NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Isaiah Washington was relatively quiet in the first three quarters at Iona Prep on Monday. And the St. Raymond star was absent as the Ravens’ double-digit lead evaporated late in the fourth.
Coming out of a timeout with 2:11 to play in a tie game, Washington not only showed why he’s among the city’s best players, but also among the most clutch.
Washington drained back-to-back 3-pointers and scored nine of St. Raymond’s final 13 points as they ran away from Iona Prep, 67-55, in a CHSAA matchup live on MSGVarsity.com
“I always say to (Washington) that he has to go out there and play with confidence,” St. Raymond coach Jorge Lopez said. “If he wants to excel and play at a high level and prove he’s one of the better players in the city, that shot showed how good he can be.”
With an assistant from Temple watching, Washington simply took the game over in the final two minutes as St. Raymond (10-6), the No. 8 ranked team in the MSG Varsity Tri-State poll, strengthened its grip on first place in the CHSAA AA New York Division.
Iona Prep (7-8) trailed by 10 at the half, got within four in the third but trailed 48-40 entering the fourth.
Gio Gabbidon, who scored a team-high 16 points, had six in a row for Iona, including an acrobatic finish in the lane, cutting St. Ray’s lead to two a minute into the fourth quarter. St. Ray’s was up three when Nick Brennen drained a 3-pointer, tying it at 54-54 with 2:11 to go.
“I said, ‘Let not get rattled.’ We have to continue to play and continue to defend,” Lopez said. “We had to get every loose ball and every rebound and make every shot. We started to see Iona come alive and that they wanted to win that game. I asked my kids, ‘Who wants it more?’ They responded.”
Out of the timeout, Washington was about to give up the ball. He took a feed from well behind the arc and, with 20 on the shot clock, fired up a 3-pointer that ripped through the net.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard came down the floor after an Iona Prep miss and drained another 3 from the corner with a defender in his face. Momentum swung in the Ravens’ favor as they outscored the Gaels 13-1 after the Brennen 3.
Iona Prep was only in the game thanks to stellar perimeter shooting. The Gaels hit six 3-pointers in the first yet were still down 10. The deep ball continued to fall in the third, although they had no answer for St. Raymond guard Omar Silverio.
The sophomore connected on six 3-pointers of his own and scored a game-high 21 points with seven rebounds. He had 10 points in the third quarter alone.
“Down the stretch he’s been playing well for us, especially in the last three to four games,” Lopez said. “He’s beginning to excel and become one of the better shooters in New York City. We need him to continue to play better down the stretch as we get closer to the playoffs.”
Next up for St. Raymond is a road game at Bishop Loughlin on Friday in a showdown of first place teams in the CHSAA. The game will air live on MSGVarsity.com
The schedule doesn’t get any kinder for Iona Prep, which travels to Cardinal Hayes on Friday and then Long Island Lutheran on Jan. 26.
The Gaels continue to rely on Patrick Fleming, who played every minute on Monday and accounted for 14 points and six assists.
While Iona is without Ty Jerome (out for season with hip injury) and Bryce Willis (foot), they have still shown the ability to compete.
“They’re still a good team,” Lopez said. “Fleming does a good job leading them and it showed they could still beat any team in the city without Ty Jerome or Bryce.”