RJ Boys and Girls Basketball Seasons Ramp Up

By: Sam Stern ’20

Boys Basketball (3-2):

The Raiders come up with a huge win in the De la Salle tournament in Oakland California to  get this exciting season going. The Raiders came off outstanding performances from star seniors and captains Jamil Safieddine and Daniel Carr. Carr is averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds going into our next conference game against Rangeview High School.

The Raiders start off the season with a 3-2 record, and will look to gain a win at Rangeview tonight at 7:00pm.

“We have the talent to win state, and that should be our goal for this season,“ said 6’7” center Dan Carr; “I think with my ability to shoot the three ball, it will not only make me tougher to guard, but our team tougher to guard.”

With the Boys basketball season beginning to ramp up, there are a lot of notable players and events to talk about. Since this team has a shot at winning a coveted  state championship, this should be one of the most exciting seasons of basketball in recent memory. Let’s rowdy up and get hyped for what should be a season full of highlight reel dunks, a shower of threes, and hopefully, a lot of winning

“We have the talent to win state, obviously.” Coach Ken Shaw, the masterful head coach that has been coaching at Regis now for twelve years, feels this could be the year that they make some noise in Colorado.

Elite guards Jamil Safieddine ‘19, Payton Egloff ‘19, and new transfer point guard, Travier Craddock ‘20 are shifty players that can spot up, shoot, and get to wherever they need to be on the court in a flash.

Versatile big men Daniel Carr ‘19, Matt Wheelock ‘19, and Bohden O’Shaughnessy ‘19 have mastered the post up, and should be bully balling every frontcourt in the state.

After Grandview stole the state championship from George Washington last year, they are the team to beat in the state behind their competitive play from Junior Caleb Mcgill ‘20 and Senior Tyler Unger ‘19.

Senior Dan Carr feels good about the Raiders’ chances of beating competitive teams in the state.  “I do, no doubt. We should be up there with the best in the state,” Carr said.  

Point guard Travier Craddock who transferred from Northwest High School in Omaha, Nebraska, is another piece in a nucleus full of star caliber players on Regis Jesuit’s deep team.

Junior Point Guard Travier Craddock ’20 honing in on his shot during an early season practice. Picture by Leo Mccabe ’19

“My goal is to have a breakout Junior year showing this state what I can really do at a different level of play and showing that I am top In my class,” Craddock said.  

Look for Travier to be someone who will be bringing highlight worthy handles, high level shooting, and most of all, a winning above all mentality. The state better watch out.

With the game of basketball moving toward a positionless game, it is even more imperative that teams have a lot of floor spacing and depth. This team has that and even more. Dan Carr and Matt Wheelock are able to stretch the floor at the center position, opening up pick and pop situations.

Shooting is an art that Coach Shaw has preached in all of his years of coaching, and this year he has all the shooting he could have ever asked for.

The Raiders will not fail to impress in every facet of the game. Electrifying. Thrilling. Jaw-dropping. Incredible. This season has hype like no other in the past.

We have to be together, and survive through kind of the ups and downs, and just to hang in there, and to control adversity, if we are together we can overcome the small little hurtels that come in our way. I think if all those things come together, I think we have a chance…(Shaw)”

Girls Basketball (4-0):

“And Fran Belibi throws it down!” Michael Manoogian ‘20 had the same reaction as everyone else when we saw Fran make history. Astonishment was truly at its best in a regular season throw down against Grand Junction where RJ won 78-23.

One year later, the Franimal is heading for a state championship. She has gotten a full ride scholarship to play D1 Basketball at Stanford university where she will continue her basketball career.

This season’s team is comprised of many stars in the state of Colorado including, Fran Belibi. Our dunking sensation participated in the USA U17 World Cup basketball league where she was an integral part of their gold medal run.

“I was honored to play with the U17 national team. I think basketball wise, for that team, I was just trying to do whatever I could do to help the team more,” said Belibi.

You cannot compete in this competitive league without complimentary players who can feed off of each other at a high level.

Francesca taking it up strong in a big win over Arapahoe High School. Photo by Armando Maldonado ’21

Boys and girls… there’s a RJ three in town. Jada Moore ‘20, Francesca Belibi ‘19, and Avery Vansickle ‘21 are a trio of dynamic scorers who can carry a heavy load at any point in the game.

Confidence is an attribute that takes a long time to develop and come to whole, but these three, along with the rest of the team, are so far along in their confidence levels. Any of them can put the ball in the basket with reckless abandon. This is one freight train you do not want coming at your defense.

On the offensive end, we have firepower like no other in the state. Vansickle is a sniper who plays like a WNBA player. She has potential to be the next Sue Bird. She has the shot, she has deceptive moves to get to the hoop, and she is a vocal leader.

Jada Moore, the shifty ball handler, has potential to be the top point guard in the state. She led the team last season in assists, and is constantly looking out for the Franimal in transition. Talk about a dynamic duo to die for.

“Losing to Grandview last year was honestly one of the worst things to ever happen to me in my life. Just for us the thought that we were 46 seconds away from a state championship, was gut-wrenching, I honestly couldn’t even get out of bed the next day,” in the words of Belibi.

Grandview pressed hard to the 4th quarter buzzer as they took down this remarkable and historic RJ team. Loss can be a good thing. As much as it seems to challenging to come back from, it gives you that much more strength and heart to grind it out in the gym day in and day out until the next season.

This entire team emphasized their offseason workouts and practices around these mistakes, and have shown astonishing improvements. It is a full season grind, but if any team can make it to the championship again, it is the Raiders

With the Raiders being ranked 23rd in the country for girls basketball, this team has a chance to be very special.

“For us it’s not about how hard we get knocked down, it’s about the strength you put up to pull yourself back up again. So the whole state can be sure well be back bigger and better than before,” Belibi promises.

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