Tina To The Rescue

In National Battle, CK’s Charles Beats Bergtraum, Buzzer
In basketball circles, local and national, there’s been a heated debate the last few years regarding the country’s top player. Christ the King’s Tina Charles or Murry Bergtraum’s Epiphany Prince?
The intimidating center or the dominant guard?
Sunday afternoon’s middle game of the Nike Super Six Invitational at Madison Square Garden didn’t put the question to rest either. Prince, the Rutgers-bound senior, finished with a game-high 39 points, scoring 17 of the Blazers final 19 points in bringing them all the way back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit.
But, Charles came up big when it counted most, tying up Prince on Bergtraum’s final possession of a tie game with 11.5 remaining. Then the 6-foot-5 Charles rebounded her own miss and drilled the game-winner, a fall-away six-footer as the horn sounded, giving the top-ranked Royals their 40th straight win, 65-63 over No. 2 Bergtraum.
“My coach always told me to follow my shot,” the Connecticut-bound center said, smiling from ear to ear. “I put up a prayer and it went in. It feels great. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t believe I just did that.”
Before fouling out, junior point guard Lorin Dixon was brilliant, scoring 17 points, dishing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Aimee Levine and Nicole Caldera also added eight points apiece.
The first Catholic girls team to play at the Garden, Christ the King (13-0, 5-0 CHSAA) controlled play throughout, and led 60-51 with less than five minutes to go. But Prince went on a personal 10-2 run, then swatted away a Charles lay-up, setting up Erica Morrow for the game-tying hoop with less than minute left.
The two teams would miss three consecutive free-throws, giving the Blazers, the seven-time defending PSAL champs, possession with 22.3 seconds to play. But instead of calling a timeout, Bergtraum (12-1, 8-0 Manhattan A) Coach Ed Grezinsky let Prince create; unfortunately, she ran into Charles, giving help as Prince beat Sky Lindsay (10 points) off the dribble.
“I thought about it,” he said, referring to holding for a final shot. “But sometimes it gives the other team a chance to set up on defense. … I would’ve liked her to wait a little longer. [But] she makes that shot, we win the game. It’s a catch-22.”
On the other end, Charles’ baseline jumper skidded off the back rim, but sensing the carom, she darted to the loose ball below the dotted line and rose up and fired, ending the game with one flick of the wrist.
“There is no doubt in my mind she is the best player in the country,” Christ the King Coach Bob Mackey said.
Grezinsky disagreed, calling Prince “the best player in the country as far as I’m concerned.”
Nevertheless, neither coach could argue that Sunday afternoon wasn’t a great day for girl’s basketball. “That was madness out there,” Mackey appropriately put it.

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