The Bulldogs of Riviera Prep advanced with a double-digit victory over Durango out of Las Vegas, Nevada. St. Rita received a bye into the semi-finals and features a trio of high D-I recruits on the front line that goes 6’9, 6’9, and 6’6. St. Rita was a nationally-ranked team in the pre-season but has taken some unexpected losses. Riviera Preps hopes to give them another one.
The first quarter got of to a bit of a slow start. It seemed like the score was 1-1 for the longest time until 6’6 junior Nojus Indrusatis hit a three for St. Rita. Morez Johnson, a 6’9 junior added to that with a bucket inside. Riviera Prep finally hit their first field goal on a mid-range jumper from 6’2 senior Cooper Josefsberg. Riviera Prep tied the game at 6-6 with a three from Josefsburg with 1:42 left in the quarter but St. Rita closed out the period with a pair of threes, one from Johnson and one from Indrusatis to led 12-6 after the first eight minutes.
Josefsberg hit a jumper for Riviera to open the second period but St. Rita extended its lead to eight after a bucket inside from Johnson and a transition basket from Indrusaitis. Riviera Prep’s 7’0 sophomore Gustavo Guimaraes scored inside but that was offset by a St. Rita three. Dante Allen, a 6’4 sophomore, hit a free throw for Riviera Prep but a bucket inside from 6’10 junior James Brown extended the St Rita lead to double digits at 21-11 with just over four minuets to play in the half. Riviera Prep scored four in a row, highlighted by a three from 6’0 eighth grader Myles Fuentes to close the gap but another three from St. Rita gave them a 24-15 advantage. However, those would be the last St. Rita points of the half as 6’0 freshman Mason Fuentes put back a miss and Allen scored in transition to make the half-time score 24-19 in favor of St. Rita.
Allen scored for Riviera Prep to open the third quarter but St. Rita answered with two baskets to push their advantage to seven. Guimaraes completed a three-point play for Riviera Prep and after a St. Rita bucket, Allen hit a mid-range jumper and then dropped in a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game at 30-28 with 4:27 to go in the third. St. Rita responded with a 7-3 run to push their lead back to six at 37-31. Now it was Riviera Prep’s turn to go on a run, scoring seven unanswered to take its first lead of the game, 38-37 with just under a minute to go in the third. It didn’t last long as Indrusaitis scored inside twenty seconds later. That ended the scoring for the third quarter and St. Rita was up by one 39-38.
Josefsburg opened the final quarter with a three for Rivera Prep. That was offset by one from 6’4 senior Nashawn Holmes of St. Rita. Indrusaitis got a steal and score for St. Rita to give them a three-point lead. After an exchange of two-point baskets, St. Rita pushed its margin to five, 48-43, on a pair of free throws from Brown. Riviera Prep got that deficit down to one in less than a minute and after Johnson hit two free throws for St. Rita, Guimaraes hit a free throw and Allen scored inside with 1:40 left to tie the score at 50-50. Johnson scored inside for St. Rita with nineteen seconds left to put them up two. After a timeout, Riviera Prep looked to get a three for the win, but didn’t get a good look. St. Rita rebounded with a little over a second left and Riviera Prep fouled Brown. He made both free throws to give St. Rita a 54-50 win.
Indrusaitis led St. Rita with 19 points while Johnson tallied 16 points.
For Riviera Prep, Allen paved the way with 14 points while Josefsburg finished with 11 points.