By: John Nee '93
St. Rita Head Basketball Coach Gary DeCesare has petitioned the IHSA the last few years to remain in Class 4A despite the fact that enrollment would put the Mustangs in Class 3A. This year DeCesare spoke to his coaching staff, and collectively they decided that they would allow the “chips to fall where they may” this season.
St. Rita, therefore, landed in Class 3A, which proved to be no bargain. With the majority of teams from the Chicago Public League making up the sectional, the Mustangs were done no favors by being voted the #6 seed. That meant DeCesare’s squad would have to go on the road to Hyde Park, the #3 seed in the sectional, to win a regional championship.
On Friday night the Mustangs did just that.
After opening up a 17-point lead midway through the third quarter, the Mustangs hung on for dear life and survived the tough road test outlasting the Thunderbirds of Hyde Park 65-63 to capture their third regional championship in the last four years.
Senior sharp-shooter Paul Kingsley led the way for the Mustangs pouring in a game-high 28 points on 10-20 shooting from the field. Seniors Rashaad Williams (14 points) and Te’mon Green (11 points) also contributed for St. Rita.
In a hectic final few minutes, Hyde Park tied the score at 63 with just over a minute to play. Junior Jordan Matthews then drove the length of the floor to give the Mustangs their final lead. The basket was Matthews’ only field goal of the game as he battled through an undisclosed injury throughout the night.
St. Rita now advances to their own sectional along with #1 seed Morgan Park, #2 seed Bogan, and #4 seed Brooks.
The St. Rita Sectional will open up Tuesday night with #1 seed Morgan Park battling #4 seed Brooks at 7:00 pm. The sixth-seeded Mustangs will then take on the #2 seed Bogan Bengals on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. The winners will then meet on Friday, March 10th 7:00 p.m. at St. Rita in the sectional championship game.