Since his arrival 8 years ago, Head Coach Gary DeCesare has changed the culture and expectations of the St. Rita Basketball Program. After last year's Class 3A sectional championship game appearance and nail-biting loss to eventual 3A champ Morgan Park, the 2017-18 season is no different.
The Mustangs start this season ranked as high as #2 in the Southtown and #13 in the Chicago Sun Times.
On Monday, DeCesare's squad opened the 2017-18 season in the 205 Tip-Off Classic in Rockford with a convincing 72-45 win over Freeport. After leading only 28-26 at the half against the scrappy Pretzels, the Mustangs outscored Freeport 44-19 in the second half.
St. Rita was led by junior Jeremiah Oden with 13 points on (6-9) shooting. Also contributing for the Mustangs were senior Landen Gladney (11 points, 10 rebounds) and junior Doug Posley (10 points, 5-10 shooting). Senior point guard Jordan Matthews had a solid all-around game as well contributing 6 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Defensively, St. Rita ate up the Pretzels all night long holding them to 33% shooting while forcing 22 turnovers and outrebounding Freeport 45-25.
Last night St. Rita improved to (2-0) on the season with a 67-44 win over Rockford Guilford. After leading 31-21 at the half, the Mustangs opened the second half with 14 straight points to take control of the game. St. Rita was hot from behind the arc all night hitting on (8-18) 3-point shots.
Junior Doug Posley (14 points) led the 3-point assault hitting on (4-6) shots from behind the arc on the night. Junior Jeremiah Oden (13 points) and seniors Jordan Matthews (12 points, 4-5 shooting) and Landen Gladney (12 points, 4-6 shooting) also led the charge for the Mustangs.
Once again the story of the night was the St. Rita defense as they held their second straight opponent to 30% shooting forcing 21 turnovers while holding a 32-20 rebounding advantage.
The Mustangs (2-0) will play again tonight in the 15-team tournament featuring teams from 3 different states, including the defending Illinois Class 4A Champion Whitney Young Dolphins, as they travel to Rockford Jefferson to battle Belvidere. St. Rita, who will spend the entire week in Rockford, will also play Friday against traditional power Rockford Auburn and again on Saturday against Rockford Jefferson. You can keep up with all tournament news at 205tipoffclassic.blogspot.com