UNIONDALE, NY - If Cardinal Hayes HS ever wants to step up their track and field program a notch, they should ask Head Coach Joe Lods to borrow Tyler Wilson.
"Tyler is a city guard, plain and simple," Coach Lods said after Hayes traveled to Uniondale HS for the Upstate-Downstate challenge and spackled Long Island's #1 ranked team, Long Island Lutheran, 70-52. "He makes his free throws and pressures the ball."
And he makes the Road Runner look like a snail in molasses. All of the above spelled a game high 25 points for Wilson and solid win for the Cardinals. The combination of Hayes' mach speed guards and athletic big men proved too much for LuHi, who made the game a great one early, but were outscored 36-24 in the second half after being down six points at halftime.
In the early moments of play, the marquee match-up of the weekend appeared to live up to its billing. Three ties and seven lead changes painted an accurate portrait of what the first quarter was like, as Hayes' speedy back court of Wilson, Shavar Newkirk (9 points), and Naasir Williams (8 points) got the Cardinals cooking in transition while LuHi's 6'9" junior forward, Kentan Facey, made a statement in the paint.
That storyline would continue into the second period; Facey's hard work on the boards and a burst of hot three point shooting from Brandon Alford kept LuHi in close range, but they weren't enough to overcome the quick hands of the Hayes guards. Costly turnovers from the Crusaders caused the gap to widen, and Coach Lods figured the combination of speed, limiting Facey (he scored only two of his nine points in the second half), and keeping LuHi guessing from the perimeter would be enough to pull away. He was correct.
"What we really wanted to do in the second half was keep defending and let them beat us making jump shots," he divulged. "When they did get to the rim, they missed some shots."
LuHi's K.J. Lee did his best to carry the Crusaders on his back, with moderate success. Although he scored 12 of his team high 17 points in the second half (one of which was a three pointer that cut the deficit to seven points), LuHi never managed to make it a two possession game. Contributions from junior guard, Anthony Pate (9 points), and senior big man, Ryan DiNicola, sparked the LuHi contingent as well. But with 6'8" senior forward, Amadou Sidibe (18 points), taking over the paint and boards for Hayes in the second half, his contributions and Wilson's Indy 500 assault (and free throw shooting prowess in the hack-a-Cardinal phase of the game) were too much to handle.
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