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Posted on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Foul trouble hinders Gabriel Richard leading scorer in loss to Pontiac Notre Dame

By Pete Cunningham

With 42 seconds left in Father Gabriel Richard’s 77-66 loss to rival Pontiac Notre Dame Prep on Tuesday, Irish leading scorer Jason Houle walked to the bench quietly.

Houle had gone nearly the entire quarter resisting his defensive instincts, but when Notre Dame Prep guard Jermaih Johnson dribbled near midcourt, Houle couldn’t help but try to reach in for the steal. It was one last-ditch effort to create a turnover, and hopefully a spark, for his team.


Father Gabriel Richard leading scorer Jason Houle, left, couldn't be as aggresive as he would have liked after picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter.

Joseph Tobianski |

But the effort was for naught as Houle walked to the bench after his fifth and final foul. There was no solace in the fact that with 26 points he had 11 more than anyone else on his team.

“I feel like I kind of let my team down because I couldn’t be in the game because I got stupid fouls,” Houle said.

Richard held a 40-38 lead at halftime, but that lead quickly vanished after Notre Dame went on a 10-0 run to start the third. Until the final minute of play in the frame, Houle’s eight points were the only any Richard player scored. Notre Dame outscored Richard 21-10 in the third.

Just as devastating as the offensive drought for everyone but Houle was the fact that Houle picked up his third and fourth fouls in the quarter and ended the frame on the bench.

Richard coach Pete Schoch inserted Houle back into the lineup with just 48 seconds into the fourth, and it was clear Notre Dame was trying to get him to foul out.

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“It’s a bit unfortunate. It’s very hard at that point, because they’re trying to essentially get him to foul out as soon as you put him in the game by switching him off on a point guard,” Schoch said. “When Jason’s in foul trouble, we’re at a real disadvantage compared to what we normally are.”

While Houle had seven points in the fourth, including a 3-pointer off of a screen to cut Notre Dame’s lead - once as large as 12 points - to three with under three minutes to play, he couldn’t be as aggressive as he would have liked defensively for risk of fouling out.

“That was hard and really kind of annoying I guess you could say. Trying to play defense with four fouls,” Houle said. “You don’t want to get fouled out, you can’t really do much.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.