BRONX, NY- The semifinals of the CHSAA were held on Thursday at Fordham University and was a combination of a blowout and a war. In the opening game Bishop Loughlin faced Archbishop Stepinac. Christ the King battled Cardinal Hayes in the finale.
Bishop Loughlin cruise past Archbishop Stepinac, 78-56
The Loughlin Lions played their style of basketball and sucked the Crusaders into it from the opening tip-off. Unable to match the Lion's firepower, Stepinac sunk as if they were stuck in quicksand.
As expected, Stepinac tried to slow the pace by swinging the ball around the perimeter but fell behind as Loughlin leaked out in transition. On the following possession, Josh James (35 points) drove down the pipe to put the Crusaders on the scoreboard but 6'0" senior guard Jordan Nanton (11 points & 6 assists) and Mike Williams (17 points, 9 rebounds & 3 steals) would extend the Lions lead to 9-2 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
Stepinac opted to play man-to-man and Khadeen Carrington (12 points & 6 assists) and Javian Delacruz (15 points) exploited and increased the Lions lead to 10 points utilizing picks and screens. The Crusaders found offense from DeMarcus Miller (4 points) and James as they created their own shots but the up-tempo game highly favored Loughlin who led, 29-8 paced by Nanton's 11 first half points.
The Crusaders were reduced to trying to score one on one, making passes only when the Lions collapsed on them. 6:22 remained in the half and Loughlin still led by 25 points. Compounding the Crusaders woes was a poor field goal percentage during those occasions when they did get open.
Midway through the quarter, the Crusaders switched to a box and one defense in an attempt to slow the Lions down and a 3-ball by 5'10" junior guard Naim Thomas (3 points) and free-throws by James finally put Stepinac in double digits and cut the Lions led to 20.
The Crusaders began to chip at Loughlin's lead from the charity stripe, benefiting from the double bonus. Offensive rebounds also gave Stepinac second chance opportunities and with 3:30 their deficit was reduced to 18.
Stepinac had chances to cut into Loughlin's lead but Lion's defensive pressure made them apprehensive to shoot unless they were wide open which allowed the Lions to increase their lead back to 26 with a minute left in the first half.
Bishop Loughlin would start the second half sitting on a 49-25 advantage and continued to makes shot hard for Stepinac, especially in the paint. While the Crusaders did get to the line, their conversion rate was sub-par. The Lions extended their lead to 28 at the end of the third quarter.
If Stepinac's body language to start the final quarter was any indicator, the game was already over. Ahead by 30 with 4:25 left to play, Loughlin cruised into the championship round utilizing their extended bench.
Christ the King Re-Beat Cardinal Hayes, 65-59
As we said in our preview, this contest would be about who would get punched in the face and how would they respond. When this battle was over, the Cardinals were left with yet another black eye, unable to win that big game.
Chris Robinson (19 points) set the stage early as he put Hayes up 6-zip. Christ the King played a bit erratic but a baskets by Jon Severe (10 points) and Adonis Delarosa (10 points & 10 rebounds) settled the Royals down and pulled them to within one with 4:30 remaining in the opening stanza.
It was a chess-match in the first quarter as each team tried to set the tempo. Royals starting point guard, Malik Harmon (13 points & 6 assists) who was instrumental in the quarter offensively picked up his second foul with 1:56. Severe picked up the slack as Harmon sat and the Royals only trailed by 1 to end the quarter.
Andre Walker (6 points) started the second quarter scoring a lay-up to give CTK their first lead. Hayes would regain but Severe would drain a trey to tie the game at 19 with 6:23 left in the half. With Harmon still on the bench, Severe multi-tasked, directing traffic as Jordan Fuchs (8 points) hit a putback putting the Royals back in the driver seat, 21-19.
The Royals padded their lead as Delarosa could not be controlled in the paint. 5'9" senior guard Isaiah Cosbert (11 points) nailed a 3-ball and Hayes suddenly found themselves down 9 with 1:30 left in the half and 32-25 as they headed into the locker room to talk about it.
Motivated to as the second half began, Mustafa Jones (6 points) scored a jumper for Hayes quickly followed by another by Robinson and the Cardinals were only down by three. But a missed lay-up by Tyler Wilson (7 points) and a dunk by Fuchs would stymie that momentum. A basket by Delarosa and with 5:45 and the Royals were back up by 7.
6'7" senior forward Ramel Coleman (11 points) and Shavar Newkirk (14 points) got the ball rolling again for the Cardinals as they attacked the rim. With 3:14, a trey from Robinson knotted the game at 38. The Royals answered but Wilson and Robinson would score back-to-back and-1's to give the Cardinals a 44-40 lead with 2:23. Harmon would also have to sit picking up his third foul.
It looked as if the quarter would end on a positive note for the Cardinals but the Royals would inch to within two in the final seconds of the third. 6'4" freshman Rawle Alkins (7 points) would net a three at the buzzer, giving the Royals a 46-45 lead to start the fourth.
Each time Hayes would try to rev things up, the Royals would deflate them. Cosbert would begin the quarter with a trey which pushed the Royals lead to 3 points and Hayes head coach Joe Lods burned an early timeout to settle things down. The Royals stepped up their interior defense making it more difficult for the Cardinals to find buckets. A feed to Alkins resulted in a dunk and with 5:12, CTK still maintained a 51-47 lead.
The Royals lead grew to 57-47 but Hayes did not lie down. Robinson nailed a trey to cut the lead to seven and Jones got to line and cut the lead in half with 2:43.
1:58 remained and a walking violation by Delarosa and with 1:32 gave the Cardinal some light. Robinson hit a clutch 3-ball and the score was 57-55. Cardinal Hayes pulled off an 8-0 run in a minute and a half and was now only down by two
Severe hit a trey while cramping but Robinson countered with a two. While Severe got tended to on the sidelines, it was announced he hit his 1000th career point.
It would be déjà vu all over again as Harmon drew a foul with 44.5 seconds. Same as when Hayes and CTK met during the regular season, Harmon knocked down freethrows and the Royals were ahead, 62-47. Harmon would get to the line again with 29.2 after a defensive stop.
25.3 ticks were left on the clock and Robinson drew a foul while attempting a three. Robinson would go 2 of 3 and Christ the King still led by 5 points with 21.6. The Royals grabbed the rebound and Harmon would finish off Hayes from the line.
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