Cardinal Hayes opened the fourth quarter on a 9-1 run, building a 19 point lead before holding off a late surge by Bishop Loughlin and handing the Lions their first loss of the season with a 61-56 road win in Brooklyn on Friday night.
Hayes' defense disrupted Loughlin's offense for most of the second half, stunting the Lions' point production until late in the fourth quarter. Behind Joe Toussaint, Jaylen Murray and Jalen Smith, Hayes was able to impede Loughlin's passing lanes, often leading to turnovers and points for the Cardinals in transition. Adam Cisse and Shemani Fuller were equally effective in the paint, challenging Loughlin's standout frontcourt of Julian Champagnie and Justin Champagnie and pushing them away from the basket.
Hayes held Julian Champagnie to just 3 points in the first half, but the Lions got second quarter offense from Justin Champagnie (5 points), Jaheim Young (5 points) and Tyshawn High (4 points), closing the half on a 5-0 run to pull within two at 24-22.
Hayes took a 29-22 lead after a layup by Bryan Adams with 5:11 left in the third, and the Cardinals stretched the margin to 42-31 heading into the fourth, with Murray (6), Toussaint (4) and Adams (4) combining for 14 of Hayes' 18 points in the third frame.
Hayes kept its foot on the gas to start the fourth, opening the quarter on a 9-1 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 51-32 after a steal by Jalen Smith and a runout layup by Murray, prompting a Loughlin timeout with 4:01 left. With the game on the verge of being out of reach, the Lions clawed back into it behind the Champagnie twins, with a 3-pointer by Julian triggering an 8-0 run to narrow the margin to 51-40. The lead swelled to 54-40 after a 3-pointer by Adams, but the Lions continued to chip away behind a suddenly energized crowd, with the game starting to bear resemblance to the thriller Hayes and Loughlin played on the same court two seasons ago, when Louglin erased a 20 point deficit before Hayes held on to win it. The difference on Friday night was that the Lions never took the lead down the stretch. Loughlin did pull within five after a 3-pointer by Young and a tip-in by Justin Champagnie made it 58-53 with 26.3 ticks left, but the Lions missed an opportunity to inch closer when a turnover forced them to put Hayes on the stripe in the closing seconds. Toussaint, who was 4-for-4 from the line in the fourth, made two free throws to seal it.
It was a balanced offensive attack for Hayes, with Murray scoring 17 points, Toussaint 16 and Adams 15. Justin Champagnie scored a game-high 21 points and reached the 1,000 career point milestone on the last basket in the game, a deep 3-pointer. Julian Champagnie finished with 16 for Loughlin.
Hayes, now 10-3 in CHSAA league play and 13-3 overall, will be in Brooklyn again on Monday, when they will face the defending PSAL champs South Shore in Canarsie. Loughlin, 8-1 and 15-1, will visit St. Francis Prep in Queens on Tuesday.
Note: this post has been updated to report that Justin Champagnie was the game's high-scorer and reached the 1,000 career point milestone for Bishop Loughlin.