Back on February 28, 1987, Tolentine High play St. Raymond’s for the Archdiocese Basketball Tournament Championship at Mt St Michael in the Bronx. Tolentine was one of the best teams in the city and led by junior Malik Sealy, senior Keith McMillian, and freshman Brian Reese.
Tolentine was a favorite to beat St Raymond’s that night. However St Ray’s was on a 17 game winning streak at time. Tolentine was on a 15 game winning streak.
The winner of this game get to be the top seed seed representing New York. Molloy HS was top seed in Brooklyn-Queens in the CHSAA City Playoff. Also they were the top team in the state and nationally ranked. The winner can potentially meet Molloy at the time.
The gym was packed on that February evening of 1987 in which both teams were red hot coming and someone will have their streak snap that night. St Rays was stack with Darryl Reid, Eddie Rivera, Chuck Martin, and Michael Thompson who all played Division one. Reid (SW Missouri St), Rivera (UTEP), Martin (Monmouth), and Thompson (Drexel).
It was the legendary Gary Decessare first year as a head coach. Even Tolentine had two McDonalds All Americans in Sealy (St Johns) and Reese (North Carolina); Keith McMillian played at Hofstra. Also Jerome Holmes who was a role player went to Xavier. Reid was a senior that season, while Thompson and Rivera were juniors. Chuck Martin was a sophomore for the Ravens. Tolentine was coach by John Sarandrea who was a legendary coach as well.
The game was intense throughout the was in which it was closed for all four quarters. St Rays was leading by five at the end of the first quarter and was up 36 to 31 at halftime. Then Tolentine was battling and the Wildcats was down 49-48 at the end of the third quarter. Then the fourth quarter Tolentine went up by three. St Rays made a run and had a five point lead. Then Tolentine tied it at 65 with eight seconds to go and it went into overtime.
In the overtime, Sealy missed two free throws and St. Raymond’s capitalized and Reid made a big shot to give them the lead. Tolentine miss a couple of possessions, then Michael Thompson made a couple of foul shots. Then Eddie Rivera threw a pass to Chuck Martin who made the layup to seal the deal and St Raymond’s wins the Archdiocese Championship 73-67 in overtime.
The Ravens celebrated like they won the city championship and snapped Tolentine 15 game winning streak. Fans were saying were number one!!! Michael Thompson was the star of the game in which he had 25 points and 15 rebounds. Rivera had 14 points, Martin with 13 points, and Darryl Reid with 10 points.
St Raymond’s was a fun team to watch and these boys never backed down. That year St Raymond’s started off at 2-5 and went on a 18 game winning streak. Also, they avoided a City Championship rematch with Tolentine and Molloy.
Needless to say St Raymond’s 18 game winning streak came to an end. They were eliminated to a excellent McClancy team in the opening round of the CHSAA City playoffs. In the semifinals Molloy beat Tolentine and eventually repeated as City Champions.
With the run that St Ray’s had in 1987, it was the breakthrough for their basketball program to have success till this date. Also that victory over Tolentine stood out over the 1985 Archdiocese Championship St Rays team who made it to the semifinals of the CHSAA City Playoffs.
Even so this wasn’t a City Championship game, however this was one of the most entertaining games in the history of New York City Basketball.