MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY - High school may be winding down for upperclassmen but for the freshmen it's just beginning. The Semifinal round of the CHSAA Freshman Championship took place on Tuesday at Christ the King HS. Bishop Loughlin took on St. Raymond and the host school battled Archbishop Molloy.
Loughlin Lions Fold to St. Ray's Ravens in OT, 59-57
It would be a battle of wills throughout as Jordan Thomas (11 points) penetrated down low and scored for Loughlin. The Ravens tried to counter but three treys by sharpshooter Marques Watson (18 points) and another inside basket by Thomas and the Lions sprinted out in front, 15-3 with 2:40 left in the warm-up quarter.
St. Rays burned a time out to get a grip and soon after, Leron Smith (3 points) and Donald Flores (28 points) finally drained three-pointers for the Ravens off a set plays, cutting their deficit to six. The Lions were controlling the glass but St. Rays began to make headway in transition as shook off their jitters. Flores soon cut Loughlin's lead to 15-11 from the free-throw line with 54 seconds but missed a runner at the buzzer that would've pulled them even closer.
Watson opened the second quarter with his fourth three-ball, pushing Loughlin's lead back to 7. The Ravens were steadily gaining momentum with defensive stops that led to potential buckets in transition but were unable to hit open baskets which stifled their progress
Flores suddenly got a burst of heat, connecting from deep in each corner for the Ravens. Bishop Loughlin would counter and retained a 26-19 lead with 1:26 left in the half but the Ravens weren't through.
A defensive upswing would result in Loughlin turnovers as the half wound down and an off balanced bank shot by Flores plus a buzzer beater by Isaiah Washington (17 points) sent the combatants into their respective locker rooms with the Lions holding on to a slim 26-24 edge.
St. Raymonds knotted the game as Flores scored and midway through the quarter the Ravens had their first lead. The intensity stepped up as both teams elevated their games. Flores began to put the Lions on their heels with his offensive ferocity.
Through tenacity on the boards, Loughlin regained the lead 35-33 with 3:08 as Keith Swinton (5 points) hit an and-1 and held on to a two point lead as the fourth quarter began.
Going coast to coast Washington hits a big time shot to knot the game at 37 and with 6:45 Flores gave the Ravens a two point lead. The lead changed hands as each squad penetrated but Watson pushed Loughlin in front 45-41 with another 3-ball. The Ravens came back to tie the game at 48 with 1:31.
Both teams committed rookie turnovers as the clock crept down to a minute and the pressure built. Lions had possession but a held ball gave the ball to the Ravens. With 22.8 seconds, Flores would get his own offensive rebound for a putback, giving St. Rays a 50-48 edge.
Another turnover by the Lions would put the rock back in the Ravens hands with 16.9 seconds left in regulation. Forced to foul, the Lions put Washington on the line for a 1 and 1 but would he would falter. With 6 seconds remaining, Joshua Roberts (7 points) drew a foul and would tie the game at 50. St. Ray's would be unable to score, sending the game into overtime.
The Lions would get on the scoreboard first as Tyreese Gaffney (8 points) got to the foul line and Roberts drove down the lane. Down by four, St. Rays would respond as Washington banked one off the glass but Loughlin kept the point spread by attacking the paint.
Two minutes remained and the Lions were up 56-54. Flores had a chance to tie from the line with 1:46 but only went 1 of two. Down by 1, Washington would get a steal off the inbound and score, giving the Ravens a one point lead. Roberts drove hard to the hole and drew a foul but missed both free-throws but unrelenting Gaffney would get the line for a second bite at the apple. He would go 1 of 2 tying the game at 57.
Chaos ensued as both teams scrambled for the ball. It appeared as if the game was heading into a second overtime but Flores would breakaway for the game winning layup as time expired.
Christ the King Royals Smash Molloy Stanners, 60-37
Christ the King took an early 8-2 lead as point guard Jose Alvarado pushed the team eloquently with 16 first half points. 2:29 remained in the quarter and the score was still the same as both teams coughed up the ball. 14-4 at the end of first
In the second quarter, the tempo quickened and the point spread expanded like a balloon filling with air. Alvarado and Pierce Bozcar pushed the Royals advantage to 21-5 midway through the quarter. CK's lead grew to 16 before 21 scored an and-1 with 4:20 left in the half.
Down 31-13 at the top of the third and without firepower, the Stanners quickly found themselves in a 30 point crevice to start the fourth in a game that seemed over almost before it began
Alvarado scored a game high 21 points with Bozcar adding 15 points. Brandon Jacobs led Molloy with 15 points with John Herring adding with 13 points.
The Freshman Championship game between the St. Raymond Ravens and the Christ the King Royals will take place at 5:30pm on Saturday March 1st, 2014 at Archbishop Molloy H.S. in Briarwood, NY.