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St. Ray's Starts out Fast, Holds on at the End
    In what turned out to be a very exciting game, St. Ray's prevailed for a 6 point victory over a very resilient Christ the King. Both teams started out slowly both missing their first 5 shots and first 2 free throw attempts, but then St. Ray's kicked it into gear bursting out to a 12-0 lead. A lay-up by 6'5 PF Brian Williams finally stopped the bleeding, and for the rest of the quarter the teams would trade baskets with the Royals getting the advantage to close the first quarter down 18-11. With the score 22-14, 6'4 PF Brian Laing re-entered the game and St. Ray's promptly went on a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 32-14. At that point Laing picked up his 3rd and went back to the bench, but St. Ray's would extend the lead to 39-18. At that moment the Royals finally woke up going on an 11-0 run to end the half, making it a contest.    
    5'10 Mitchell Beauford started the second half with a nice driving lay-up to bring the Royals within 8 at 39-31. CK would keep chipping away at the lead behind strong inside play from Williams and 6'6 C Justin Marshall. Trailing 47-45 Beauford hit a 3 from the wing to give Christ the King their first lead. Laing would come right come back and hit a 15 foot jumper to give the Ravens the lead. Clinging to a 63-62 lead 6'6 Gavin Grant hit a big 3 over a Christ the King defender to put the Ravens up 4, that shot coupled with clutch free throws allowed St. Ray's to hold on for a 75-69 win. . The difference between St. Ray's dominance early as they opened up a 21 point lead and the rest of the game, was rebounding. Early on St. Ray's got every rebound on the offensive and defensive ends. As the Royals came back they began to control the boards, and they also turned up the defensive pressure getting plenty of steals.
CK may get another chance at St. Ray's on Sunday if they can get by St. Mary's on Friday. So even with the loss Christ the King can still be crowned the New York State Catholic School champs. With the win St. Ray's capped an unbelievable season for the program, as they won the city championship in all 4 divisions, Freshman, JV, Varsity "B" and now they add the Varsity "A" title. The Ravens mission is not over, as they now will eye their second state title in the last 3 years.
Louie McCroskey was named the tournament MVP, while his teammates Gavin Grant and Brian Laing made the all-tournament team. 6'0 PG Japhet McNeil who had a terrible game for Christ the King but I'm sure he will more then make up for it on Friday, 6'0 PG Marlon Smith and 6'9 C Chris Taft also were named to the all-tourney team. The only problem I have with the team is I feel Brian Laing should've been the Tournament MVP considering Louie McCroskey was suspended for the Bishop Loughlin game. But McCroskey had a great season, and will have a great career at Syracuse

All Hallows Plays Tough in Defeat-1/7
The last two games I've seen have involved All Hallows and two of the best teams in the CHSAA, Christ the King and Molloy, they pushed CK to overtime and Molloy used a late run in the 4th quarter to finally put away this tough All Hallows team 77-64. All Hallows has proven they won't be an easy win for anybody this year. At the end of the first half, All Hallows found themselves in the same position they did on Sunday at Christ the King down 36-30. But unlike Sunday they were the team who came out of the locker room with a run, they were able to tie the game up at 42. 6'3 SG Joseph Mackey would respond for Molloy hitting a 15 footer to put them back up, but 6'5 PF Albert Forbes would respond with a 15 footer of his own, to tie it back up. Molloy would respond with a 7-0 run and would go into the final quarter with a 57-47 lead.
    The score would be 59-49, when All Hallows would go on a 11-3 run, which included a tough contested jumper from the corner by 6'2 PG Ron Ramon, to close the gap to just 2. Clinging to a 2 point lead, 6'0 PG Marlon Smith, fought off two All Hallows players for a loose ball, and delivered a perfect pass from his stomach to 6'2 SG Sudiata Gaines who was wide open and converted an easy layup. Aftter the Gaels failed to score on their next possesion, Smith came back down court and hit a 3, then on Molloy's next possesion found Gaines for another layup and Molloy was up 67-60. All Hallows was unable to get the game any closer then 5, and watched Smith hit 6 striaght free throw, and Gaines make two more layups to give the Stanners their final score of 77 to the Gaels 64.
    Surprisingly one of the reasons All Hallows wasn't able to ever get the lead beyond the first quarter was, Molloy's ability to negate Ronald Ramon, and Ramon missed the front end of two 1 and 1s. On the positive side for All Hallows, sophomore 5'10 SG Terrell Elliston scored 12 second half points, and kept the Gaels in the game. On the Molloy side Sundiata Gaines showed me a part of his game I never saw before, he showed the ability to run the point and put his teammates in positions to score when he needed to. He also displayed a much better handle then I previously thought he had, so obviously I think he has improved a great deal, but he still needs to work on his jumpshot.

Christ the King Survives Gaels in OT-1/5

   This game wasn't supposed to be close but don't tell that to the All Hallows Gaels. Christ the King came into this game with just 1 loss, and finished 3rd at the highly esteemed Beach Ball Classic last week. All Hallows on the other hand has been blownout by Rice and struggled to beat a very mediocore Bishop Loughlin team. The Gaels jumped out early 6-2 and looked ready to give Christ the King a game, but the Royals would score the next 9 points to put them up 11-6, CK stars 5'11 SG Mitch Beauford and 6'0 PG Japhet McNeil, scored 9 of the team's first 11. Christ the King would maintain their 5 point lead for the rest of the quarter taking a 17-12 lead into the 2nd quarter. Neither team would make a serious push in the second quarter, and Christ the King would take a 36-30 lead into the break. McNeil had 11 points in the half and Beauford added 9, and also did a great job on All Hallows superstar 6'2 PG Ronald Ramon holding him to just 8 first half points.
   Christ the King came out the locker room determined to put All Hallows away, as they jumped out to a 43-30 lead, which prompted a timeout from John Carey, the All Hallows head coach. The timeout worked, as it haulted the run, and the Gaels were able to claw back in to the game. The Gaels were able to capitalize on the Royals turnovers and lack of shot making in the 4th quarter to tie it up at 55, on two Marvin Moore free throws. On the ensuing possesion Mitch Beauford broke free from the Gaels press, and was fouled shooting. But he was unable to convert on both free throws. 5'10 PG Sophomore Codi Oliver took Japhet McNeil 1 on 1 and made a tough layup to put his team up 2 with about 30 seconds left. But once again Beauford broke free but this time he made the layup to tie the game up. The Gaels had the ball with a chance to win, but they couldn't get the ball into their star's hands until 4 seconds left and Ramon was 30 feet from the basket, he drove but couldn't nail the shot, so on to overtime the teams went.
    The overtime was kind of anticlimatic as the first 12 points were scored on free throws, 8 by Christ the King and 4 by All hallows. The Royals would extend the lead to 68-61 and would go on to win 71-66. McNeil finished with a game high 25 points, Beuford and 6'6 C Justin Marshall added 15. Ronald Ramon led All Hallows with a quiet 21 points. Next up for Christ the King is St. Francis Prep at Prep on Tuesday at 5:45pm. All Hallows faces Molloy at home at 4pm on Tuesday. I will be at that game, so check here for a report on the game.