By Anthony Bosco
The Christ the King freshmen boys’ basketball team defeated Archbishop Molloy, 50-47, to capture the CHSAA championship this past week, making it the 10th freshmen city title for the Royals in 22 years.
It was 22 years ago that current varsity head coach Bob Oliva guided the CK freshmen team to the first basketball championships — boys or girls — in the history of the school. Greg Lemko, a 49-year-old New York City fireman, has coached the freshmen for the last 10 years and celebrated his fourth crown with the team’s win over Molloy.
“He’s the best at this,” said Oliva, who is also acts the school’s athletic director, of Lemko. “I couldn’t have a better coach in America than him. I’m serious. I’m dead serious. You can give me Rick Pitino and I wouldn’t take him. I can’t say it enough.”
Malik Boothe, the point guard on the team, scored 10 first-half points in the win and was solid throughout on both ends of the floor. The Royals also received solid contributions from Chris Valerio, Latiq Agard and Elijah Conely.
CK built a 10-point advantage in the first half but had to hold off a stubborn Molloy squad led by Rocco Rubino and Fred Dorgler. Molloy also got solid contributions from Morgan Kelly, Kevin Roberts, Dennis O’Grady and Lionel Hillaire.
This freshmen class at CK, Oliva said, is one of the stronger the school has produced, and Lemko and his players managed to win the crown without Andrew Gabriel, another freshman who played this season for coach Artie Cox on the junior varsity.
“This is a strong class, no doubt about it,” Oliva said.
The Christ the King freshmen team finished the season with an overall record of 25-1, the lone blemish coming in a non-league affair earlier in the season to St. Mary’s of Manhasset.
In an all-Brooklyn battle, Xaverian rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Bishop Loughlin by nine for the CHSAA junior varsity crown.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.