FRESH MEADOWS, NY - Thursday's CHSAA Intersectional match-ups packed two unexpected surprises both on and off the court.
NYCHoops.net was on hand to check out second round games. Xaverian faced off against All Hallows followed by Christ the King versus Archbishop Stepinac.
All Hallows shocks Xaverian, 52-49
The Gaels of All Hallows say they've learn from the past when they faced the Xaverian Clippers once again. Even though the Clippers when on a first quarter 3-point tirade led by Brian Bernardi, Dillon Burns and Raven Owens, the Gaels stood fast.
"We knew we could beat them," said Hector Ortiz. "We kept believing in ourselves."
Running down the clock on each possession, All Hallows slowed the game down and incrementally turned a 5 point first quarter deficit into a 22 point tie at the half.
The game remained close throughout the second half as both team defended by utilizing a zone. A strong third quarter by 6'0" junior Ethan Hamlet kept the Gaels within range going into the fourth.
An and-1 by Hamlet would finally put All Hallow ahead 47-44 with 2:48. The Clippers would pull to within a point but an acrobatic up n' under move by Ortiz would once again push the Gaels ahead.
With a minute remaining, Bernardi would quickly erase the Gaels lead with a trey but a solid finish by Ortiz at the foul line and a missed jumper by Burns at the buzzer would secure the win.
"We attacked their zone and were more aggressive then the last time," said Hamlet.
Davon Robinson was the high scorer for All Hallows with 17 points with Hamlet adding 15 points. Bernardi led the Clippers with 15 point followed by Burns with 10 points.
Christ the King steps over Stepinac, 77-53
Other than the first moments of the game when Josh James gave the Stepinac Crusaders a one point lead, it was Christ the King all night long.
Opening up a 14 point lead to start the fourth quarter, the CTK Royals led 38-22 at the half. With the Stepinac Crusaders unable to deal with the Royals use of a zone coupled with a press, the game became a rout early in the third quarter. Omar Calhoun punctuated things with a beautiful reversed dunk in transition on a Crusaders head.
Calhoun led the Royals with 29 points with 6'9 sophomore Adonis Dela Rosa and Jordan Fuchs contributing 10 points apiece. Archbishop Stepinac was paced by James with 17 points with DeVeino McRae adding 10 points.
Royals head Coach Joe Arbitello said that he thought that Stepinac is usually a much better team than they displayed. "Maybe it was their first time playing in the double 'A' playoffs -- They were playing Christ the King and were a little shell shocked," he said.
The only surprise in this game was the absence of one of Christ the King's starting guard, Isaiah Lewis who was MIA from both the team and the gym.
As to why, Lewis did not play, Coach Arbitello said, "It's a coach's decision." While Arbitello did say that Lewis also happened to be sick he clarified that Lewis's absence from the game had nothing to do with the coincidental sickness. "He wasn't gonna play," he said.
When asked specifically what happened, Arbitello said "It's between the player and the coach."
Arbitello did say that as of now, Lewis is still on the team as the Royals advance to play Mt. Saint Michael in the next round but added that Lewis should be with the team but will not play. Coach Arbitello did not rule out the possibility of Lewis rejoining the team at some point during the playoffs should the Royals advance past Mount. "There's a shot of it," said Arbitello. "But that's a coach's decision," he added.
Quarterfinals: Sunday March 4th
Molloy vs. Holy Cross 1:00pm @ Fordham University
Hayes vs. Loughlin 4:15pm @ Fordham University
Christ the King vs. Mount 2:45pm @ Fordham University
All Hallows vs. St. Raymond 6:00pm @ Fordham University