By: John Nee '93
Senior Day can be tricky for all teams considering the emotions that come with it, especially on a day when the Catholic League title is on the line.
After falling behind by 10 heading into the fourth quarter against the visiting DePaul Prep Rams, the Mustangs staged a furious rally to force overtime before senior Jeremiah Oden (20 points) played hero hitting a fall away seventeen-foot jumper just before the buzzer to lead St. Rita to an exciting 65-64 victory clinching the Catholic League Green title and the best overall record in the league.
Following a cold-shooting performance at home Friday night against Providence-St. Mel, the Mustangs again started slowly on Sunday afternoon falling behind 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.
After cutting the Ram lead to five by the half, Coach DeCesare's squad seemed prime to take control in the third quarter. But, instead, it was the visitors who seemingly took control of the game as DePaul was looking to clinch the Blue Division of the Catholic League.
Trailing by ten at the end of three, the Mustangs finally found their stride offensively as seniors Javon Cooley (10 points, 9 rebounds) and Oden fueled an 11-0 run with just under five minutes to play to give St. Rita their first lead since early in the game 56-53. With a late surge, the Rams were able to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, DePaul Prep struck first with a long three to take the early lead, but Cooley would answer with a three of his own to once again tie the score at 62. Then with the Rams leading by one with under twenty seconds to play, DePaul Prep missed 2 free throws setting the stage for Oden's game-winner sending the St. Rita matinee crowd into a frenzy.
Junior guard Alec Millender contributed 15 points on the night while senior forward Cameron Bartman continued his strong play of late adding 13 points and 9 rebounds.
St. Rita (22-8, 13-2) will close out the regular season this Thursday at home with a non-conference matchup against Hillcrest at 6pm.