Games Beat Names @ SNY Invitational (Day 1)
NEW YORK, NY – City College was rockin’ on Friday as the SNY Invitational got underway. Four top teams from NYC, Long Island and New Jersey battled to see who’d advance to Saturday’s championship and who would be relegated to playing in the consolation game. In the end, the two teams that brought their games defeated the two that brought their all-star names.
Long Island Lutheran Overpowers Molloy, 77 – 67
The fireworks started early as Frankie Policelli ‘18 and Donatas Kupsas ‘18 put up points for LuHi while Cole Anthony countered for Molloy. Lutheran only enjoyed a 1-point lead at the end of the first quarter but managed to keep 7’2” recent UCLA-commit Moses Brown ‘18 scoreless as the second quarter got under.
Limiting Brown was a major part of the Crusaders strategy according head coach John Buck. “We have a couple of big guys and we said if we try to play tentatively on him he’s just gonna eat us up.” Buck said he implemented some confidential schemes on positioning along with playing against the senior center very physically.
Anthony went at LuHi aggressively on offense which briefly gave the Stanners a lead but Crusader’s point guard Andre’ Curbelo ‘20 along with Policelli and Kupsas put together a 10 - 0 run that left Molloy down by eight with 3:30 left in the half. The Stanners tried to cut into LuHi’s lead but trailed 32 – 23 as the second half got underway.
Brown started the third quarter with on 2 points and 7 rebounds while Cole Anthony ‘19, on the other hand, netted 15 points. Buck said that they also had a plan for containing Anthony offensively that wasn’t working but while the junior point was scoring he had zero assists thus far.
With Brown being contained, Khalid Moore ‘18 was the only other Stanners’ player that was productive. Conversely, L.I. Lutheran was administering a full throttled attack with additional buckets coming from Tyson Etienne ‘19. The Crusaders entered the fourth quarter still maintaining an eight-point advantage.
Anthony went kamikaze offensively in the fourth quarter as it became more and more apparent that LuHi had a firm grip on the lead. Although the junior scored 15 points in the final quarter, the Stanners were never able to pull closer than 7-points due to a strong offensive quarter from Tykei Greene ‘18 and Etienne.
Coach Buck admitted that defeating Archbishop Molloy, a team with two rivals.com 5-star players in Brown and Anthony, was important. “[This win] was really, really big. At LuHi, we just try to keep making strides as a program and we’ve had some big wins but on a stage like this against a city power, we just wanted our guys to show and prove that we can compete with anyone.”
Policelli, Etienne and Curbelo led L.I. Lutheran with 16 points apiece with Green and Kupsas adding 14-points and 12 points respectively. Anthony paced Molloy with a game-high 34 points but only 2 assists. Moore contributed 16 points while Brown only notched 7 points and 10 rebounds.
Cardinal Hayes Stuns Hudson Catholic, 57 – 55
On paper, the Cardinals appeared to have more than met their match. After all, the Hudson Catholic Hawks (NJ) are a nationally ranked team that tout three 5-star players in Jahvon Quinerly ‘18, Luther Muhammad ‘18 and Louis King ‘18 while Hayes only had two 3-star players in Joe Toussaint ’19 and Tyrese Williams ‘18. When it was all said and done, two of the Hawks multi-star players found themselves fouled out only able to clap it up from the bench. In addition, Hayes was without its only really big man 6’8” Adam Cisse ‘19 and back guard T.J. Reaves ‘18 both out with injury but Hayes still bested Hudson Catholic by leading in the only stat that’s not on paper – Hustle points.
“We knew they had talented players on the other end, so we tried to stop them, slow them down and make other people score and make sure we just rebounded and push,” said Williams.
Outrebounding the Hawks by committee early and often led to a quick lead for the Cardinals. That would be short lived as Quinerly stepped up his offensive game, scoring 12 first quarter points, giving Hudson Catholic a 7-point lead at the end of the warm-up quarter.
Williams, who scored a three-pointer at the top of every quarter, got hot from the perimeter as did 6'2" Michael Richardson '18. In the second quarter, the Cardinals surged with a 16 – 4 run and led 25 – 20 at the midway point of the game.
In the third quarter, Hayes got a lift from 5'11" Jalen Murray ‘20 along with buckets at the rim from Richardson. Muhammad began to become more aggressive on offense and closed the Hawks deficit to a mere two points with 1-minute raining in the quarter but big shots by Murray and Richardson kept Cardinal Hayes ahead by six-point heading into the final quarter.
The Hawks inched back to within two points midway through the fourth, but Williams drove to the hole and fouled out King with 3:51 left to play. While Hayes’ free-throw shooting was not stellar, the Hawks began to rack up fouls nonetheless.
Down by nine-points with 5:35 left in the hour-glass, a bleak forecast was beginning to present itself to Hudson Catholic. Quinerly, however, was not about to go out like that. The senior guard went on an offensive tirade and singlehandedly closed the gap to a point off and and-1 with 1:08. The Cardinals countered but Quinerly netted a clutch NBA range 3-ball with 8.3 seconds left to play to once again cut the Cardinals lead to one. Would Hudson Catholic be able to pull a rabbit out of its hat and pull of a come from behind win?
Hayes tried to milk the clock, forcing the Hawks to foul. Muhammed was the next Hudson Catholic star to foul out with under a minute. Although Hayes shot 50% down the stretch from the charity stripe, it was enough for the undermanned, undersized Hayes’ team to fall over the finish line first.
“We tried to get the ball out of [Quinerly's] hands,” said Williams regarding those final minutes of play. “He just made tough shots. He’s a great player and great players make great plays and that’s what he tried to do at the end, but we came up with the dub.”
Williams attributes the win to outhustling Hudson Catholic. “I think we just wanted it more. They came in thinking they had the chip on their shoulder and that they were the better team, but we showed that they’re not.”
Williams notched a double-double (16 points and 12 rebounds) for Hayes with Richardson adding 16 points and Murray, 11 points. Quinerly netted a game high 27 points with Muhammed adding 12 points. A key stats was that Hayes outrebounded the taller, longer Hudson Catholic team 38 – 36.
L.I. Lutheran will play Cardinal Hayes in the SNY Invitational championship on Saturday at 4 PM with Archbishop Molloy versus Hudson Catholic in the consolation game at 2 PM