By Anthony Bosco
All week long Holy Cross head boys’ basketball coach Paul Gilvary had been game-planning for his team’s CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Tournament quarterfinal matchup against No. 3-seeded Christ the King, hoping his Knights could keep the high-flying Royals under 50 points.
Mission accomplished, sort of.
While Gilvary’s club kept the CK offense in check, it was the Flushing school’s inability to score against the Royals’ interior defense that proved the deciding factor, with the Middle Village team edging out Cross, 46-38, Sunday at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” Gilvary said after the game. “We thought defensively we could put a lot of pressure on their guards and we did. I just never thought for a second that we would only score 38. There’s no way you’re going to beat a team like Christ the King scoring only 38 points. It’s impossible.”
Not that Cross did not throw a scare into the Royals, who trailed by as much as seven more than midway through the third quarter.
Ironically, it was the Knights’ lack of team height that worked for them. Using the superior speed of guard Kevin Ogeltree, Gordon McKenzie, Michael Johnson and Anthony Clarke, Cross was able to keep the much bigger CK team off balance for most of the game.
“They gave us trouble,” admitted Christ the King head coach Bob Oliva. “That’s not a good matchup for us. They beat us by 17 earlier in the season. They’re small. They don’t allow us to play with our big (guys). That’s what it comes down to. They’re annoying.”
The two teams, which split their regular season series, played evenly for much of the game, with the two teams taking turns making mini-runs that kept the score close throughout.
The first quarter featured three ties before the Royals, led by Akeem Gooding, Chris Martin and Brian Beckford, closed out the frame with a 7-0 run to take a 12-7 advantage into the second quarter.
McKenzie kicked off the second with a three-pointer, eventually knotting the scored at 14-14 when Ogeltree scored at the 3:56 mark. Back-to-back threes by Joe DeLuca and Niko Scott gave the Royals a six-point cushion before Ogeltree and Clarke scored the period’s final seven points to give Cross a 21-20 lead at the half.
“They got quick little guards and they pressure the ball good, and sometimes we have trouble with that since all our guards are 6-foot and over,” said Christ the King’s Larry Davis Jr., who finished with a team-high 12 points.
A three by DeLuca and two free throws by Gooding helped CK retake the lead early in the third, but a 9-0 run by the Knights put the Royals in a 32-25 hole with 3:32 left in the quarter. But five from Davis and a basket by Beckford closed out the quarter with both teams knotted up at 32.
The fourth quarter was all Christ the King, holding the Knights to just a single point — a free throw by Clarke — through the first six minutes, opening up a 10-point lead, including six by Davis. Two free throws and a three by Clarke got the Knights within six in the final minute, but that was as close as they would get.
“There was that one key stretch in the fourth quarter where we had (nine possessions) in a row where I thought we got a pretty good shot on almost all of them,” Gilvary said. “It’s not like we were firing up impossible shots, but a couple of layups, a couple of little jump shots just didn’t fall today. If they had, it could have been a different result.
“I thought Christ the King did a very nice job defensively, but also we missed some shots that we normally make.”
Said Oliva: “When it came down to it in the fourth quarter, there were nine possessions — nine stops in a row — that we got. In the middle of that we hit some free throws and scored in transition a little bit and we opened up the lead.”
Clarke led Cross with 13, followed by McKenzie with 12 and Ogeltree with 10. Davis was CK’s only double-digit scorer, followed by DeLuca with eight and Beckford and Gooding with seven apiece.
Christ the King (16-9, 7-6) was slated to face the No. 2-seeded Xaverian Clippers Wednesday in the semifinals. Cross (13-12, 3-10) will not play again until the first round of the CHSAA Intersectionals this weekend.
Bishop Loughlin 67, St. Francis Prep 63. Bryan Geffen’s 20 points were not enough to lead the No. 5-ranked St. Francis Prep Terriers over the fourth-seeded Bishop Loughlin Lions Sunday at the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Tournament at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Herbie Allen led Loughlin with 21 points, followed by Shawn Bowman who chipped in 14 points and 20 rebounds.
Loughlin was slated to face off against top-seeded Archbishop Molloy Wednesday in the semifinals. Prep’s record now stands at 16-11 overall and 5-8 in league play.
Xaverian 70, Monsignor McClancy 54. The Crusaders kept it close against the No. 2-seeded Clippers, trailing 30-29 at the break, but the Brooklyn school ran away with the victory in the second half in the first of three games Sunday at St. Francis College. McClancy finished the regular season with a 7-19 overall record and a 2-11 league mark.
St. John’s Prep 70, Cardinal Spellman 63. The St. John’s Red Storm was led by junior guard and Astoria resident Chris Williams, who scored a team-high 18 points. St. John’s Prep is now 19-4 overall and 15-1 in league play.
Notes: The CHSAA announced its all-league teams this past week with Archbishop Molloy’s Sundiata Gaines taking the Most Valuable Player award and Stanners’ skipper Jack Curran being tabbed Coach of the Year. St. Francis Prep’s Geffen was named to the first team, with CK’s Beckford and McClancy’s Borgolte being named to the second team. Johnson and McKenzie represent Cross on the third team, along with the Royals’ Martin.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.