BRONX, NY - If ever there were any doubts that Chris Robinson was high level player, it was erased on Friday. With the clock winding down and with two of Cardinal Hayes starters fouled out, the junior shooting guard came up big, scoring two clutch treys including one at the buzzer to give the Cardinals a 91-89 overtime win in the St. Raymond's gym.
The Ravens home crowd stood stunned as Cardinal Hayes fans stormed both their court and Robinson after he hit his 30th points of the evening for the win. With 4.3 seconds left in the first overtime, Robinson made a crossover to get some space and then calmly drained a jumper from just beyond the top of the key in the first overtime for the come from-behind victory.
There was only seconds left to play but Robinson said he knew he had enough time. "We practice that in the gym; getting the ball off with 8 seconds," he said. "Even though there was only [4.3 seconds] I made it anyway."
It seemed to be storybook ending. One watched on Television in slow motion with the appropriate superhero theme music. "What were our chances without Shavar [Newkirk] and Tyler [Wilson], down five with thirty seconds left and in St. Raymond's," asked an almost hoarse Cardinals head Coach Joe Lods rhetorically. "[Robinson] made big shot after big shot."
The game had the makings of a heavyweight fight from the very beginning as a packed Ravens gym was loud and filled to the brim with 'enthusiastic' fans. Hayes looked to silence the crowd quickly and pulled ahead early but thunderous dunks from Luis Santos (15 points) and Kayvon Williams (14 points) along with perimeter shots from Shawn Jones (21 points) kept St. Rays and their fans stoked.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Newkirk (17 points) and Wilson would attack the rim. As the warm up quarter closed out, Newkirk would drain a trey from the right of the key, pose while staring down his defender as the Cardinals took a 27-22 lead into the second quarter. It was clearly on now.
The Cardinals were dominating the boards as lefties Mustafa Jones (15 points) and Ramell Coleman crashed. That domination continued throughout second quarter. The resulting missed second chance shot opportunities would leave St. Ray's down 46-36 going into the locker room at intermission. Robinson was responsible for almost a third of Hayes first half points with 15 .
At the top of the second half, Hayes' lead grew to 12 but Ray's came in with energy , buoyed by their fired up home crowd. Santos protected the rim, as best he could with three fouls while point guard Jaquan McKennon (14 points), who had a shaky first half, came to life in the third quarter and kept his teammates pumped.
McKennon's aggressiveness on offense paid off as he got to the line and with 6:02 cut Hayes's lead to 5 points. Jones knocked down a three-ball from the corner at the end of three and the Ravens were back in it, only down by 3.
Tory Ferguson (15 points) took the lead in the fourth quarter as his driving basket and a McKennon free-throw gave the Ravens their first lead by one. Hayes countered and with 5:23 left in regulation, the Cardinals were back up 64-61 but Ray's aggressiveness began to show signs of wear and tear.
As McKennon and Ferguson continues to attack the rim Newkirk and Wilson eventually picked up their fifth fouls and soon found themselves as spectators.
Robinson kept Hayes out in front by two points with 55.9 seconds left in the forth but St. Ray's was breathing down their necks. McKennon drove down the lane with 9.1 seconds to tie the game at 75 and Hayes was unable to respond.
Energized, the Ravens took an early lead in overtime but the game was tied again at 80 with 2:08 left to play. Williams scored to put the Ravens up two with a 1:40 and Santos extended the lead to four points with 1:22 off a putback.
The momentum seemed to be swaying in the Ravens direction as time was running out but Robinson would come up big, first knocking down a three and then getting a steal and an assist that tied game at 88.
There were 4.3 ticks left on the clock and it appeared that Ferguson may have avoided a second overtime as he got fouled and was sent to the line for two free-throws. The junior would go 1 for 2 from the line leaving the Ravens ahead by 1.
During a time out, Coach Lods said that Robinson said "Gimme the ball." That's what they did and junior sharpshooter came through.
"I don't think there's any doubt that he's a division one player anymore, "said Coach Lods referring to the junior receiving his first division one offer. "He's a division one player, exclamation point."
Asked what he felt like during those clutch moments, Robinson responded, "I felt like Ray Allen."