with a two point lead, 23-21.
When asked about the mood in the locker room at halftime, senior Khalil Ross said, “We thought we could have gotten off to a better start in the first half. But it happens, and we were able to get ourselves together before heading back on the court.”
The third-quarter began, and it only got more intense. Baskets became more important and less frequent down the stretch. The Crusaders maintained their two-point lead at the end of the third-quarter.
It all came down to this. The Redhawks started the fourth-quarter red hot, and eventually got an 8-point lead over the Crusaders. That was when Ahmad Henderson took over.
The senior point guard scored 10 straight points, including an acrobatic finish to put the Crusaders ahead 49-48 with about 11 seconds to go.
Marist missed their initial shot at a game-winner, but grabbed the offensive rebound and threw up a fadeaway shot at the buzzer. It hit the front of the rim but was no good. The Crusaders narrowly escaped in one of the wildest endings in Brother Rice vs Marist rivalry history.
Senior Nick Niego said, “This was the best game and environment I’ve ever been a part of. You grow up dreaming of playing in a game like this.”
Congratulations to Ahmad Henderson on reaching the 1,000 career points milestone during the game as well.