Featured Photo Credit: Hector Martinez / Moving Pictures
Just as if the 2021-22 showcase season wouldn’t get any greater, Stepinac Head Coach Pat Massaroni and the CHSAA and the Archdiocese of New Jersey decided to make things greater by coming up with the NY vs NJ Catholic High school showcase.
Something special about state showcases in high school hoops as playing for bragging rights brings a different type of competitive energy. Five great matchups, a plethora of high level college prospects and tons of college coaches in attendance.
Of all of the games, Cardinal Hayes vs Bergen Catholic was one that that took the cake. Two nationally ranked teams, several division one prospects between both programs.
Hayes coming into the game on Saturday faced a short handed but hungry Bergen Catholic squad who was out to take them down and add to the win column for the Garden state. Christ The King
The game started out heavily in favor of BC as they raced out to an early 7-0 lead. The Crusaders came out hot while Hayes was off to a slow start. The shots weren’t falling early on but senior forward Tobe Awaka provided much needed offense inside for Hayes. For most of the first half it looked like Bergen was a step or two quicker than Hayes. Wagner commit Julian Brown and Fordham Commit Will Richardson were hitting shots and playing with so much tenacity.
Richardson closed the first half by hitting a buzzer beater three pointer from the corner. The crusaders from Oradell felt good taking a 36-33 lead into the half despite being without PG Eliot Cadeau and Big man TJ Copeland.
Hayes responded in the beginning of the third quarter with run to take a 42-38 lead. BC responded outscoring Hayes 8-4 to tie the game at 46. The Crusaders would then finish the third quarter on a 9-4 run to take a 55-50 lead going into the 4th quarter.
The fourth quarter turned out to be big as Hayes went on a 9-2 run to take a 59-57 lead then Choppafam arrived. Elijah Moore sparked a huge scoring run which shifted the momentum for the rest of the game. From there HAYES never looked back, they would outscore BC 16-9 en route to a 75-66 victory.
From Moore’s 11 point outburst to Ian Jackson finding Tobe Awaka for the facial slam which was arguably the play of the day. “Shoutout to Ian for being unselfish on that play he’s a great teammate and he did a good job playing great defense and finding me in transition to finish the play” says Awaka after the game. Awaka finished with 23 points and 16 boards in the game. Jackson scored 21 points in front of UConn, St. John’s , Seton Hall and other schools in attendance. Elijah Moore scored 11 points on 4/7 shooting all in the fourth quarter.
It’s also worth noting that Senior PG DJ victory finished with a near triple double with nine points nine assists and six rebounds. The Harlem native came up huge in the game assisting key baskets throughout the game as well as controlling the tempo and not allowing BC to creep back in the game late.
BC was led by Julian Browns 23 points while Will Richardson scored 21 points grabbed four rebounds and had six Steals. Elijah Flournoy had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Hayes improved to 14-0 on the season and finished their non conference slate of their schedule.
Don Bosco Prep 75, St. Rays 57
Isaiah Edmond earned MVP honors and scored 17 points and grabbed 6 boards. Nicholas Koch also scored 17. Dylan Harper scored 15 points while Isaiah Brown scored 10. Isaiah Philbert led three Ravens in double figures with 12.
St. Peter’s Prep 51, Iona Prep 42
Villanova commit Mark Armstrong led SPP with 20 points and earned MVP honors. Despite the Loss RJ Greene reached a milestone with reaching 1000 career points. He finished with 16.
Christ The King 53, Hudson Catholic 52
Upon my arrival to Iona College, I came just in time to see Junior guard Devin Vanderpool seal the victory over a very good Hudson Catholic team. Vanderpool Warned MVP honors with 18 points and five rebounds. Brandon Williams scored 17 points grabbed boards and dished out five assists. Elijah Getrude led Hudson with 25 points and Tahaad Petiford scored 14.
Patrick School 33, Archbishop Stepinac 32
Isaia Griffin scored some key buckets late for TPS as they edged Archbishop Stepinac 33-32. Griffin earned MVP honors as he scored 12 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished three assists. Boogie Fland in his second game back scored 12 points.
Overall New Jersey won this Showcase going 3-2 on the day and has the bragging rights. There’s some speculation that this event will become an annual thing. If and when it does we all are looking forward to it because there’s some dream matchups many people have in mind. Peace to our colleagues and supporters in the Garden State we’ll bounce back for the win in 2023 !
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