Tyreak Johnson stepped to the line for a pair of critical free throws with his team clinging to a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter. It was a position the senior point guard found himself in less than 24 hours earlier, back in the Bronx.
Usually automatic from the foul line, Johnson missed two shots and the Ravens were upset at home by All Hallows at home in double overtime.
Back on the line with the game up for grabs, Johnson wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
“Last night was rough on me and the whole team,” he said. “It was just like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe we got this loss.’ We’ve got to play every team like it’s a Rice or a Christ the King. Picking it up from last night, it just came down to the team finally making clutch free throws.”
Johnson went 4-for-4 from the line and Hal McBride added two more free throws in the final 1:11 as St. Raymond’s bounced back in a big way, beating Timber Creek (N.J.), 50-47, in the Primetime Shootout at the Sovereign Bank Arena Saturday afternoon.
“I was a little concerned because I didn’t know if we’d have a layover from yesterday’s tough loss,” St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua said. “The kids are young, but we played hard. They shot the hell out of the ball, a very well-coached team. … To pull a win out I was very happy for us to get that ‘W.’”
Johnson finished with a game-high 20 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter. As the lone senior starter, the point guard is generally the player who is there to pick up his rather inexperienced teammates.
Timber Creek controlled the tempo from the outset and the game was played at a snail’s pace for the most part. And just when the Cougars lull you to sleep, players like Montez Blair (18 points) and Marquis Jones (12 points) knock down shots from the perimeter.
On Saturday, St. Raymond’s (14-8) matured a bit. Trailing 44-39 following a foul-line jumper by Jones, Tyreak Johnson buried a 3-pointer, followed by a Sidiki Johnson putback to tie the game at 44 with 1:45 left in regulation. Tyreak Johnson then hit a pair of free throws and, after Jones missed a layup, knocked down two more to cap the 9-0 run.
“When we come to national tournaments like this, there’s a lot more people, the arena is a lot bigger and the lights are a lot brighter,” said Sidiki Johnson, who along with McBride, scored nine points. “But you still bring your best game and you play your hardest.”