It had to go in. It just had to.
That was what every person on the Cardinal Hayes bench was thinking – for so many reasons – at the buzzer as Pedro Marquez’s off-balance shot went up from the right side near half court.
A make from 35-feet would gave the Cardinals the Archdiocesan division title they felt they deserved and well they have all seen Marquez hit that shot before. He always makes them.
“We always play around at the end of practice, we are always throwing up shots. Pedro is always the one that is always making them,” senior guard Clive Allen said. “It was just like, when it left his hand, I just knew it wad going to drop.”
Marquez’s shot did hit nothing but net to give Cardinal Hayes a thrilling 61-58 over the host Ravens in CHSAA Class AA boy’s basketball on Feb. 12. It gives his team the top seed and a bye in the upcoming diocesan tournament.
With 1.5 second left on the clock, Marquez caught a long inbounds pass from Ishmael Massoud, ducked to his right under St. Ray’s Isaiah Washington and let it go. When it went through he was mobbed by his teammates and Hayes fans rushing the court.
““I just dropped back and I knew it wasn’t going in,” said Marquez, who hit five threes against Mount St. Michael on Feb. 9. I had to step through because Isaiah went under me,” “I had to step through to get the shot off.”
The shot was reminiscent of runner over half court hit by Chris Robinson in 2013 to give Hayes a road win over St. Ray’s at the final horn. It was all Hayes coach Joe Lods and Ravens headman Jorge Lopez could think about in the final seconds.
“It seems like Hayes has that shot down pat,” said Lopez, still in the process of shaking off the disbelief. “Chris Robinson hit the same shot a few years back. Chris Robinson all over again,”
It was his team that looked like it was going to rally for a win after three quarters of poor shooting. Washington scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half. He found Sidney Wilson (18 points) with an inbound pass for an ally-oop that tied the score at 58-58 with 15.9 seconds left.
Wilson stole the inbound pass to half court and fed Washington, but he missed a short jumper. Hayes got the rebound and Allen had the ball stripped away from him under the hoop in transition to set up the final shot.
Hayes was in position to win thank to the play of it bench. Massoud, a sophomore, had a personal 10-0 run over the first and second quarters Massoud scored 15 of his team-leading 18 points in the second quarter and Allen tallied nine of his 11 in the fourth. Baron Goodridge chipped in 12. It was a breakout performance for the Berkeley Carroll transfer Massoud.
“My first shot I banked it and it shouldn’t have went in,” he said. “I’m like, ‘If that went in I’m going to keep shooting it.”
Forward Victor Montenegro gve the Cardinals an inside presence early in the third. His six straight points put his team up 33-27 with 5:40 remaining in the frame.
“It was the role players more than the stars today,” Lods said.
It shows how far Hayes has come. The Cardinals – winners of eight of their last nine – have matured from one of the league’s youngest and inexperienced teams to one of its best. It is what they were so sure Marquez wasn’t’ going to miss.
“When that shot was in the air I honestly what thinking that,” Lods said. “We deserve this shot. We deserve it. Boom.”