Stars shine in tough basketball matchup

Despite a loss against Riley, seniors Trey Gallope and Hank Smith show impressive scoring abilities on the court.


Photo provided by Trey Gallope

Senior Trey Gallope shoots a tough layup as teammates Hank Smith and Javon Forester stand by during the boys basketball game at South Bend Riley High School on Tuesday, Jan. 19. In a disappointing loss, the Wildcats defeated the Chargers 59-55.

Brian Ketchum, Arts and Entertainment Editor

In a marquee matchup between two of Indiana’s top 20 high school boys basketball teams, Elkhart Memorial (17) and South Bend Riley (11) made this game one for the books, as most anticipated.

After a tough loss in last year’s regional championship to the Riley Wildcats, this game seemed to be a little more than just any regular season matchup for the Chargers.

For a game that could very well be replayed in the Regional bracket this year, both teams played reasonably well. Both squads were led by their star players, as senior Trey Gallope poured in 17 points and teammate senior Hank Smith added another 16, while Riley’s standout, senior Gabe Johnson, had 20 points and led the Wildcats to a 59-55 victory over the Chargers.

“The team played very well. [We] just have some parts of the game that we will continue to clean up,” said coach Kyle Sears. “The guys played extremely hard and well throughout the game. The end of the second quarter really hurt us.”

In the first half of the game, Smith threw a beautiful alley-oop to Gallope, which left the crowd applauding and cheering after the monstrous dunk.

“As soon as the fast break started,” Smith said. “I knew it was gonna happen. I knew I was gonna throw the oop.”

At halftime, after a strong run by the Wildcats in the second quarter, the Chargers trailed 25-33. As it looked like maybe the Riley team was on their way to pulling away and increasing their lead, the Chargers came out of halftime swinging strong. Throughout the entire third quarter and well into the fourth, the Chargers were building on a 23-17 run, making the score 48-50 with only a two point deficit for Memorial.

Senior Trey Gallope dribbles up the court during the boys basketball game at South Bend Riley on Tuesday, Jan. 19.  Despite a tough loss, Gallope played a strong game. Photo provided by Trey Gallope

After a three by Smith, a driving layup by Gallope, and a pair of free throws by senior Jai-Veon Qaiyim, the Chargers led 55-52 with only 90 seconds left; but the game wasn’t over yet.

Riley scored a bucket and sank two free throws, giving them a one point lead. This is where everyone in the crowd felt overwhelmed with anxiety, from both sides of the bleachers.

The Wildcats scored two more points after another trip to the free throw line, making it a three point lead. The Chargers, with 30 seconds to go, made their way down the court and missed two good looks on a three pointer that would have tied the game.

Once Riley’s Johnson grabbed a rebound, Memorial fouled one last time in hopes of getting another chance at a game tying shot. Johnson made his way to the charity stripe, where he missed his first, giving Memorial fans some hope, but then made his second, which made the lead four points, and put the game away.

Behind the tough loss Tuesday night, the Chargers look forward to their next game Saturday, Jan. 19, at North Side Gym against the Northridge Raiders. Junior varsity tips off at 6:30.