By Mitch Silver
Injuries took their toll Tuesday when Head Coach Steve Gage was forced to send his decimated Rye Country Day squad out on the home floor against a powerful St. Luke’s team. Missing four of their top six players — and welcoming back senior center Sam Berger for only his first game since suffering a serious leg injury — the Wildcats were out-jumped, outgunned, and overrun by the 14-5 Storm from New Canaan on Senior Night.
Up by 40-20 at the half, St. Luke’s kept making two baskets, many of them layups off long diagonal passes, for every one by Rye Country Day. Had it not been for a couple of early threes by Austin Pager (he had a team-high 13 for the game) and a ridiculously long three-pointer that point guard Ben Pierce canned while practically standing at the scorer’s table, things would have been even worse.
With high scorer Billy O’Meara sidelined by injury and two-way star Allen Houston ill, the Wildcats couldn’t come close to matching the effort they made in a 74-67 loss to this same Storm team at their place 72 hours earlier.
Coach Gage was smiling a little ruefully after the game. “You should have been here Saturday,” he said. “We took it to Columbia Grammar.” Let it be noted: they did 81-73.
Meanwhile, the NYSAIS playoffs are approaching and, if the injuries heal and the flu bug departs, Rye Country Day should be a high seed when the action kicks off next week.
Ben Pierce (#3) goes one on one with the Storm’s Jonas Harper.