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Sophomore guard Ahmad Henderson helps balanced Brother Rice beat St. Ignatius in overtime

Brother Rice sophomore Ahmad Henderson has only played three games as a varsity point guard. So it is understandable that he isn’t ready to proclaim total confidence yet. 

Brother Rice’s Ahmad Henderson (11) finds a crease and slashes toward the basket as St. Ignatius’ Parker Higginbottom (1) and Kolby Gilles (32) defend.
Brother Rice’s Ahmad Henderson (11) finds a crease and slashes toward the basket as St. Ignatius’ Parker Higginbottom (1) and Kolby Gilles (32) defend.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Brother Rice sophomore Ahmad Henderson only has played three games as a varsity point guard. So it is understandable that he isn’t ready to proclaim total confidence yet.

“I’m still getting used to it,” Henderson said. “But it’s just basketball, you know? It’s what I’ve been playing my whole life.”

Henderson was assured and effective, especially in overtime, in the Crusaders’ 61-54 win Wednesday at St. Ignatius.

“I’m confident when he has the ball in his hands,” Brother Rice coach Bobby Frasor said. “As a coach, you love that feeling when your point guard has the ball. He’s not going to get sped up or get pressured. He’s just very in control. I’m very happy to be able to coach him.”

Henderson missed a three-point attempt to win the game in regulation, but he made up for it quickly in overtime. He made 6 of 8 free throws and had a drive to the basket for a score. The sophomore finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

Brother Rice (3-0) is so balanced this season that it actually might be an issue for opposing teams. There isn’t one or two primary scorers that a defense can focus on.

Senior Frank Cunnea scored 12 for the Crusaders. Cullen Cosme had 10 points and Garrett Greene added nine. Seven different players scored.

“We don’t have that leading scorer but we have a lot of guys that can score,” Cunnea said. “That makes us hard to guard. You can’t really scout us and key on one guy.”

Brother Rice took full advantage in the third quarter, attacking the basket regularly to build a 39-33 lead.

St. Ignatius junior AJ Redd scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to tighten the score. John Digenan’s baseline drive with 27 seconds left in regulation tied the game in regulation.

“We lost all five starters from last season, so expectations were pretty low on the outside,” Cunnea said. “Nobody was talking about us, but we knew in our hearts that we had a very good team.”

Kolby Gilles, one of the more intriguing juniors in the area, scored a game-high 19 points. He’s a good three-point shooter and a powerful force in the post. Sophomore Richard Barron added nine points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack (2-2).

“We go by usage rate when we are looking at an opponent,” St. Ignatius coach Matt Monroe said. “How much a player contributes to their overall offense. It’s much easier to plan when one or two guys have a higher usage rate. It’s not always easy to stop. But it’s much easier to game-plan. Brother Rice does a great job of just including everyone, everyone out there is a threat to score, a threat to drive, a threat to kick, a threat to make a play.”

The Wolfpack started the year in the Super 25 and still have high expectations for the season.

“The biggest key for us, and this is gonna sound a little bit different, is to appreciate every experience, appreciate the highs, appreciate the lows, and make sure we understand that we’re lucky to be here and we’re lucky to play,” Monroe said. “And this is a younger team, so we are preaching that no matter what you need to play for each other, love your teammates and trust one another.”

Watch the final minute of Brother Rice at St. Ignatius: