Photo by Jeff Vorva
Brother Rice sophomore Brendan Coughlan receives an earful of noise as he inbounds the ball in front of the Marist student section Tuesday night in a 66-45 loss to the RedHawks.
By Phil Arvia
The last 28 times they’ve met on the basketball court, Marist and Brother Rice have 14 wins each. But as of Tuesday, that was a particularly meaningless stat for RedHawks seniors Chamar Hawkins and Kevin Lerma.
Hawkins scored 19 points and Lerma had 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds to lead Marist to a 66-45 win over the visitors in front of a crowd estimated at 1,300.
“When I go to college, even when I get grown, I can look back and say I beat Rice my senior year,” Lerma said. “I beat ‘em [three] times.’’
Hawkins smiled wide as he pondered three varsity wins and one on the sophomore level over the Crusaders.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’ve never lost to Rice.”
The Crusaders (11-8), playing their fifth game in 12 days and losing their fourth in that stretch, were never closer than eight points after Marist (15-3) closed out the second quarter with a 9-2 run. Hawkins highlighted that burst with a rebound and coast-to-coast sprint for a dunk, a floater in the lane and a nifty look into the post to find former Brother Rice player Morgan Taylor (9 points) for a lay-in.
Maurice Commander added 14 points and David Daniels 10 for the balanced RedHawks, who
went 26-of-47 (55 percent) from the floor for the evening.
“I’m really proud of our kids’ effort,” Marist coach Gene Nolan said. “We had seven turnovers for the night. We took care of the ball, we were efficient offensively.
“We got good looks and if we weren’t able to make those good looks, we got offensive rebounds.”
“That’s how we do it,” Hawkins said. “We have chemistry. We believe in what we do as teammates and brothers.”
The RedHawks were equally tough on the defensive end. Mike Shepski and Josh Niego, who entered the game averaging 15.3 and 14.8 points per game, respectively, were held to 11 and 7 on a combined 7-of-19 shooting. For the game, the Crusaders were 16-of-36 (44 percent) from the floor.
Offensively, we struggled, struggled, struggled — they guarded the heck out of Shepski and Niego, give them credit,” Rice coach Bobby Frasor said. “Defensively, we weren’t very good either.
“They out-hustled us, out-toughed us. When you let them get second-chance points and rebounds, it’s going to be a tough night.”
Trailing by 10 at the half, Rice opened the third with a bucket to get within eight, but Hawkins capped a 7-0 run with a three-pointer while falling to the floor in front of the RedHawks Rowdies cheering section in what may have been the signature moment of the evening.
“I don’t think it was the game itself,” Hawkins said. “It was the support of the fans — that was the big advantage to this game.”