NYCHoops.net got its first look at the Tru-Ballaz Fall Classic at MS308 in the Bronx, NY and it did not disappoint. Tuesday's itinerary consisted of a single 'A' match-up between Cardinal Hayes and Archbishop Stepinac followed by a double 'A' clash between PSAL and CHSAA when Rice HS faced off against the Wings Basketball Club.
Cardinal Hayes Over Stepinac, 43-39
Cardinal Hayes found themselves on the butt end of 21-20 half time score. Stepinac seemed to be in a flow as Conroy Baltimore (12 points) and Tyler Faivore (7 points) scored inside.
As the second half began, Stepinac extended their lead to 7 points as Samir Khalil (2 points) and James Chillemi (12 points) weigh in offensively. With 43 seconds left in the third quarter, a Chillemi jumper put Cardinal Hayes in a 34-28 hole to start the fourth quarter.
Baltimore, who recently committed to Lehigh, kicked off the fourth quarter with a dunk and it appeared to be smooth sailing for Stepinac but with 3:32 left in the game, Hayes began to close the gap and pulled to within 5 points. Another basket by Jalen Jenkins (4 points) plus some pressure defense by Cardinal Hayes and with 2:08 left in the game, the score was suddenly 38-35.
Stepinac tried to recover but with a minute left to play, baskets by Fadal Yacoubou (11 points) and Amadou Sidibe (9 points) tied the game at 39 apiece and at the 21 second mark, Cardinal Hayes had taken the lead. Stepinac had a chance to tie the game but with 6.5 seconds left Chillemi took a bad shot. Even though Stepinac managed to snare the offensive rebound, a turnover with 4.8 seconds put the ball back in Cardinal Hayes hands. Forced to foul, Davon Sylvester (13 points) would go 2 for 2 from the foul line to give Cardinal Hayes the four point win as time ran out.
Rice beans Wings, 60-57
The second game of the evening had the feel of a classic PSAL vs. CHSAA rivalry with the Rice Raiders facing off against players from Wings Academy. Jumping out the box with a 5-zip run, 6'10" center Josh Gomez (9 points) and Emmanuel Andujar (10 points) were at the forefront as Rice pounced on Wings. The Raiders run would swell to 9 points before PG Deonte Houston (13 points) finally put two points on the board for Wings.
Recent L.I.U. commit, Gerrell Martin (12 points) started to add firepower as Wings began to creep up on the Catholic school from Manhattan, whose lead had diminished to 19-13 as Andre Chamber (4 points) scored a lay-up.
Cincinnati-bound Jermaine Sanders (15 points), who was active in the first quarter, only scored a trey in the second quarter but Rice would still manage to increase their lead to 12 points as the Raiders put down a balanced scoring attack. With 3:37 left in the half, Houston would begin to score in transition while Amby Falls (13 points) scored in the paint.
Still down 34-27 to start the third, Wings intensified their defensive presence causing two Raiders turnovers. Houston would cut the lead down to 5 points before Richard Council (14 points) stepped to extend the Raiders cushion. Wings kept coming and with 2 minutes, 17 seconds reduced a 7 point lead to one point down to a point as Yoshimar Bernardez (7 points) scored at the buzzer.
Wings' one-point deficit would be erased as Falls scored with 6:26 left to play. Rice would regain the lead as Rice had Kevin Perez (4 points) stick to Houston like glue. A tactic which seemed to unnerve the senior point guard somewhat. With 1:45, Rice managed to increase their lead to 4 points. Sanders free throws increase that lead to 6 points.
Down 55-49 with 56 seconds, Martin would suddenly get hot, draining back-to-back jumpers as Rice committed an offensive foul. Down a point with 13.3 seconds. Wings was forced to foul and hope but Sanders dash those hopes going 2 for 2, sealing the win.