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2018 GAME FIVE RECAP: St. Rita 54, Rockford Auburn 52

Box Score

HINSDALE, Ill. – Defending champion Saint Rita held off Rockford Auburn 54-52 in the opening round of the 2018 Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.

The back-and-forth contest featured 15 lead changes and eight ties with neither squad leading by double figures.

Neither squad led by more than three points in the opening quarter as Saint Rita carried a 14-13 lead into the second. Rockford Auburn (6-7) started quickly in the second, scoring the first nine points of the quarter to open up a 22-14 lead. Saint Rita (8-3) answered back quickly with a 7-0 run, pulling to within two points. The Mustangs trailed 24-22 at the half.

Saint Rita took control early in the third. After tying the game at 26-26, the Mustangs rattled off a 10-1 run to open up a nine-point cushion with 1:26 left in the quarter. Rockford Auburn responded with a 9-3 run to close the quarter and pull to within three.

The two teams traded leads eight times in the fourth quarter. With the score even at 49-49 with 90 seconds remaining, Saint Rita scored the next five points on a jumper from Christian Henry, a slam from Connor Serven and a free throw from Javon Cooley. Rockford Auburn used a three-pointer from Javin Davis to cut the lead down to two. After a missed Saint Rita free throw, the Knights had one last chance, but a potential game-tying jumper came up short.

Saint Rita shot 41.9 percent (18-of-43) in the contest but struggled from the outside, hitting just 2-of-11 three-point shots (18.2 percent. Saint Rita won the battle on the glass, outrebounding Rockford Auburn 37-26 and score 15 second chance points off of 14 offensive rebounds. Cooley led the way with 16 points and five rebounds while Serven scored 12 and collected eight boards. Henry and Jeremiah Oden totaled eight points apiece for the Mustangs.

Rockford Auburn shot 39.2 percent (20-of-51) from the floor, including 36.4 percent (8-of-22) from three-point distance. Joshua Ausler led the Knights with a game-high 23 points. Justin Blake added nine while Davis scored eight.

Saint Rita will face the winner of the Oswego East/Westinghouse game in tomorrow’s quarterfinals at 7:00 p.m. Rockford Auburn will await the loser of the Oswego East/Westinghouse contest in tomorrow’s consolation bracket game at 12:30 p.m.

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