BRONX, NY - Rematches have always captured our attention. Ali versus Frazier, NE Patriots versus the NY Giants, Miami Heat versus Dallas Mavericks and now the St. Raymond Ravens versus Cardinal Hayes.
During the regular season, Hayes sweep St. Ray's but in the NY playoffs the Ravens got payback when it really counted. On Sunday, both teams were one game away from an exciting CHSAA semifinal playoff rematch. All they had to do is win their respective quarterfinal games.
Cardinals Eat Loins, 80-59
Cardinals Hayes is on a mission and according to their center, Amadou Sidibe have a lot of past games as motivators. In the third CHSAA quarterfinal game, the Cardinals seemed to unleash those motivators onto a young Bishop Lions squad with a 21 point smacking.
Sidibe (21 points) immediately displayed his dominance in the paint against an undersized Bishop Loughlin squad, giving Hayes an early lead. A Jalen Jenkins' (19 points) lay-up in transition off a Loughlin air ball and the Cardinals we now up 6-2.
Unable to get inside Haye's zone, Loughlin head coach Ed Gonzalez called a timeout with 4:38 to make some adjustments. Down by four, Khadeen Carrington (19 points) would draw a foul cutting the Cardinals lead to two with 4:06. Michael Williams would tie the game at 8 and again at 10.
Loughlin would briefly take the lead as the pace slowed down but Sidibe scored late to tie the game at 12 to start the second quarter.
Sidibe scored again inside once again giving the Cardinals an early lead. The Lions tried to push the pace but were stymied by Haye's size and with 5:57 left in the half found themselves down, 18-13 as Jenkins scored in the paint.
The Cardinals had put together a 10-3 run since the top of the second and led 22-15 with 3:51 but a 5-2 counter topped off by a Michael Williams (14 points) trey pulled the Lions back to within 4 points of the lead.
Baskets by Fadil Yacoubou (4 points) would give Cardinal Hayes a double lead with 1:58. Shavar Newkirk (12 points) and Naasir Williams (10 points) would hold serve while defensive stops by Chris Robinson and Tyler Wilson (12 points) extended their lead to 11 points to close out the half.
The Lions, who were down, 36-25, to start the third were soon down 15 as the Cardinal resumed their attack. Carrington and M. Williams looked to ratchet up the intensity but Sidibe could not be contained in the post. Newkirk and Jenkins would continually slash to the rim, pushing the lead back to 18 with 3:19 left in the quarter.
Elisha Boone (11 points) and M. Williams would help pull the Lions to within 12 with a minute remaining in the third but a trey by Jenkins would close out the quarter with Hayes still ahead, 54-39.
The top of the fourth quarter was all about Hayes in transition as the Lions searched for answers. A strong move to the hole by Newkirk and an offensive foul on Loughlin led to a floater by Jenkins and a put back by Sidibe that kicked Hayes lead to 19 with 5:07 left to play.
With 3 minutes left to play the game was well in hand as the Cardinals advanced.
St. Ray's swallows All Hallows, 70-54
The Gaels breakout with an 8-1 run before Nkereuwem Okoro (14 points) scored inside for St. Raymond with 3:30 left in the opening quarter. The Raven would slowly climb back into the game, capitalizing on their size advantage. PG Akil Andrews would tie the game at 8 with 1:20 but All Hallows regained the lead as Jon Brens (11 points) scored.
With 39.4 seconds, Daniel Dingle (27 points) would make his presence felt with an and-1 to put the Raven up by one. Angling for the final shot, the Gaels would miss and start the second quarter behind, 11-10.
The Gaels would regain the lead early as 5'9" Davon Robinson (15 points) somehow won the battle of the boards and scored.
Raz Council (14 points) would extend the lead to three before Dingle would score with 5 minutes left in the half.
3-balls from the corner pockets by Michael Howard (3 points)and Council would hush the crowd as the Ravens were down 22-15 with 3:40 left in the quarter.
After a timeout by St. Ray's head coach Oliver Antiqua, the Ravens trapped and Gaels head coach John Carey counters with his own time out to strategize. The result was another field goal by All Hallows who still remained ahead by 6.
Dingle began to do work inside and with 2:13 left Lorenzo Rojas (5 points) gave the Ravens a 25-24 lead but Robinson put the Gaels back on top with a drive to the hoop. Okoro countered and with 1 minute until halftime the game was tied at 27.
The Ravens went coast to coast and got to the hoop to score and after a defensive stop, Dingle drained a three to end the quarter with a 5-0 run.
All hallows was only down 32-27 to start the third but could not afford to get into a much deeper hole. Ethan Hamlet (11 points) with a nice drives to the bucket and the Gaels were within three but Okoro and Shane Rector (12 points) countered. The Ravens lead was now 6 with 5:56 remaining in the third. Robinson would come up big with a high arcing trey.
Rays would maintain a six point lead until Rector drove to the hole to increase their lead to eight. Busy bees on defense, Gaels made life difficult for the ravens. Difficult but not impossible. Ray Pender would get to the line and with 1:04 the Ravens lead was now 11.
As the fourth quarter began, All Hallows was now down 12 as Dingle scored inside with 6:45. Larry Graves (6 points) followed that up with two free-throws and the game was slowly slipping away from the Gaels.
With 2:33, Brens drained a NBA range 3-ball and suddenly the Ravens lead was only eight. A Ravens missed almost resulted in a Gaels possession but Okoro got a momentum stopping putback that pushed the lead back to ten.
Dingle would score again with 1:07 and after a Gaels turnover, Graves hit free-throws with 56.7. The Gaels were in an insurmountable 14 point hole with a few ticks remaining. Coach Carey began to sub out as time expired.
St. Raymond will face Cardinal Hayes in the CHSAA semifinals on Thursday at St. John's University.
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