Senior Collin Steinhauer puts up a three
Friday evening in Chelsea, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard’s basketball team was looking to avenge a 10 point loss earlier in the season to the Chelsea Bulldogs. But the Bulldogs were looking to win their first District Championship in the last 9 years. Both teams entered the game with similar defensive styles and it showed right away. From the tip off you could see it was going to be a tight battle.
Senior Collin Steinhauer hit a big 3 in the first to give Chelsea their first lead of the game and then with the game tied with time running out just before the half Junior Ryan Mitchell put up a 3 that went off the rim but Steinhauer used his size and strength to put the ball up and in off the rebound at the buzzer to send the Bulldogs into halftime with a 23-21 lead.
In the third Mitchell caught fire and was hitting shots from all over the court but the Fighting Irish of Gabriel Richard matched the shots basket for basket. Entering the 4th with the Bulldogs up by 1 both teams tightened up their defenses and points were hard to come by but fouls weren’t. The Fighting Irish took the early lead but Mitchell made a beautiful move and tied it up. With the game tied at 41 with under a minute to play Chelsea held the ball for the last shot but with 31 seconds left the Fighting Irish rebounded a missed free throw and moved the ball up court quickly. With less than 10 seconds left Gabriel Richard’s Anthony Valenti put up a shot that went off the far rim and out of the scrum for the rebound, it was the Fighting Irish’s Nick Houle who was in the right place at the right time who put it back up and in. As the shot went in the enthusiastic Gabriel Richard student section went crazy and the Chelsea fans let out a simultaneous gasp. After a timeout, with 4.5 seconds on the clock, Chelsea inbounded the ball and rapidly got the ball upcourt for a Steinhauer shot at the buzzer but it bounced off the rim giving Gabriel Richard the hard fought 43-41 victory and their first District Title since 2012.
Senior forward/guard Joe Chavey led Gabriel Richard with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Donnie Edwards, also a senior, had eight points and five rebounds for the Fighting Irish.
Chelsea was led by Mitchell with 13 points and 4 rebounds. Senior Ethan French finished with 12 points, while Steinhauer finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Senior Trevor Kingsley had 5 points, 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot.
Chelsea Head Coach Josh Tropea inherited a 5 win and 37 loss team 2 years ago and has done a tremendous job turning the team around. He has brought a positive outlook to the team teaching the boys to believe in themselves and the team. Chelsea finished the season with a 16-6 record and they will be bringing back 8 juniors to its team next season and will be looking to build on this past season’s success.
Gabriel Richard will move on to the Regional round of play and face River Rouge at 5:30 Monday at Dundee.