Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Armstrong.
By David Cordova
Every year since 2008, the SNY Invitational has been one of the premier high school events in the New York Metropolitan area. Four teams play in two days on the campus of City College of New York, located in Harlem, to prove who’s the best team in the area. It is one of the best showcases during the season and gives fans of these respective schools a chance to see their teams from the glare of the SNY cameras.
This year’s quartet featured teams such as St. Raymond (Bronx, NY, CHSAA), St. Anthony (Jersey City, NJ), Christ the King (Middle Village, NY, CHSAA) and Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, NY) as the teams would show that they had what it took to play under the spotlight. But only two teams would end up in the championship game tomorrow at 4 PM, and the other two teams were to play in the consolation game at 2 PM.
Both of these matchups were close games, but brought out a great atmosphere and a lot of excitement. But which teams would end up going the distance?
St. Raymond 64, St. Anthony 63
In the beginning of the game, the Ravens had full control of the game, as they led by six, 19-13, with 4:04 left in the second quarter. But the Friars would stay in the game due to the three-point shooting of sophomore Alex Rice, as they only trailed by three, 27-24, with 39.7 seconds left in the first half. Then St. Raymond junior Anthony Monti hit a three-pointer with 9.7 seconds left to give them a six-point lead, 30-24, which was the score they would lead by at the half.
The third quarter started off the same as St. Raymond’s held a four-point lead, 37-33, with 4:52 to go, after a three-pointer by senior guard and University of Minnesota commit Isaiah Washington. Then senior guard and Howard University commit R.J. Cole would hit a three-pointer for St. Anthony’s with 4:30 to go to cut the deficit to one, 37-36.
But the Friars would get a couple of three-pointers and a layup from Rice and Cole, which would give them a six-point lead, 49-43, with 1:28 to go in the quarter. The Ravens would not go down so fast, as they got a couple of baskets by juniors Nicolas Rivera and Darius Lee, but the quarter would end on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by St. Anthony junior Ithiel Horton, as they led, 52-47.
The fourth quarter ended up being the time when it was survival of the fittest for both teams. No possession was taken for granted, and both teams had to hustle and fight to get a basket. St. Anthony led by six, 58-52, with 3:45 left in the game.
But then Lee converted a three-point play with 2:22 left to tie the score for St. Raymond at 58-58. Lee then helped them take over the game with a layup with 1:44 to go, as they led, 60-58.
Cole then hit a jumper with 1:11 left to retie the score at 60-60, but then with 46 seconds left, Rivera then hit a floater to bring the Ravens up two, 62-60. The Friars tried to make their move, but couldn’t get off a shot as the shot clock expired with six seconds left.
Washington would then hit two free-throws to seal the deal. Junior Brandon Redendo would then hit the three-pointer for the Friars as time expired, but it would not be enough as the Ravens would advance to the championship game of the SNY Invitational.
Washington led St. Raymond with 21 points and Lee added 18 points and nine rebounds. For St. Anthony, Cole added 17 points and junior Nigel Marshall added 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
Christ the King 60, Mount Vernon 55
The start of the game was close for both teams, but the game was kept close throughout the first quarter. But Mount Vernon started to attack heavily on the boards and capitalized on that early, leading 12-10, with 2:02 to go in the first quarter. The Knights finished the quarter ahead by five, 18-13.
As the second quarter went ahead, the Knights asserted their dominance in the low-post with the strong play of seniors Greg Calixte and Noah Morgan, as they led by nine, 22-13 in the early parts of the quarter.
But Christ the King would fight back, trailing by four, 24-20, with 4:13 to go. Then junior Tyson Walker made a layup with 2:15 to go to cut the deficit to one, 26-25. Sophomore Phillips Joseph would then help the Royals gain the lead with a three-pointer, and they led, 28-26, with 1:37 to go, and then sophomore Jaylen Davis would make a layup to bring them ahead by four, 30-26, with 1:09 left. They would then finish the first half, leading by nine, 35-26.
The Royals offensive terror continued in the third quarter, as they led by as much as ten, 41-31, with 4:54 to go in the third. But Morgan would help the Knights get as close as 41-37, with 3:18 left in the third. But Christ the King would continue to attack, leading by seven, 49-42, at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter then continued on with Christ the King still in the lead, but Walker then put them up thirteen, with 3:50 left in the game, leading 57-44. Mount Vernon would then go on a run, cutting their deficit to four, 57-53, after a layup by Demetre Roberts with 1:27 to go in the game.
But the free throw shooting by sophomore Kofi Cockburn and senior guard and Georgia Tech commit Jose Alvarado would help put the game away for the Royals as they advanced to the championship game against St. Raymond.
Walker led Christ the King with 17 points and seven assists, Davis added 11 points and Cockburn added 10 points and nine rebounds. For Mount Vernon, Morgan led with 15 points and seven rebounds and Calixte added 14 points and six rebounds in the loss.