Brother Rice senior Josh Niego had a message for his teammates at the start of the fourth quarter of Friday’s Class 4A regional championship game against host Homewood-Flossmoor.
“I want the ball in my hands,” he said. “I’m not going to lose this game.”
And he didn’t, scoring 27 points, including 15 in the decisive fourth quarter, to lead the Crusaders to a 57-50 win.
Brother Rice (25-5) advances to the Thornwood Sectional semifinals and will play Thornton (22-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
It was the Crusaders’ first regional title since 2008.
“This is why you play the game,” Niego said. “It’s a great feeling.”