The Cardinal Ritter Boys Basketball Team ended Saturday in the IHSAA Sectional Championship in an epic, overtime battle ultimately losing to the 2017 state title winners, Crispus Attucks. In one of the most athletic and physical games of the season, the Raiders clawed their way back from a 17 point deficit to take a lead late in the 4th. The fans got their money’s worth and were treated to extra time, but unfortunately the Tigers took control and won 76-69.
The Raiders struggled against the Tigers athleticism and swarming defense early and had to play from behind most of the game. At the half, Cardinal Ritter came out and used their height advantage, crashing the glass and pulling down board after board, giving them multiple second and third chance opportunities. For their efforts, the Raiders pulled down a total of 37 boards a whopping 20 of them being offensive. This lead to a major momentum swing giving the Raider Brigade new life and fueled the team going into the 4th quarter. The sound from the Raider Nation was deafening in the second half which aided the Tigers dysfunction.
The Raiders offense was lead by 4 players in double digits, all of which were major factors in the game. Senior, “I Can See For” Miles Tracy, shook off some early jitters to lead the way with his first career triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists while defensively adding 3 steals and 2 blocks. Senior, Shelby “The Swift” Turner, was in foul trouble throughout the game but did not let that effect him scoring 12 points. Joey “Gamer” Gruber lived up to his nickname in the third hitting 4 threes scoring 14 points. “Nasty” Nate Soltis played big boy basketball in the post with some great spin moves and a dunk racking up 16 points, 6 in the third. Also contributing were Tharran “T-Bone” Cook with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals and Brice “Buckets” Buels with 3 points.
Coach Moore said of this great team, “The group of seniors have completely changed the way that everyone looks at Cardinal Ritter Basketball. Thank you Miles, Shelby, Tharra, Brice and Daion for your commitment to the program.”
In the Sectional Semi-Final, the Raiders faced a formidable foe in Guerin Catholic on their home court but never backed down and came away with a win to advance to play in the Final. The Raider Nation came out strong and the team rewarded them, claiming a 27-19 lead in the half, adding 21 points in the fourth quarter, capped with a 9-3 run to come away with the 62-54 victory.
Tracy was on the ball, shooting 71% from the floor while going 9 for 11 en route to his game high 20 points. Soltis also was in double digits scoring 18 points. Others chipping in for the Raiders were Turner with 9, 2 rebounds and 4 steals, Cook with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal, Gruber with 5 points and 11 rebounds and “Finding” Nemo Jones with 3 points and a board. The Raiders finished the game with 31 rebounds, 23 of them defensive, 2 blocks and 10 steals.
The Raiders finished the season with an impressive 14-8 record finishing 69th in the state.
Great season Raiders!