Gaels blow past Fordham
Fordham Prep and All Hallows was tied after the first quarter and went into halftime still deadlocked.
Gaels coach John Carey knew he had to do something to throw a wrench into the Rams methodical Princeton offense. So he rolled the dice and went to a diamond-and-one press to start the third quarter.
“I didn’t know how it would work, whether it would be successful or if they’d attack it successfully,” Carey said. “We had to be ready to take the chance.”
It was a gamble that paid major dividends. All Hallows went on a 12-0 run and went on to win, 38-28, in the first CHSAA Class AA New York Archdiocesan meeting between the Bronx schools Friday afternoon.
“The pressure really helped us and it looked like it flustered them a bit,” All Hallows junior guard Ethan Hamlet said. “That gave us opportunities offensively and we were able to get out to a 12-0 run. That was probably the turning point of the game.”
All Hallows had confidence coming into the league contest after upsetting Archbishop Stepinac, 58-47 on Tuesday. And that came on the heels of a two-point loss to Holy Cross.
“Getting that first win under our belt was the confidence we needed to come in here today and get a win against a very good team,” Hamlet said.
A year ago, Hamlet was one of several first-year varsity players, a sophomore thrown right into the fire in one of the toughest conferences in America. Success on the court wasn’t an every day occurrence.
This year, though, the Gaels have bought into Carey’s system. They make the extra pass and it’s made a world of difference.
“They seem to like each other and they like to share the ball,” Carey said. “That’s important. Egos are not as big an issue.”
Another big component for All Hallows (2-3, 2-2) is the return of Davon Robinson, who quit the team a year ago.
“Me and my coach just had a long talk,” the senior guard said. “We put our past behind us and we just tried to make the best of what it was.”
Robinson came into the game averaging 17 points per game and led all scorers with 14 points, which in this low-scoring affair was the equivalent of scoring 30 points on a regular night.
“Having Davon, who can break down the defense and make plays almost every single time down really gives us a dynamic that we haven’t had,” Hamlet said.
Robinson said he’s just taking what defenses are giving him and scoring within the flow of the offense. He had back-to-back buckets in the middle of the Gaels’ critical 12-0 run that gave the visitors a 31-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“I was just trying to work hard, play defense to create offense, pass the ball and get to the open spots on the court,” Robinson said
Hamlet had nine points and Raz Council added eight for All Hallows, while Fordham Prep (2-2, 0-1) was led by Jack Becker and Connor Murphy, who scored eight points apiece. The Rams were missing starters Patrick Quirke and Killian Connelly, who would have helped handle the Gaels second-half pressure.
“We’re not getting our spacing, we’re not dealing with the quickness, we’re not getting the ball to the open man,” Fordham Prep coach Kevin Pigott said. “We’re not getting the movement we want. We knew that, we talked at halftime and said this is probably what they’re going to do, but we struggled to handle it.”
Still, Pigott isn’t pushing the panic button just yet in Fordham Prep’s first year in Class AA.
“I think we’ll be OK,” he said.
The same could be said about All Hallows, which will enter almost every league game as an underdog this year.
“We know we can compete with any team in New York,” Robinson said. “We just have to come out and play together every night and try not to do too much individual work.”
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