For the first 16 minutes, Holy Cross held a commandering lead. But when the final buzzer sounded, it was St. Raymond's dancing on Carnesecca Court on the campus of St. John's University.
Two clutch free throws by Darryl Bryant enabled Oliver Antigua's basketball team to pull off a terrific comeback victory, 79-78. St. Raymond's will play Christ The King High School Sunday at Fordham for the CHSAA Intersectional Championship. Game time is scheduled for 3 PM ET.
Bryant's two free throws with 8.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter capped a 19-point comeback for the Ravens.
In the first quarter, Holy Cross spurted out to a 25-13 advantage as Shameel Carty buried two three-pointers in the first eight minutes of play. At the half, the lead stretched to 44-27 as Sylven Landesberg recorded 16 of his 30 points in the first 16 minutes of play. Cross smartly moved the ball around in the first half to find several holes defensively.
But the third quarter had a different feel and changed pace. Antigua asked his team to pressure the ball more, especially in the backcourt. It enticed Holy Cross to play more uptempo and get into a street game. It worked. The Ravens shaved the lead to 65-60 heading into the fourth quarter.
St. Raymond's continued to pressure the Knights in the backcourt. Terrific work by Gerald Colds (19 points), Kevin Parrom (12 points), Omari Lawrence (eight points), and Lenny McNeil (11 points) were a great support to Bryant's great game. Bryant finished the game with 22 points, including those big free throws with 8.8 seconds left.
Even though St. Raymond's did take the lead with under 10 seconds left, Holy Cross still had 8.8 seconds left to take a shot at winning the game. Trailing by one, several Cross players touched the ball but none got an attempt at the basket before the buzzer sounded.
It had to be a disappointing ending for Holy Cross. But it was also certainly a rewarding victory for St. Raymonds, a team that made sure they played the entire 32 minutes.