February 1, 2008

LuHi Blows Out All Hallows

It was business as usual for Long Island Lutheran on Thursday night as the Crusaders raced to their 10th straight victory in a 91-61 rout over a depleted All Hallows squad in the Bronx.

LuHi came out with guns blazing, as senior guards Matt Rooney and Jeriel Henriquez combined for six of the Crusaders absurd seven three-pointers in the first period alone. All Hallows' sharp early shooting kept it close for the first half of the period, but they faded quickly and dug themselves a 29-18 deficit that would only increase steadily throughout the game.

LuHi took full advantage of an All Hallows team that suited only seven players, running when they could and abusing the Gaels defense by efficiently knocking down open shots all night. Junior point guard Kevin Johnson looked particularly good running the show for LuHi, spreading the ball around with ease and playing stout defense, which led to multiple steals.

The Crusaders took a 49-31 halftime lead into the locker room and never looked back. Johnson put on a clinic in the third period, scoring 12 of his game high 26 points. The Gaels could never really penetrate LuHi's man defense and went cold from outside, as the lead would balloon to 29 heading into the fourth. All Hallows guard Rashawn Stores led the Gaels with 15 points.

With the lead hovering around 25 for most of the last period, LuHi head coach Brian Carey would opt to rest his starters and give the second team some minutes. Coach Carey pointed out that his team has been trying to get their legs back under them, as they have had to play three games in the last week without being able to practice due to mid terms.

Henriquez was effective both inside and out, scoring 18 points while driving the lane hard when there was an opening and consistently hitting his outside jumper. The senior got plenty of help from the rest of the backcourt, though, which is where the Crusader's strength lies. Carey noted that size is the one thing that the Crusaders can't claim, rarely playing two "bigs" together. He is pleased with how his team is coming together, though, and says that defense is essential to their success against some tough upcoming match-ups, including a big game Saturday against NYCHoops #6 ranked Mount Vernon with Kevin Jones.

"We don't have a lot of knuckle-headed players on our team," said Carey. "Our guys are pretty unselfish. All our kids shoot the ball pretty well. We really just need to guard the ball well. Put that together and we should be all right."

If they continue to play like the best team in Long Island, then they should be more than all right.

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