basketball Edit

Cardinal Hayes Upsets the Royals

Adam Njie drives to the rim
Adam Njie drives to the rim (M. Wingate)

MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY – Sometimes things that are free cost the most. Such was the case on Saturday when the unranked Hayes Cardinals traveled from the Bronx into Queens to face off against the #2 ranked Christ the King Royals. In an overtime thriller that came down to which team would hit its free-throws, Hayes held on down the stretch to upset the Royals, 75 – 74.

The Cardinals took an early lead through offense provided by 6’3” Jermel Thomas ’26, 6’2” Adam Njie ‘24 and 6’3” Treyvon Lewis ‘26. Christ the King’s squad was primarily sustained due to perimeter scoring from Dwayne Pierce ‘24, but the trailed by a trey going into the second quarter.

The Royals turned up the flames as expected as Qin Pang ‘24 chimed in offensively and on the board. A buzzer beater at the half by Markell Alston sent both teams to their respective locker rooms tied at 34 apiece.

Jermel Thomas scorched Christ the King with a game high 34 points
Jermel Thomas scorched Christ the King with a game high 34 points (M. Wingate)

Pierce took his game to the next level in the second half, but Hayes countered with buckets by Thomas and led by six to start the fourth quarter. The Royals slowly reduced their deficit, gaining momentum as a result of them stepping it up defensively. With 3:45 left in regulation, Hayes suddenly found themselves trailing by two points.

Back-to-back steals by Njie gave Hayes its edge back and a chance to close out the #2 squad in NYC but turnovers and missed free-throws allowed them to recover, sending the game into overtime knotted at 67.

The game ebbed and flowed in OT with each team gaining and losing its advantage. Pang and Pierce led the way for Christ the King while Thomas was the go-to-guy for Hayes.

Tied at 72 with 1:40 left to play, Pang put CK up by a deuce but a timely trey by 6’3” Malik Fields ‘26 gave Cardinals Hayes the upper hand with a one-point lead. Down by a point with under a second left to play, Pierce drew a foul and a chance to close out the Cardinals. The normally reliable free-throw shooter missed both free-throws and Cardinals took home the dub.

Thomas was the high scorer for Hayes with 34 points with Lewis and Njie adding 15 points and 14 points, respectively. Pierce was the leading scorer for Christ the King with 30 points with Pang contributing 20 points.

The Cardinal’s record improves to 4 – 5/7 – 8 while the Royals record falls to 6 – 1 /12 – 2.