NEW YORK, NY - On Monday, New Heights kicked off the new year with a Holiday Hoops Festival at the Harlem PSAL.
NYCHoops.net was on hand to catch two of the events marquee match-ups between Wadleigh and Xaverian followed by Bishop Ford and Cardinal Hayes.
Xaverian escapes Wadleigh, 57-53
Both teams came out pumped and the competition was neck and neck in the first quarter with the Xaverian Clippers ahead of the Wadleigh Tigers by two points. To start the second quarter, senior Anthonnell Ramos (5 points) drilled a trey to give the Tigers a 17-16 lead early.
Wadleigh would keep the pressure on as Louis Costen (17 points) and Ronnie Howard (7 points) provided the majority of their offense. Even Dillon Burn's 18 first half point would not be enough to regain the lead for Xaverian.
Down 33-28 to start the thirds quarter, a 7-0 run by the Clippers would finally regain the lead for Xaverian who would start the fourth quarter up 46-43.
Shakeel Kemp (12 points) would extend the Clippers lead to five points with 6:40 left to play. Turnovers by Xaverian and baskets by Basil Harley (4 points) would pull Wadleigh to within 2 points.
With under a minute left to play, Wadleigh had a chance to tie or take the lead when Brian Bernardi (8 points) missed a jumper but the Clippers managed to grab the offensive rebound with 16.7 on the clock and the Tigers were forced to foul. Burns, who was the game's MVP with 28 points was solid from the line and time ran out.
Hayes Stalls Ford, 51-39
The Bishop Ford Falcon's came out intent on making a statement as Daquain Yougblood (10 points) drained a three-ball. Cardinals head coach Joe Lods immediately called a time out to gets his team's minds right.
"We played like crap," said Lods. "We had to get the rust off. We didn't practice on Saturday or Sunday."
Coming out the time out somewhat re-focused, Jalen Jenkins (4 points) scored to spark a 6-0 Hayes run to take the lead. The momentum booster was short lived as Joshua Blagrove (11 points) netted a jumper to close the game for Ford.
The Falcons would regain the lead again but a basket by Chris Johnson (6 points) and a free-throw by Naasir Williams would give Cardinal Hayes an 11-10 first quarter lead.
Inside play from Jenkins and teammate Amadou Sidibe (4 points) would keep the Cardinals ahead by as many as five points. Strong play by Blagrove reduced the lead to two as the first half ended.
Bishop Ford had first crack in the third quarter but baskets by Tyler Wilson (9 points), 3-balls by Wilson and transition points by Shavar Newkirk (6 points) would expand the Cardinal Hayes lead to 37-27 at the end of three quarters.
Midway through the final quarter, Bishop Ford made a run as Youngblood cut the Hayes lead to 6 points but with Williams red hot from the perimeter, the Cardinals would push their advantage back to 12 points.
With St. John's head coach Steve Lavin on-hand to check out the Hayes backcourt, they did not disappoint. Especially Williams who captured the MVP with 19 points.
The Cardinals have an important game against NYCHoops.net #10 ranked Mt. Saint Michael. With a scout from Tuesday's opponent in the building asked if he were concerned with his team's play on Monday, Coach Lods responded, "Moderately concerned. Maybe they're moderately concerned too."
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