By Dylan Butler
The young St. Raymond’s basketball team has enjoyed some solid non-league wins early in the season, but just how good were the Ravens? Sunday’s league clash against defending CHSAA Class AA intersectional champion Rice was considered a bit of a litmus test, even after St. Ray’s suffered an 83-48 loss at home.
“Now we know how much work we have to do because that’s the top team in our league,” St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua said. “If we want to talk about being good, we’ve got to look at all the things they did well and work on those things.”
The Raiders, No. 1 in the Post weekly New York City boys basketball rankings, flexed their muscles, displayed their depth and cruised to a shockingly lopsided victory.
And they did it without Shane Southwell, the Raiders’ Kansas State-bound senior point guard who sat out the first of a two-game suspension for being ejected in a non-league game last weekend.
“In the first half we played strong, although we could have been more intense,” St. Ray’s senior guard Jattone Pierce-Bias said. “But in the second half we came out sluggish and that’s when the game went away.”
The Ravens squandered an opportunity to slice into their deficit early in the second quarter, missing four consecutive free throws. Jermaine Sanders, though, wouldn’t miss. He buried a 3-pointer and scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half as Rice led 40-28 at the half.
“That was our chance to keep it close,” Antigua said. “Then it was just tough, an uphill battle, especially when no one is making shots for us, no one is hot. It was just a frustrating night.”
The Ravens wanted to get out and score in transition, since Rice is so stingy defensively in the halfcourt, but even that plan went array.
“They chased us down,” Antigua said.
Led by Kadeem Jack (19 points, eight blocks), Rice opened the game up in the third quarter, going on a devastating 23-4 run and led by 30 heading into the fourth quarter.
“They’re in your face 24/7, all four quarters they’re in your face,” Pierce-Bias said. “Hopefully next time we play them it’s going to be a good game.”
St. Ray’s, which was led by Daniel Dingle’s 13 points and 10 from Kerwin Okoro, have little time to lament the loss. The Ravens return to the court Tuesday, hosting Holy Cross.
“We’re going to put this behind us and get ready for Holy Cross,” Antigua said. “We’re just going to go hard in practice tomorrow.”
©2010 Community News Group