Quincy Shootout: St. Rita uses strong start to overtime to propel itself past Real Salt Lake
QUINCY — The environments the Chicago St. Rita boys basketball team has played in this season run the gamut from hostile to enthusiastic to being in the national spotlight.
“Our schedule is kind of crazy this year, but it’s with the goal of making a state run,” Mustangs coach Roshawn Russell said. “The only way to do that is to play the best.”
Two victories over top competition makes it all the better.
Less than 24 hours after rallying and beating Modesto (Calif.) Christian in overtime Friday night, St. Rita surrendered a lead late in regulation before Nojus Indrusaitis scored the first six points of overtime and catapulted the Mustangs to a 64-60 victory over Real Salt Lake.
“I’ll take some overtime games, especially as we get prepared to be on the backend of our conference schedule and get to the playoffs,” Russell said. “In the moment, I wasn’t happy, but long term, I think I’ll look back and smile on it.”
A foul on a 3-point attempt with less than 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter allowed Real Salt Lake’s Junior County to make the first two free throws to draw within 57-55. County intentionally missed the third free throw, but it didn’t hit the rim and possession went to St. Rita.
The Mustangs threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, and Real Salt Lake’s David Meriweather scored off a baseline inbounds play to tie the game and force overtime. Indrusaitis opened the extra frame with his scoring burst and St. Rita never trailed again.
“You can kind of tell we’re very young, and we make young mistakes,” Real Salt Lake coach David Evans said. “We have to go through it, and we have to find a way to win.”
The competitive nature will allow that to happen.
“I love going into battle with them,” Evans said. “But we’re still a little ways away.”
Indrusaitis led the Mustangs with 25 points, while forward Morez Johnson added 17 points. County scored 16 points for Real Salt Lake, while JJ Mandaquat and Lyman Simmons each scored 13 points.
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