Go to work ‘Shamrocks are CHSL’s top rival, Brother Rice 55-51 – The Oakland Press

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BIRMINGHAM — The Novi Detroit Catholic Central 2022 basketball team reminisces about 2004 NBA world champion “Go to Work” Detroit Pistons. Cooper Craggs and Josh Ross recall Ben and Rasheed Wallace in the paint. Sophomore guard Chas Lewless looks a lot like Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups running the point.

On Thursday, the ride-or-die Catholic Central Shamrocks outscored host Birmingham Brother Rice for a 55-51 win in action out of the hotly contested Catholic High School League Central Division. All five CHSL Central teams are ranked in the state’s Top 10.

Lewless scored a game-high 22 points, Craggs used his engine and moxie to post a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double and Ross had a huge block in the closing seconds to help preserve the win.

“The competition in this league right now is just crazy,” Craggs said. “We leave everything on the floor in every game and pride ourselves on our work ethic.”

Catholic Central led 26-22 at halftime and 43-38 heading into the fourth quarter Thursday. Brother Rice tied the game 47-47 on junior John Blackwell’s 3-pointer from left corner with 3:11 left on the clock. Blackwell’s two free throws gave the home side their only second-half lead, 51-50, at 1:21.

Lewless then hit a pair from the free-throw line with 58 seconds left to put Catholic Central ahead definitively at 52-51. Ross then blocked Blackwell’s baseline on the ensuing possession. Lewless and second-year teammate TJ Nadeau had free throws in the final 10 ticks to wrap things up for the Shamrocks (8-2, 2-1).

“It’s the most fun you can have as a high school basketball player or coach, it’s a real highlight for such a historic league,” said Catholic Central head coach Brandon Sinawi.

After the loss, Brother Rice slipped to 7-2 on aggregate, 1-2 in the league. Blackwell shot 21 in the loss. Junior forward Xavier Thomas had 16 points and 8 rebounds for the Warriors, and junior Brother winger Curtis Williams finished with 10 points on the night. Williams buried an 18-foot jumper who beat the buzzer last week to upset state No. 1 Orchard Lake St. Mary on the road.

Lewless likes his club’s chances in the league race.

“We have the drive to win close games,” Lewless said. “There is no doubt about ourselves in this locker room. We play with heart, haste and execution and drop the chips where they can.

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