Photo courtesy of HS Box Scores, NYC.
By David Cordova
This season in the Catholic High School Athletic Association, or the CHSAA, as it is commonly referred to, there has been a great level of competition in its “AA” division, as it resembles collegiate conference-level style of play in that on any given day, any team can be defeated.
Archbishop Stepinac has made a miraculous turnaround from last season after losing players such as Jordan Tucker and Aundre Hyatt, both blue-chip prospects, to transfers. The Crusaders were 15-7 overall and in first place in the Bronx/Westchester “AA” division with an 11-4 record in the league coming into yesterday’s game.. This year, they have had big wins against teams such as St. Frances Academy of Baltimore and Long Island Lutheran of Brookville, NY and also in the CHSAA with victories over Archbishop Molloy, St. Raymond (twice) and Iona Prep (twice).
Monsignor Scanlan, a new addition into the “AA” after dominating in the “B” and “A” divisions in the last few seasons, has had a rough introduction into the highest level of CHSAA play, with a 7-15 overall record and a 6-9 record coming into yesterday’s game.
Both teams faced off against each other for the first time on January 20th in White Plains, as Stepinac had came out with a nine-point victory, 79-70, on their home court. The rematch would be as competitive as the first matchup. But this time around, there would be a different end result.
Monsignor Scanlan 60, Archbishop Stepinac 55
The first quarter started out with Stepinac getting to the basket efficiently, as they got out to a 10-4 lead, with more than five minutes to go. Scanlan would get to within two, 10-8, with more than three minutes to go, but the Crusaders would build their lead up to eight, 18-10, at the end of the quarter.
As the second quarter went on, both teams played like it was a chess match, picking out the right spots for shots. But then Stepinac would step it up a notch, taking a 28-19 lead with 4:32 to go in the first half. Their play, coupled with Scanlan’s inability to box out and make efficient shots, would result in Stepinac leading 36-25, at halftime.
The game got more physical in the third quarter, as both teams fought hard for possession of the ball. Although Stepinac still led by five, 43-38, with 2:30 left, Scanlan started to raise their intensity by utilizing their post men for rebounds & also taking better shots, which resulted in them getting to within three, 43-40, with 1:47 to go.
Scanlan stared out tough in the fourth quarter, which led to them leading by three, 48-45, with 6:58 left. Stepinac began to unravel as their counterparts gained a momentum that they could not stop. No. 15 made a layup with 2:02 remaining to bring Scanlan up six, 56-50. Stepinac got as close 58-55 in the last few seconds, but two free throws late sealed the deal for Scanlan.
Junior forward Victor Potter led Scanlan with 14 points and 10 rebounds and senior guard Saquan Singleton added 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists. For Stepinac, sophomore forward Eduardo Minaya led with 13 points and junior guard Jorden Means had 12 points in the loss.