Josh Meier and his Richards teammates made sure there was no looking ahead to a potential Tuesday night showdown with Stagg.
“I think we did a good job of keeping our heads on straight,” Meier said. “We didn’t underestimate anyone and we knew we had to take care of this game before we could think about (Tuesday).”
Richards took care of business with ease Monday, rolling to an 80-29 win over Kennedy in a Class 4A Shepard Regional quarterfinal in Palos Heights.
The 6-8, Chicago State-bound Meier was unstoppable early against an undersized Kennedy squad, scoring 11 first-quarter points as the Bulldogs (17-11) took a 23-8 lead after one.
“Our emphasis was to get the ball inside to me and our other big guys and let us do what we do,” he said. “We knew they didn’t have a lot of size and we wanted to take advantage of it.”
Meier, who played limited minutes in the second quarter and sat out the entire second half, finished with 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bulldogs, who will meet the Chargers in Tuesday’s semifinals.
Jordan Cottrell added 12 points and Dedrick Shannon Jr. 10 as Richards assured at least one more game for coach John Chappetto, who announced he was stepping down after the season.
Vonzell Williams paced Kennedy (3-22) with 10 points. Ricky Ellis, Fred West and Felipe Trinidad added five each.
Richards led 44-16 at the half and 63-21 after three.
The Bulldogs, who got scoring from 12 players, never slowed down even with their reserves in the game, shooting 32-of-56 from the field and holding the Crusaders to an 11-of-37 mark.
“We knew they couldn’t contain Josh inside,” Chappetto said. “I thought Shannon played really well, too. We had guys come in off the end of our bench and play well, like Marcus Burton. He’s come a long way.”
Spencer Tears finished with eight points and Burton had six points and 10 rebounds for Richards, which now gets its shot at Stagg.
“I’ve been watching (Stagg’s Max Strus) since I reffed him in seventh grade,” Chappetto said. “He’s great and they have some other great players. They’re the favorite, but we’ll be there and we’ll give it a shot.”