Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 18, 1998

RESERVE – St. Charles Catholic stayed in the hunt for the District 9-2Atitle with a 78-67 victory at Riverside Friday night.

The victory improved the Comets’ record to 16-12 overall and 6-2 in district play. The Comets hosted Ecole Classique last night and will travelto district-leader West St. John (13-7, 7-1) Friday night. West St. Johndefeated Ridgewood, 102-90, on the road Friday.

Riverside fell to 9-16 overall and 2-6 in district play.

The Comets were playing without leading scorer Chris Oney who was out with a cold, but had a balanced attack with four players in double digits.

Ricky Munoz led the attack with a game-high 18 points. Courtney Bonuraand John Price tossed in 15 points apiece, while Credere Joseph contributed 14 points. David Nestor and Maurice St. Pierre added eightpoints apiece.

Keith LeBlanc led the Riverside effort with 16 points. Paul Labiche tossedin 13 points, while Craig Tearney and Sean Delaneuville added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The contest was close throughout with the Rebels jumping out to a 5-2 lead on a 3-pointer by Anson Matherne and a put back by Labiche. TheComets tied the game on Bonura’s 3-pointer and went ahead to stay on a jump shot by Price from the right baseline. The Comets built the lead tosix on a tip in by Price and a jump shot by Nestor. David Jackson counteredwith a jump shot from the right side to cut the deficit to 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Riverside pulled to within two on a layup by LeBlanc to open the second quarter, but the Comets came back with a layup by Joseph and two 3- pointers by Munoz to take a 23-15 lead.

The Rebels responded as David Garsee and Matherne drove in for layups.

LeBlanc then drove in from the right side and was fouled, hitting the free throw to cut the deficit to 25-24.

St. Charles Catholic countered with a 7-0 run. Munoz scored twice on alayup and jump shot and Bonura drove the right baseline for a another layup to give the Comets a 32-24 lead with 2:35 left in the half. Riversidepulled to within four on a jump shot by Delaneuville, before the Comets answered with a 3-pointer by Bonura. LeBlanc closed out the first halfscoring, cutting inside to cut the Comets’ lead to 36-31 at the half.

The Comets opened up their lead as the third quarter opened. Munoz beganthe run with a jump shot and then lifted a pass to Price who slammed it through for a 40-31 lead. Joseph and Price followed with layups to buildthe lead to 10.

Riverside rallied, cutting the deficit to 46-41 on a 3-pointer by LeBlanc and two layups by Labiche. But the Comets answered once more with an 8-0 run. Joseph scored on two layups and St. Pierre popped in a jump shot tobuild the lead to 52-41 with 1:45 left. Following a timeout by the Rebels,Joseph drove inside and dropped off a pass to Price, giving the Comets their biggest lead of the game.

LeBlanc broke the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, but St.

Pierre answered by taking a pass underneath from Price to give the Comets a 56-44 lead heading into the final quarter.

Riverside opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer by Delaneuville and a layup by Jackson to cut the deficit to 56-50.

The Comets answered once more as Nestor bounced a pass between two defenders to Munoz on the right baseline. Munoz followed with a jumpshot, building the Comets’ advantage to 64-54. Munoz and Nestor would hitsix straight free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

“We played well,” St. Charles Catholic coach Philip Cavell said. “I have tohand it to Riverside. They were well prepared and executed pretty well. Weshot the ball well. That was a key. The team stepped up and played well asa team. We had good balance and had a good team effort.”Riverside coach John White said his team had troubles setting up on both sides of the ball.

“We were out of sync,” White said. “We played hard but the shooting wasoff. St. Charles Catholic is a good basketball team and plays at one levelthe whole game.”

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