Franklin D. Roosevelt High School played strong defense and got important rebounds at the right time on Monday as it defeated host Our Lady of Lourdes 52-43 for its first Dutchess County Basketball Coaches Association Holiday Tournament title since 1997 on Monday.
“Happy New Year!” Roosevelt coach Kevin Hart said after his 6-0 Presidents captured the crown. “The kids played great defense. It was a staple the whole tournament. We’re just really proud with the way they performed. To win the tournament and be 6-0 is a feather in the cap and something to feel good about heading into the new year.”
The tournament’s most valuable player, Roosevelt’s Felix Riascos led the Presidents on both sides of the ball, scoring a game-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, including nine on the defensive end. Riascos said he feels just as good scoring points as he does working the boards.
“They’re both equal,” Riascos said. “They both help the team and that’s what I’m here for. Hopefully, we can stay undefeated.”
The Presidents pulled away from the Warriors in the third quarter during a 14-1 run where Riascos had seven points and Ishmael Chisholm (12 points) had five. Lourdes was outscored just 16-15 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t recover from the big lead the Presidents built in the previous quarter, mostly on second-chance baskets.
“You’ve got to make shots. We didn’t make shots,” said Lourdes coach Jim Santoro, whose team fell to 6-1. “(Roosevelt’s) defense was OK, but we got a lot of looks, inside and outside, and they didn’t fall for us. When we hold a team like Roosevelt to 52 points, you come away winners, but you can’t come away winners if you can’t put the ball in the hoop.”
Aside from Riascos, other interior defense was provided by Jack Raimo (two points, six rebounds, five steals) and Derek Hart, who had five points and 10 rebounds, five each on the offensive and defensive end.
Derek Hart and Raimo were named to the all-tournament team, as were Lourdes’ Kyle Santoro and Mike Donnelly.
“We’re a unit out there and they had great plays against man defense, but we stuck with them and won the game,” Derek Hart said.
Roosevelt led 21-17 at halftime. A floater by Isiaiah Cotton, a layup by Hart and a basket by Ruben Jimenez gave Roosevelt a 19-17 lead late in the second quarter.
After Donnelly’s first basket of the game, Cotton answered with a one-handed putback that put the Presidents up 21-17. Roosevelt outscored Lourdes 10-9 in the first quarter.
Justin Rhynders led Lourdes with 17 points, while Mike Donnelly added 10. Kyle Santoro was held to seven points, including a 3-pointer in the game’s final seconds.
Roosevelt gets back into Mid-Hudson Athletic League play at 7 p.m. Friday against New Paltz.
“We can be very good,” Riascos said. “As long as we work as a team, no individuals, and everyone works hard and plays defense, there’s no telling what we can do.”