By: John Nee '93
On Tuesday night with a forecasted ice storm on the horizon, many Catholic League games were cancelled, but Augustinian rival Providence made the trip down I-80 to 77th and Western to battle the Mustangs.
The Celtics would give St. Rita all they could handle on the evening before the Mustangs eventually pulled away late winning 50-42.
The win allowed St. Rita (19-7, 9-1) to maintain their two-game lead in the Catholic League standings over second-place Leo.
Seniors Javon Cooley and Jeremiah Oden provided all the offense the Mustangs would need on the evening combining to score 41 of St. Rita's 50 points. Oden (8-14 from the field) and Cooley (7-10 from the field) took turns keeping the Mustangs in the lead with big basket after big basket.
The Mustangs jumped out to a quick 17-12 lead at the end of the first, but from there they struggled to score against the Providence zone. They would keep their five-point lead going into the half before really struggling in the third quarter allowing Providence to tie the game at 37 heading into the final quarter.
With the Mustangs clinging to a 41-40 lead with just over 3 minutes to play, Coach DeCesare's squad would end the game on a 9-2 run to secure the Catholic League home win.
St. Rita will next travel east down 79th Street to battle the Leo Lions on Friday with the tip set for 7pm. The Lions trail St. Rita by 2 games in the Catholic League White standings, and a Mustang road win will all but clinch at least a share of the title, which would be their 5th since Coach DeCesare took over in 2010.