Clive Allen willed his team back into the game, but Hayes couldn’t fully capitalize.
The senior guard scored the final five-points of the third quarter to get the Cardinals within nine of Christ the King and his three-point play put them down just seven early in the fourth. Three straight empty possessions followed, including two three-pointers that nearly went down, and Hayes never got closer.
“It was just one of those games where we couldn’t get over the hump,” Cardinals coach Joe Lods said.
Christ the King, the three-time defending CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball champions, finally responded to lockup an 81-67 victory in the Bronx on Dec. 11. Allen finished with a game-high 25 points, including four threes and Baron Goodridge chipped in 14 points.
The defeat has a young Hayes team off to a 2-2 start. The Cardinals have two freshmen in Joe Toussaint and Adam Cisse and sophomores Victor Montenegro and Tyrese Williams all playing significant minutes. The team understands there will be some growing pains early that could lead to success late.
“It’s the beginning of the season,” Allen said. “We still got younger guys. We are going to be that team that will shock [people].”
Hayes used five first-half three pointers to build a 31-26 lead with 4:32 to play in the second quarter. The jumpers then ran cold and Hayes wasn’t aggressive enough at the rim or on the boards. Christ the King (1-1) rattled off an 18-2 run over the second and third quarters to take a 44-34 lead with 6:14 to go in the frame. CK made eight of its nine 3-pointers in the first half.
Lods doesn’t question his team’s skill, but would like to see more grit to help its overcome its youth. He wants them take more charges, rebound better and make a few more hustle plays.
“I don’t think we can play 32 minutes of basketball and not take a charge,” Lods said. “I don’t think we can play 32 minutes of basketball and not dive for a loose ball and expect to win.”
Allen took it on himself to try to close the gap. His trey with seconds to play in the third made it 63-54 and Hayes got within 64-57 with 6:02 to go in the game.
“I was just trying to get my team back into the game as a leader,” Allen said.
CK point guard Jose Alvarado (17 points) made big shots down the stretch and got his teammates involved to help his club leave with the win. Jared Rivers also had 17 points.
The defeat counties an uneven start Hayes, that includes a one-point loss to PSAL power Thomas Jefferson.
“It just a matter of how fast we can come along,” Lods said. “Against Jefferson I thought I was speeding up the process. Tonight I think we regressed a little bit.”