Photo courtesy of News 12 Varsity.©
By David Cordova
Over the last few years, Cardinal Hayes has been one of the most underrated teams in the CHSAA. Just two years ago, on a team with Division I players such as Shavar Newkirk (St. Joseph’s University) and Mustafa Jones (Central Connecticut State), the Cardinals went 26-2 and would make a deep berth into the Catholic League playoffs.
Due to their stellar guard play, Hayes manages to make a lot of noise every year. So far coming into the game against White Plains at the Slam Dunk Tournament, they have reached a No. 1 ranking in New York City and were 9-0, with wins against tough teams in the CHSAA, such as Archbishop Stepinac, Bishop Loughlin and Monsignor Scanlan. This game would show that although the Cardinals have a lot of young talent and are prone to making mistakes, they are a team that could end up going very far down the stretch.
Cardinal Hayes 64, White Plains 57
In the beginning of the game, both teams went in attack mode. But White Plains struck first, taking the lead at 11-6 with over two minutes left in the first quarter. But Hayes still kept the game close & finished the first quarter trailing by one, 16-15.
As the second quarter began, Cardinal Hayes stepped up their play & started drawing fouls by going up strong to the basket. Their pressure defense got them the lead at the half, 27-23.
The third quarter started off well for Hayes as they moved the ball well & made shots. But White Plains was just as good defensively & offensively behind the efforts of junior forward Anthony Russo and senior forward Joe Zemon and trailed by six, 37-31, with 4:22 left.
Then the Cardinals behind the smart play of sophomore guards Joe Toussaint & Jalen Nesmith and junior forward Terry Dawkins brought them up fourteen, 47-33, with less than two minutes left in the quarter.
In the fourth, White Plains managed to make a comeback behind consecutive jumpers by freshman Eisaiah Murphy, as they cut their deficit to 49-40, with over seven minutes to go. Senior guard Glenn Butler, Jr. brought them as close as five, 53-48, with less than five minutes left.
Although Hayes was still in the lead, the Tigers still continued to fight and got to within three, 55-52, after two free throws by senior guard Michael Shuler.
But in the end, the Cardinals would continue to hold on & finish out the game with a win & remain undefeated.
Dawkins led the Cardinals with 21 points and Toussaint added 17 points and five assists. For White Plains, Murphy led with 17 points and Schuler added 12 points, 11 rebounds & seven assists in the loss.