NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Most of the conversation in the CHSAA this season was how good a young St. Raymond team could be as the season progresses.
Friday night confirmed the Ravens aren’t a bad team in the present, either.
Sophomore stars Sidney Wilson and Isaiah Washington drove St. Raymond to a 65-56 comeback win over a veteran and highly-touted Iona Prep squad on the road in a game that aired live on MSGVarsity.com.
Wilson, a dynamic 6-foot-6 forward, had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks and Washington, as well as juniors Caheim Brown (16 points), Rich Ross and Malik Mooving were stellar defensively.
“One thing we decided early on and committed to was that we weren’t going to use our youth as an excuse,” Ravens coach Jorge Lopez said. “That’s not an excuse as to why we won’t succeeed. The guys worked hard all offseason to improve and compete with the veteran teams in the league.”
St. Ray’s (2-0) took down a heralded Iona Prep squad, which features two Division I-bound players in Matt Ryan (Notre Dame) and Ty Jerome (Virginia).
The Ravens did it with hustle defense and emotion over the final 10 minutes as they rallied back from a nine-point deficit.
“It motivated them,” Lopez said of his team facing two of the league’s most prominent recruits. “We told them that they have high Division I players and they are that for a reason.
“We challenged our guys. Tonight was a night where one of these teams would make a statement. And I think we made that statement.”
Ryan, a 6-foot-7 wing, had 18 points was held to just one 3-pointer after making 16 of 28 from behind-the-arc in the first three games combined.
Jerome, a 6-4 junior, had 14 points and seven rebounds, and senior guard Tom Capuano, another potential D-1 recruit, scored 15.
But the Gaels (3-1) struggled to move the ball out to the perimeter and had a rare off night shooting from the outside.
“They like to drive and kick and we just contained our man,” Washington said. “We didn’t play help, so you had to play your man tight and we did that.”
Even with their struggles, the Gaels led most of the game until Wilson took over late in the third. He drained the final 20 seconds of the clock and pulled up from well behind the 3-point line, drilling a shot that put the Ravens up 44-42 entering the fourth.
Iona Prep never recovered.
“I felt good after the shots I made before that,” Wilson said. “I felt confident in it and it fell.”
The Gaels saw St. Ray’s gradually pull away late, sealing the game at the free throw line.
“They’re a good team and we didn’t have two good practices back-to-back coming in,” Iona Prep coach Vic Quirolo said. “I think we hit a bit of a bump in the road. They took advantage of that.”