BRONX, N.Y. – The All Hallows Gaels are having a good inaugural season in Class A after playing in the Bronx-Manhattan Class AA division with state-ranked teams such as Cardinal Hayes (No. 5 NYSSWA Class AA), Saint Raymond’s (No. 11 NYSSWA Class AA), and Iona Prep (No. 14 NYSSWA Class AA).
Coming into Saturday afternoon’s matchup, coach Marvin McCullough’s squad was 3-1 against the CHSAA Class A division with the only loss to the reigning sectional champions, Nazareth Kingsmen. The Gaels were also winners of their previous four games to earn the No. 7 spot in the Class A poll of the NYSSWA boys’ varsity basketball rankings. However, three of the four victories were decided by four points or less. Saturday afternoon at All Hallows High School in the Bronx, the Gaels (9-3/No. 7 NYSSWA Class A) played another close game and came out on top over the Saint Edmund Prep Eagles (4-8), 54-50, for their fifth straight win.
Two minutes into the second half, Chad Ewart sparked a 19-5 run for the Gaels with back-to-back contact layups. The junior guard hit two free throws during the spurt as well. Seniors Nick Johnson, Mikhail Leston, and junior forward Devin Diaz also scored for a 46-33 lead with 5:58 remaining in the game. During the run, the Gaels held the Eagles to 11 missed field goals, eight turnovers, and two made field goals in 24 possessions.
Ewart also started a 10-3 run at the end of the first half. Trailing 23-17 with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter, the junior guard knocked down two consecutive three-pointers from the top of the key to knot the game up. After the Eagles temporarily took the lead, Johnson hit a free throw and drilled a buzzer-beating long-range shot from the right wing for a 27-26 halftime edge.
Overall, the Gaels’ defense forced 29 missed field goals and 16 turnovers in 71 possessions against the Eagles.
Johnson scored the first eight points of the game on three layups and a mid-range shot. He finished with 21 points, seven layups, and converted a pair from the charity stripe.
Ewart had all 14 of his points by the end of the third quarter, including eight in the first half. Diaz went 6-of-6 at the free throw line during the last two minutes of the game to help the Gaels hold on for the victory. The junior forward scored 10 points overall.
Jader DeJesus (3), Leston (2), and Bangaly Berte (2) rounded out the scoring for the Gaels.
For the Eagles, Sean Edwards netted 10 of their first 14 points of the game. The junior forward also converted a layup during a 7-0 run in the second quarter capped by Shemar Latty’s three-pointer from the left wing for a 23-17 lead.
Edwards finished with 17 on three shots from beyond the arc, three layups, and a fadeaway jumper from the left baseline. Latty and fellow junior guard Cameron Shields each scored 10 points. Latty scored eight of his 10 in the first half while Shields had eight in the fourth quarter on two three-pointers and a mid-range jumpshot.
Chris Wiggan (8), Kris Parbs (4), and Kyle Dunn (3) rounded out the scoring for the Eagles.
Both teams take the court again on Tuesday. All Hallows will travel to the campus of Fordham University to take on sectional finalist Fordham Prep. Game time set for 5:30 PM. Saint Edmund Prep will play at Xavier High School at 4:30 PM.