Cardinal Hayes had a few days to mull over the lopsided 91-70 defeat suffered against Archbishop Molloy in a heavily hyped title game rematch last Friday night in Queens.
The simple answer for the defending city champions was returning to basics as Cardinal Hayes rolled to 84-49 home victory over All Hallows in a CHSAA Class AA boys basketball game held Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx.
“Coach said we had to come out aggressive and play real hard like we didn’t do against Molloy,” Cardinal Hayes forward Tyrese Williams said. “We kind of did, but we just had to weather the storm and just find a way to win honestly.”
The Quinnipiac commit Williams lead the charge for the Cardinals with 24 points and senior Terry Dawkins added 17 points along with 12 rebounds. Jaylen Murray impressed off the bench to add 15 points as Cardinal Hayes improved to 8-3 overall and is currently second place at 5-1 behind Archdiocesan division leading Iona Prep.
Cardinal Hayes did not take All Hallows (4-6 overall) lightly especially considering the visitors defeated them twice last season, including a last second comeback victory in the first round of the Archdiocesan tournament.
The hosts swarmed out to a quick 11-2 first quarter lead by displaying the sweet touch from the outside and creating turnovers. Williams did his part by knocking down shot after shot from the perimeter with Quinnipiac associate head coach Tom Pecora watching in the crowd with 12 first half points.
Dawkins consistently found open paths to the basket by knocking down a three-pointer for a 12-point advantage midway in the second quarter. Starting point guard Joe Toussaint was saddled with foul trouble but his basket at the buzzer at halftime gave Cardinal Hayes a commanding 42-26 lead.
Cardinals coach Joe Lods stressed to his team not to dwell on the defeat to Molloy and focus on the goal to just win games against a stacked Archdiocesan division.
“We have a veteran team. I tell our guys we are trying to defend our title. Anything else this year and we are going to be disappointed,” Lods said. “We need to win the championship. There is nothing else. There are no moral victories. We need to defend our title.”
Cardinal Hayes senior guard Jontai Williams was ejected along with All Hallows forward Elvys Ceballos for a brief skirmish that occurred at mid-court late in the third quarter. Brandon Giles and Qadir White from Cardinal Hayes were also ejected for leaving the bench during the skirmish.
Jontai Williams will miss the next two games including Friday’s home game against St. Raymond and a January 7 matchup against Monsignor Scanlan. There is a chance starting center Adam Cisse could miss the next game after missing the second half with a sprained left ankle.
Tyrese Williams expects an electric atmosphere against St. Ray’s and his team will definitely be pumped up for a big Bronx rivalry game.
“That will help. Everyone will be excited,” Tyrese Williams said. “The gym is going to be packed and just everybody will be excited and its another rivalry game, a Bronx rivalry game that we got to take care of.”