Riley boys run past Adams for 4A sectional crown
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - South Bend sent two teams to the sectional championship at The Cave, and while Riley and Adams battled it out in the first half, the undefeated Wildcats from the south side ran away to a big victory.
Riley captured the 4A sectional championship with a huge second half, winning 98-58.
"It was a big game for us," said Riley head coach Eric Brand. "All 11 guys that played, played really hard and I'm proud of them. We're practicing hard and this was a release for them to be able to go out and have some success. It was a really good night."
The night was capped by an on-court celebration including both the team and its fans. Family, friends, students and faculty all joined Riley as they cut down the nets, and the Wildcats said that made the night even sweeter.
"It's amazing," said senior Damezi Anderson. "They were rooting for us the whole time. They gave us energy, so we picked it up. They know that they got our back and we got their back."
"We've got great student support," said Brand. "As you can see, we've got great support from the community. I'm just really proud of how everybody's rallied behind these guys. They work really hard every day. It's not easy and they deserve a lot of praise."
That praise will continue to grow as the Wildcats advance through the state tournament, but Brand said the sectional was the sole focus this week.
"You can't advance if you can't get a sectional title," said Brand. "We just keep preaching that the next game could be their last. It's one game at a time. It's what we've done all year, trying not to look too far ahead. We'll prepare for next Saturday, and hopefully play two games and go on from there."
And if they're to keep the perfect season rolling as long as possible, Riley knows to keep the formula simple.
"We just gotta keep working and pushing each other every day in practice and getting better. We're gonna get there eventually but we just have to take it game by game."
Next Saturday brings the regional round of games. Riley will play Lake Central in the first round at noon. Michigan City is the host site.