January 9, 2008

St. Francis Winless in Blowout to Rice

The St. Francis Prep Terriers and the Rice Raiders have something in common: both teams came into Tuesday afternoon's game off of a loss. However, Rice's last loss was there only loss, and St. Francis' last loss was just one of six in the season.

The Terriers picked up their seventh loss and remained winless after Tuesday afternoon's game in the Gauchos Gym, falling by a score of 59-31 to the Raiders.

The Manhattan school left no doubt from the opening tip off of what the end result would be, as Rice jumped out to a 16-0 lead thanks to their quick guard play and pressure defense. In Rice's last game, a loss at Christ the King, they often struggled to find any answer against a zone. Head Coach Maurice Hicks' squad would use good ball movement to break down the Terrier's zone and find open shots for sharp shooting Drexel-bound guard Chris Fouch and forward Dorvell Carter. Those two led the Rice attack on the way to a 24-4 lead by the time the first quarter buzzer sounded.

St. Francis Prep began taking better care of the ball in the second quarter, as they were able to cut down on their turnovers. Good looks at the basket would not come often for coach Tim Leary's team, as they were forced to take contested outside shots or near impossible acrobatic attempts around the hoop. Rice also began to struggle in the second quarter, as St. Francis began to switch defenses, throwing off the rhythm of the Raiders. However, because of their large run in the first quarter, Rice held a comfortable 35-12 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. The senior guard Fouch led all scorers with 12 points, all coming off of three-pointers. Fouch's backcourt mate and Uconn-bound guard Kemba Walker as well as the forward Carter scored 7 to chip in for the Raiders. Robert Nacer led the Terriers with 7 points and guard Robert Blazicevic contributed 4 points for the low scoring Queens team.

The second half virtually mirrored the second quarter, as both teams continued to experience offensive struggles. Rice continued to have troubles taking care of the ball and executing against the various different defenses that Prep threw at them. Coach Hicks used his reserves quite a bit and received a 13-point effort from lanky 6'8" forward Tyler Monplasir. Rice was able to hold a 30 point lead going into the fourth quarter, however the Terriers continued to play hard and press until the final horn sounded with the final score being 59-31. Chris Fouch led all scorers with 19 points while Kemba Walker finished with 7 points and Monplasir came off the bench to finish with 13 points. Robert Nacer led St. Francis Prep with 13 points.

This game merely serves as a warm up to a difficult upcoming weekend for the Rice Raiders. The Harlem school faces CHSAA rival St. Raymond's on Saturday and plays the #1 team in the nation, St. Benedict's, on Sunday. Rice head coach says he's not concerned about his players facing tough opponents on back-to-back days. "They just want to play basketball at this stage. It doesn't really matter if they had to play in four games straight, they just want to play," said Hicks.

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