By Danny Torres ‘84
FRESH MEADOWS – Inside the St. Francis Prep gymnasium and sitting in the last row of the bleachers (I needed to lean against the concrete wall for my chronic back pains), I turned to my dear friend and Bronx native Joey “SuperFan” Mercado who is a familiar presence at every Hayes’ game and asked him why is the halftime score 29-29?
Keep in mind: In the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens “AA” division, St. Francis Prep (9-11, 2-10) has only won two games and their overall record is under .500.
Why do the Cardinals continue to play better basketball in the second half?
As simple as it sounded, Mercado paused and had this to say:
“They play to their level of competition.”
In other words, teams with lesser talent, Cardinal Hayes (17-4, 13-3) allows these teams to hang around and make for an interesting matchup. But again, let’s not forget this exact team loss to Mount St. Michael 64-61 and then a few days later beat the once-undefeated Bishop Loughlin 61-56.
Although St. Francis Prep would literally go “three-pointer crazy” against the Cardinals, the fourth quarter proved to be a game-changer for Hayes.
Senior point guard Joe Toussaint ‘19 scored 19 points and was also quite acrobatic with his rebounding while Julien Sourmaro '20 dropped a much-needed three-pointer that pushed the Cardinals ahead 56-51 with less than four minutes in the game.
But it was the combined effort of Adam Cisse ‘19 and Jalen Murray ’21 who sealed this victory for Coach Lods with crucial free throws down the stretch and less than 2 minutes in the game.
SENIOR NIGHT FOR THE CARDINALS – This Saturday at 7:00pm, the seniors on the Hayes’ Varsity basketball team will play in their final 2018-2019 regular-season home game against Nazareth Academy.