Wildcats on Wild Ride to Semi-State

South Bend Riley has played for a state championship in boys basketball only once in school history.

And that was a very long time ago---just a few months before the end of World War II.

"(Riley) hasn't been here since 1945 and that was just a runner-up," senior guard JT Breveard says. "Just think if we won."

"First team to go down in school history to win a state championship and I would be a part of that? That's real big."

Saturday, the Wildcats can make history by making it back to the State Championship.

Riley will face Marion in the 4A Semi-State at approximately 3:45 at Lafayette Jefferson High School.

"We do have to remember how important it is just to live for the moment," Riley head coach Mark Johnson explains. "Not worrying about creating history, not worrying about relieving the past."

"Would it be special? You bet it would but there's not a team left that doesn't feel they can win this thing. So now instead of talking about it, you have to go down and do it."

The road to Semi-State has been a wild one for the Wildcats.

Riley has won its last three games by a combined six points, including two championship in the final seconds.

Cody Henson has been the hero twice. The junior big man scored the game winning bucket and then added a game winning block to lead Riley past Washington in the South Bend Sectional Championship.

In the Regional finals last Saturday, Riley trailed defending state champion East Chicago Central by 13 points in the 4th quarter.

"A lot of people gave up and were walking out going into the 4th quarter," Henson explained. "Because they'd believe we were going to comeback."

The Wildcats did comeback with a 14-0 run to close out the game. Henson pushed in the game-winner at the buzzer as Riley won 61-60.

"Unbelievable, something you can only dream of," Henson says. "I remember as a little kid in the backyard practicing game winning shots and now it comes true. Just an experience you'll never forget."

"If I would ever give an award for the best last second shot maker, I guarantee you he would be right at the top of that list," coach Johnson says with a smile.

Riley is hoping its wild ride will continue for one more week.

We'll have highlights of Riley's battle against Marion on Newscenter 16 at 6 on Saturday and post-game reaction on Newscenter 16 at 11.

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