Hayes In The Huddle
If there's one word to describe Bronx basketball, it would be intense! In the CHSAA, St. Raymond's and Cardinal Hayes are two of the Bronx's best teams. Currently head-to-head in the NY-AA rankings, Hayes being ranked #2 and Rays being ranked #3, this game was destined to be a great one.
Isaiah Washington (54 points)
Joe Toussaint (25 points) instantly set the tone of the game with a tough drive to the basket. Isaiah Washington (54 points) wouldn't allow the momentum to be on Hayes' side; he answered Joe with a three pointer of his own.
Tyrese Williams (20 points) of Cardinal Hayes quickly became involved in the action with an ankle-breaking crossover followed by a crowd-sparking three pointer. A turnover by the Ravens led to another basket by Joe Toussaint, giving Hayes the 11-3 lead early in the first quarter.
Omar Silverio (7 points) of St. Raymond's silenced the crowd and closed the lead with a deep three pointer. However, Cardinal Hayes just couldn't be stopped. Toussaint dimed Tyrese Williams for a quick three. Williams decided that wasn't enough and caught the Ravens with an effective shot-fake followed by ANOTHER three pointer!
Nevertheless, Isaiah Washington was unfazed by the action. He effectively got to the free throw line and closed the lead to 19-13. Washington then stole the inbound pass to throw down a pleasantly surprising one-handed dunk.
The game became a quiet battle between sophomore Joe Toussaint and senior Isaiah Washington. After a Toussaint three-pointer, Isaiah effectively crossed up multiple defenders for an easy basket. The battle continued with both Joe and Isaiah making great plays for their team. After the last bucket of the quarter, the senior kept his team within 4 points and made sure the crowd knew his feelings by yelling "THEY CAN'T GUARD ME!".
Lea8ue Alum Freshman Demarco Watson (5 points) tied the game for the Ravens with a tough putback layup. Like the first quarter, the second was headlined by Toussaint and Washington. They battled with efficient scoring moves on each other, and assists to get their teammates involved. After a bucket by Tyrese Williams, Hayes and Rays found themselves tied 42-42 to finish the half.
Joe Toussaint (25 points)
Coming out of the half, Tyrese Williams gave the Hayes fans yet another three-pointer. The shot was followed by a fastbreak layup by Joe Toussaint to give Hayes the 5 point lead.
However, as fans expected, Isaiah Washington wasn't having it. He responded to the run with a silky smooth stepback three. The battle with Joe came to life once again with both guards displaying their crafty scoring moves for a few possessions.
Tyrese Williams jumped back into action with another three-pointer. Toussaint followed with a flashy assist to force the Ravens to call a timeout in a 3 point deficit.
Coming out of the timeout, Jalen Nesmith (8 points) of Cardinal Hayes came alive. After an assist to Toussaint, Neismith proved to be a fan-favorite with a crowd-buzzing three pointer.
Darius Lee (15 points) of St. Raymond's began to do all of the dirty work for the Ravens and cut their deficit to 5 points. However, Hayes answered once again. Baskets by Jalen, Joe, and Mark Jackson (15 points) ended the quarter 66-59, in Hayes favor.
Mark Jackson came alive in the fourth quarter for Cardinal Hayes. Ten of his points came in the fourth, one of them being the first basket of the quarter. The layup was followed by a coast-to-coast Joe Toussaint dribble show for a no-look pass that had the crowd going wild. St. Raymond's was forced to call another timeout.
As fans expected, Isaiah Washington came out of the timeout with a vengeance. He managed to get to the line and get scrappy baskets multiple times throughout the quarter. Washington finished his run with a great assist to cut the Ravens deficit to only 4 points.
Nevertheless, as previously mentioned, Mark Jackson was huge for Hayes in the fourth quarter. His tough and-1 conversion put St. Raymond's in a 7 point deficit with only a few minutes left in the game. Nicolas Rivera (2 points), a good role player for St. Raymond's, got to the line and brought the deficit back to 5 points.
After a few tough sequences for both teams, Isaiah Washington knocked down two three pointers to cut the lead to 79-77, Hayes up. St. Raymond's had a problem when Tyrese Williams got involved in the shoot-out. He knocked down one more three that hurt the Ravens, they were down 5 once again.
Omar Silverio of St. Raymond's managed to get to the line but only made one free throw, his team was now down 4. The Ravens were forced to foul Joe Toussaint. He knocked down both free throws with 56 seconds left, 84-78.
Somehow, Isaiah Washington still managed to do magical things this game. With just over 40 seconds remaining, he banked a NBA-range three pointer with two defenders contesting the shot. However, when it was all said and done, the Ravens just couldn't make it happen this time. Cardinal Hayes took this battle of the Bronx, 91-83.
With playoff seeding approaching, the game was a much needed win for Cardinal Hayes. It'll be interesting to see if these teams match-up one more time with more on the line. If Dallas Watson is able to return to the Ravens lineup, things may get scary. There's only one way to find out, stay tuned!