All in all, Birmingham Brother Rice boys basketball head coach Ed Shaffer is satisfied with the way his squad finished the 2014 portion of its schedule.
The Warriors enter 2015 with a 4-1 overall record after splitting a pair of games over the holiday break at the Muskegon Sports Hall of Fame Holiday Classic. Rice was undefeated in its previous three games.
In Muskegon, Rice defeated Lansing Eastern in a very close affair, 60-59. In the opener, East Kentwood outlasted the Warriors, 66-59.
“We had a good trip to Muskegon,” Shaffer said. “We lost our first game to a very good East Kentwood team. They are unbeaten, state-ranked, really athletic and very well-coached. They pounded us early and got up by as many as 20 in the first half. But we made some adjustments, played much better in the second half, fought back and got it to within five points late in the game.
“The idea behind going to this tournament was to get us battle-tested for the Catholic League and that begins Tuesday at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s,” he added. “So we’ll find out soon if that worked. Overall, we had a good experience in Muskegon and played pretty well – very well at times, not so well at others. That’s about what we expect at this time of the year.”
Against Lansing Eastern, seniors Kevin Hayes (11 points) and Drew Gallagher (10) each reached double figures. Hayes contributed a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds in the loss to East Kentwood. Senior Dominic Downs netted 14 points – including four treys – in each game, his first two outings this season after rehabbing a knee injury.
The Warriors opened their season on the road with wins over Ferndale (68-42) and Redford Union (61-44).
Hayes and Drew Gallagher led the attack against Ferndale with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Rice shot 60 percent from the field in its easy win over RU at the St. Cecilia Classic. Gallagher was Rice’s leading scorer in that game with 17 points and four steals.
Rice also defeated Divine Child in December, 55-36, in its first home game of the season. Hayes poured in 15 points and Gallagher tossed in nine points while contributing 14 rebounds. Senior guard Ryan Jordan added seven points and four steals.
“Our seniors played (against Divine Child) like seniors should play,” Shaffer said. “They played with heart and they made adjustments over the course of the game.”
Brother Rice was scheduled to play Detroit Country Day in non-league action Friday (after this paper went to press).