CHSAA Spring League Championship Recap
Hayes wins a thriller over Xaverian for CHSAA chip
The CHSAA had their spring league championship on Thursday featuring Xaverian and Cardinal Hayes at Stepinac High School. Each team has grinded their way to the finals, and each is led by their talented upperclassman. Cardinal Hayes mounted a huge comeback, gave up 11 three pointers and still won the Championship.
The first quarter started with a couple of easy hoops for Hayes as they opened the scoring early on. Even though Hayes was able to quickly score the Clippers completely took over the momentum going small and getting back-to-back buckets from Senior 6” Combo Guard Shawn Fulcher. Fulcher continued to push the pace and had 11 points as he helped the Clippers finish on a 16-1 run to close the first.
In the second the Cardinals able to get to the foul line with “22 5”8 Point Guard DJ Victory connecting on a pair finally getting something offensively. Unfortunately for Hayes Fulcher’s impressive makes him the defensive focus and allows 6” Senior Shooting Guard Nick Folk to get shots which he knocked two deep threes to keep the Clippers ahead. While Hayes was building a bit of momentum their leading scorer all tournament 6”8 Junior Power Forward Tobe Awaka picked up his third foul with 2:30 left in the 2nd. Awaka had fouled out the previous two games and was in foul trouble in the first as well. Clippers kept up their scoring adding 17 more points in the second and finished the half with a 33-22 lead. Fulcher was remarkable with some athletic highlight plays, leading all scorers with 14 points and Folk having 12.
We have to mention Cardinal Hayes was missing a key player in their lineup star 6”6 Hybrid Guard Ian Jackson who also missed the semis for the USA National Team in Houston. Despite missing Jackson this team is deep, tough and had 6”8 Junior Guard Tarique Foster step up in a huge way.
While Awaka was able to find space inside and score it started to cause the small ball lineup to collapse. Then the guards found Foster in all the right spots as he was able to make 5 threes with defenders all over him to keep pace with Xaverian. Cardinal Hayes was making their move holding Folk and Fulcher down for the quarter and took the lead 41-40 when Awaka picked up number 4. Fulcher and the Clippers refusing to give up the lead took advantage of Awaka’s absence and finished the third with a score of 48-44.
We understand people may think we’re going a little overboard, but the fourth quarter was some of most intense and fun to watch basketball I’ve seen in a while. These teams left it all on the floor tonight and after trading baskets at the 6-minute mark Clippers still lead 53-48. Cardinal Hayes was getting to the basket as Xaverian was afraid to help with how hot they were from deep in the 3rd. These two Seniors Fulcher and Folk were relentless on the offensive end combining for 17 in the fourth.
Cardinals began pushing the pace and after Foster and Awaka finished inside on back-to-back possessions they were down 64-63. Xaverian got a beautiful pass from Fulcher to get a layup to go back up three until Victory cut through the defense with a tough layup. Hayes having a ton of fouls to give trading some as Xaverian was happy to clear some clock until a huge steal by Victory and pass ahead to finally take the lead 67-66.
The Clippers team not looking nervous got the ball to their play maker Folk who got by the whole Cardinals defense but was unable to covert on a tough layup. Foster grabbed the rebound came down converted a pair to then go up three. Coach Chapman drew a play to get his guards going downcourt but turned it over. Hayes hit another free sealing the 70-66 victory winning an instant classic for the CHSAA NYC Championship. Our pick for MVP would be Foster who had 23 of his 25 in the 2nd half, Awaka had 16 points & 11 rebounds and Victory added 12 points with 5 steals. Folk had 24 points including 6 three pointers and Fulcher had 22 with some very impressive highlights.