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Bernard stars in St. Raymond’s victory

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He’s done well in cameo performances during wins against Boys & Girls and Rice, but Friday night in his last regular-season game at St. Raymond’s, senior guard Kareem Bernard played a starring role in the Ravens’ 58-51 victory against Bishop Loughlin in a CHSAA Class AA league game in the Bronx.

Bernard, one of three seniors honored before the game, scored the first seven points of the game en route to a career-high 13 as St. Raymond’s once again bounced back from a loss with a victory.

“It is difficult because sometimes in certain situations, I’m not really prepared,” Bernard said. “Today I was really ready and thought back to other good games I had.”

None, though, topped Friday night’s regular-season finale. The seldom used 6-foot-2 guard from the Bronx hit a pair of free throws, scored on a layup and added a 3-point play for the best 57 seconds of his career.

“He’s one of those hungry players that whatever chance he gets on the court he tries to take advantage of it so he can play in the future,” said junior guard Harold McBride, who added a team-high 14 points and six assists. “We need him in the playoffs to win. For him to have a night like this for his last night at St. Raymond’s, it’s going to build his confidence up for the playoffs.”

Bernard staked St. Raymond’s (15-9, 8-4) to a lead it would never relinquish. Bishop Loughlin, playing its fifth game without star Jayvaughn Pinkston, who was ruled academically eligible, got within two points late in the second quarter. But Bernard responded with a layup and a short baseline jumper to help give the Ravens a 32-26 lead at the half.

“He’s a team player, goes hard, the fastest player on our team and plays good defense,” sophomore Sidiki Johnson said.

A corner 3-pointer by Antoine Brown again brought the Lions to within two, 35-33, with 5:17 left in the third, but the Ravens responded with five consecutive points and led 44-37 after three quarters.

“That just shows that even though our offense isn’t clicking and we’re not making shots, we’re just going to go play defense,” McBride said. “Once they came back we just started playing defense and focusing more on that.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-7 budding star who has already drawn interest from St. John’s, was huge inside for the Ravens. He scored just seven points, but grabbed 15 rebounds against Bishop Loughlin’s large, yet depleted, frontcourt.

Hamlet scored a game-high 24 points and Rasi Jenkins added 12 for Bishop Loughlin (15-9, 8-5), which had a four-game winning streak snapped. But the Lions guards struggled.

St. Raymond’s, meanwhile, is hoping to use Friday’s victory as a springboard into the playoffs, especially after Bernard’s solid performance.

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