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March 1, 2008

Rice Impresses in Blowout of Xaverian

As evenly matched as the CHSAA has been this season, one team seems to be distinguishing itself more and more each game as the class of a classy league.

Rice, fresh off its third win of the year in three tries over rival St. Raymond, advanced to the CHSAA Intersectional Semifinals on Friday night, pounding Xaverian 71-40 at Christ the King High School.

The Raiders thoroughly dominated the Clippers on the same floor that saw their only loss in CHSAA play this season, and they did so without much in the way of offense from leading scorer Kemba Walker.

Xaverian appeared to be poised for an upset early, taking a 7-5 lead on a long jumper by point guard Jamal Fuentes, but Rice quickly put a halt to those fantasies, thanks to a contribution from an unexpected source.

Reserve guard Jeff Harris hit a pair of threes with Walker on the bench, keying a 10-0 run that put the Raiders ahead, 15-7. Rice went on to lead 17-9 after a quarter.

The Raiders gained significant separation early in the second quarter, beginning the period on another 10-0 run, getting points from four different players during the stretch.

Xaverian cut the Rice lead to 29-15 on a follow by forward Joab Jerome, but guard Chris Fouch answered for the Raiders with a long three. Rice took a 37-20 advantage into halftime.

The third quarter was nearly a one-on-one contest between Xaverian leading scorer Rasheem King and Rice wing Dorvell Carter. King, who scored just three points in the first half, tallied eight in the third period to pull the Clippers within 13. Carter, who scored two points in the first half, put up 10 in the quarter to keep Xaverian from getting any closer.

Rice imposed its will on the Clippers in the fourth, outscoring the Bay Ridge school 21-3.

Carter, who finished with 19 points, headed the Raiders' scoring attack. Fouch added 15 and Harris scored 14 off the bench.

Walker, who didn't look for his shot as much as usual, scored just seven. King's 11 points led Xaverian.

The NYC Hoops #2 Raiders, who have proven to be capable of hanging with the city and country's best, appear to be playing their best basketball heading into the Intersectional Semifinals. Rice will take on Holy Cross on Wednesday at St. John's, with the winner facing the winner of Christ the King/Bishop Loughlin in the CHSAA Intersectional final.

Rice beat Holy Cross in the Knights' gym, 80-68 on Jan. 29, in the teams' only match-up this season.

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