NYCHoops - Iona Prep clips Xaverian in OT
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Iona Prep clips Xaverian in OT

R.J. Greene, Jr.
R.J. Greene, Jr.

The CHSAA is one of the most competitive high school leagues in the country. Yesterday featured a great matchup with Xaverian traveling to Iona Prep. While the game was a battle the Gaels overcame a 17-point deficit in the third quarter to eventually win in overtime. Here’s our recap.

When the game started the Gaels began applying pressure and forcing Xaverian into some tough shots. 6’5” SG R.J. Greene ‘22 was able to get going early with two easy buckets. The Clippers answered with a 3 from 6’8” SG Spencer Mahoney ‘23 who also was able to score again inside. Iona began to separate after some stops and few big shots from 6’5” F AJ Rodriguez ‘23 and found themselves up 14-8 after the 1st.

The second quarter was a different story as the Clippers got comfortable and started making a ton of shots. 6’1” SG Nico Pena ‘24 took over hitting multiple threes and scoring from all over the court. He had 10 of his 17 in the second and with the Gaels struggling to finish anything Xaverian took back the lead. The half time score was now 28-24 in favor of the Clippers.

Each program has talented coaching staffs, so we were anxious to see their halftime adjustments. The Gaels tried to get Greene going again but Xaverian threw multiple players at him slowing him down. Pena and Mahoney both were able to connect on threes and the team started drawing several fouls on Iona. While the Gaels fought back scoring and getting to the line a big run by Xaverian stretched the lead to 17. Greene scored and while Iona showed some life they still were down

46-35 after 3.

Rodriguez was able to finish a big bucket inside and then went 1/2 from the line. Greene is closing in 1,000 points, was recently named a 2022 McDonalds nominee started to take over the game. He was hitting jump shots, finishing in transition, and getting to the line proving why he’s one the most dangerous players in the league. Iona came clawing back and slowly started to chip away the lead. The Clippers got a few inside buckets from their bigs who played well in the second half. Xaverian tried to hold on, but Greene was just too much finishing with 12 in the quarter and getting the Gaels to over time.

Pena got a quick score then Mahoney who’s a terrific shooter went 1/4 from the free line allowing the Gaels to get some cushion. While Iona got two big baskets, they came up clutch converting 4/5 free throws to help seal the deal. Xaverian tried to respond but it was just too late as Iona won the game 67-63.

This was a great matchup featuring several talents prospects. Greene led all scorers with 19, Rodriguez had 13 and two other starters for Iona were in double digits. Pena who was impressive finished with 17 points and Mahoney added 15. These two clubs are feisty, smart and both capable of doing damage in the playoffs this year.