Game Summaries & Headlines.
By Danny Torres ‘84
BRONX – After Sunday’s 15-point CHSAA “AA” playoff win against Mount Saint Michael at Fordham University, I asked a dear friend who has been following the Cardinals/Mountaineers basketball matchups for years why is it never easy to simply – “Beat the Mount?”
His response: “This [playoff] game was never in doubt. Mount never had a chance to win but they make you earn everything.”
Interesting take considering those sentiments were similarly echoed by Hayes’ assistant coach Tim Phips who gave this answer to my exact question via text:
“Mount slowed it down like they always do against us. If we didn’t miss layups and some other easy shots it wouldn’t have been 57-42.”
Although Hayes split their win-loss record with Mount during the regular season, the Cardinals (23-5) losing 64-61 at home to the Mountaineers (16-11) stung and I can remember how Iowa Commit and senior point guard Joe Toussaint '19 didn’t want to talk about it.
But, as with every playoff game, there is still a cause to be concerned and yet Hayes entered the game determined to win; not a dominating victory but suffice to say a ‘W’ at the conclusion of their CHSAA “AA” quarterfinals matchup.
You have to tip your cap to Mount Saint Michael.
Under the direction of their long time Head Coach, Tom Fraher who’s always screaming from the sidelines and making Hayes “work” for their wins knows every coach needs a star player. Mount point guard and Bryant Commit Mike Green '19 netted 21 points while shooting 90.0% (9-10) from the free throw line.
The game was a bit slow pace and considering Hayes was up at half-time 30-22, one would have thought Hayes would enter the second half and dominate.
If I were to tell you that at the conclusion of the third quarter both teams only scored 8 points respectively and Hayes would finally score their first basket at the 4:07 mark, you may have wondered how this game was going to end.
But in typical Hayes’ fashion (reminiscent of a Ali-Frazier heavyweight fight) the Cardinals “carried” the Mountaineers throughout the entire match (basketball game) and it was time for Hayes (Diocesan champions) to go for knockout.
How bout Joe Toussaint’s (9-9) shooting from the free throw line?
How bout a team-effort 40 rebounds throughout the entire game?
How bout with two minutes left in the game, Toussaint knew exactly where to find Shemani Fuller '20 for his customary (and I must say beautifully-executed) “alley oop” play to push the Cardinals ahead 50-42?
Finally, Toussaint’s familiar fast-break layup to finish the game with 15-points and advance the Cardinals to the next round. They will face Archbishop Stepinac H.S. (White Plains) in the semifinals at Fordham University.
It wasn’t a customary win for the Cardinals considering those in attendance wouldn’t see a Hayes’ player reach double-digits in points till a minute left in the third quarter (Jaylen Murray '21, 13 points).
But as the old adage goes…a win is a win.