Joe Lods could have taken that easy way out and blame his Cardinal Hayes team’s lack luster performance against Christ the King on its obvious youth and inexperience. That however won’t help this group move past it.
“That sounds like a good excuse,” the Cardinals Hayes coach said.
Three first half fouls on star point guard Clive Allen handcuffed Hayes offensively, When no one consistently picked up the slack, host Christ the King build an early lead it would never relinquish in a 64-46 victory in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball Friday night. The Cardinals scored 16 points in the first half and watched Allen pick up a fourth foul when being called for a clear charge early in the third quarter.
“My message to the guys is always the same,” Lods said. “It’s not about youth, inexperience. All that is coaches talking trying to save their jobs. We just need to play. We have to play harder than that”
The Cardinals (3-3) were out of sorts early and struggled shooting from the outside. Nationally ranked Christ the King used its speed advantage to turn Hayes misses into transition points. The Royals went on a 12-0 run to grab a 16-4 lead late in the first quarter. Hayes trailed just 27-16 at the half, but a 10-3 third quarter spurt gave CK it’s biggest lead at 44–22 with 1:44 to go in the frame. Allen’s absence had a biggest affect on the Cardinals player.
“It took us completely out of rhythm,” Hayes forward Chris Middleton said. “He’s usually the heart of our offense. Without him in there some one had to step up, but unfortunately was had a hard time.”
Middle and Allen each scored nine points apiece for Hayes. Ramello Rashad added eight. Sophomore point guard Jose Alvarado paced CK (5-0) with 18 points and Rawle Alkins chipped in 15.
While Lods expects more from this group, he understands it is going to be a procees. The goal is to be hitting its stride in February and March when the games begin to matter most. His team is still learning, still finding its identity after graduating a large group of talented seniors. Who will be the players to lead this year’s group is still to be decided.
“Last year a lot of use didn’t play,” Middleton said. “We only played eight players. This year everyone is getting an opportunity. Whoever plays well. That’s going to be the guys who play the whole game”