Kreklow, Williams lead Bruins to comeback win over rival Kewpies.


Ryan Kreklow makes a layup during Tuesday’s 64-54 rivalry win over the Kewpies. Kreklow led the Bruins with 21 points.

Brett Stover

For years, the Bruins dominated their crosstown hoops rivalry with the Kewpies. At one point, RBHS reeled off 21 straight wins in the series, a streak that stretched from 2004 until 2012. However, with Jimmy Whitt’s rise to stardom at HHS came another, albeit shorter, streak and including an infamous triple-overtime game that ended in a fight.
But when it came to tonight’s Bruin victory, like most Providence rivalry matchups, what’s past truly was just prologue.
During the opening quarter, the Bruins (15-3) looked outmatched by their Kewpie foes and trailed 16-10. Fewer than two minutes into the second quarter, their deficit had ballooned to nine points. After that point, though, the shots started falling and they began to eliminate careless turnovers and Ryan Kreklow’s three-point play capped a 13-6 run to end the half.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well, especially the first half,” RBHS coach Jim Scanlon said. “I was kinda frustrated because we weren’t doing the things we had practiced, but we were still only down two at the half. This game kinda does that to you.”

We didn’t do all the right decisions sometimes, but I thought down the stretch they were tough and played hard. -Jim Scanlon

Coming out of the break trailing 29-27, the Bruins’ comeback attempt took a sudden nosedive as they racked up seven fouls in four minutes. This, coupled with the fact that the Kewpies only were charged with one foul in that time, drew vigorous chants from the Bru Crew that had arrive en masse to the game.
“It could’ve turned out a whole lot worse than that, because they could’ve had the whole second half shooting free throws,” Kreklow said. “I mean if they’re hitting [their FTs] and we kept fouling we would’ve dug ourselves into a big hole.”
Scanlon agreed that they the foul trouble presented worries, but was relieved that the Bruins were able to recover from the setback.
“With four minutes left in the third quarter they were already shooting 1-and-1’s and I thought, ‘We’re in trouble here,’ but we survived that,” Scanlon said. “We didn’t do all the right decisions sometimes, but I thought down the stretch they were tough and played hard.”
In the waning minutes of the third quarter, with the Bruins trailing just 42-39, unheralded sophomore Jack Cooper took a three that sent the Crew into a frenzy and tied the game. After Cooper scored another two points, the Bruins were miraculously leading 44-42 entering the final eight minutes.
“I thought Jack Cooper’s three, that tied it I believe, was big for a tenth grader [and] it was huge,” Scanlon said. “That kinda got us up there, the crowd got into it, and everybody knew it was a game until the end.”
With less than two minutes left in the game and his team trailing 54-52, Kewpie star Jimmy Whitt finished a monster alley-oop that brought the Hickman students to their feet. Over the past few years, a moment shift such as this could’ve signaled the end of a valiant Bruin effort. However Kreklow, who led the Bruins with 21 points, calmly dribbled to the other end of the court and laid in two points to give the Bruins the lead back.
“After that [the alley-oop] we had to slow the game down,” Kreklow said. “That was a huge momentum switch in their direction, and I walked it down and got everyone calm.”
With 37 second left, Whitt strode to the line with his team again down two and a chance to tie. Neither free throw made it through the hoop.
“I just missed them,” Whitt said. “I think it was just a momentum shifter. They have the momentum with 37 seconds left; it sort of takes the wind out of everybody when you have the chance to tie the game.”
Kreklow made his first free throw at the other end to put the Bruins up three, but missed what could’ve been the game-clinching point. Luckily for RBHS, Eric Kuse dove to the rescue to secure the offensive rebound. Kuse scored two free throws then, and another one after Whitt fouled out with 16.8 seconds to play.
“We’ve talked all the time about how you have to be poised, especially here playing [Hickman],” Scanlon said. “I thought Eric Kuse was really important … we had the right guy at the line. He’s hit them before, he’s hit them in practice. I thought the free throws really stretched it out.”
After another two baskets, the Bruins celebrated their second straight win over their rivals. With only three more regular season games to play – their final home game is Friday’s Courtwarming game against Rockhurst – minds soon drift to their playoff hopes, including another potential matchup with the Kewpies. However, for players like Williams, the memories from a Providence rivalry win are the only thoughts in their minds.
“I’m never going to forget this one,” Williams said.
By Brett Stover
Ryan Kreklow makes a layup during Tuesday’s 64-54 rivalry win over the Kewpies. Kreklow led the Bruins with 21 points. Photo by Sury Rawat.