Still The King – QNS.com

Still The King

The stakes were not nearly as high, but the game was almost identical.
Like last year’s Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan final, Mary Louis led Christ the King throughout, outplayed them and out-defended them. In the end however at the final buzzer, CK rallied for a 56-54 victory.
Last March, Lorin Dixon made CK’s great escape possible. Now starting for the No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies, the lightning-quick point guard was not around to bail them out this time.
In her place was Bria Smith, a 5-foot-10 freshman that carried the load. The first freshman to play varsity since Clare Droesch in 1998, she scored 15 of her game-high 28 points in the second half, including six of the Royals’ final 10 points.
“Bria is very capable of making the plays; the key was just to get her open,” CK Coach Bob Mackey said. “She’s gotta feel a little confidence. When she’s got that confidence, wow.”
Kelly Carman gave Mary Louis (9-6, 3-1 CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens I) a two-point halftime edge with a driving layup at the second quarter horn, a lead they would hold onto until deep into the fourth quarter. Three times, it got as high as six, but on each occasion, the Hilltoppers either did not execute to widen the differential or CK made a key play.
CK got even at 43 early in the final stanza, and the game was tied three more times until Geleisa George (15 points, eight rebounds) finished in transition with 24.6 seconds remaining. Andrea Bush (nine points, 12 rebounds) made just one of two free throws to seal Mary Louis’s fate. Kelly Puwalski led the Hilltoppers with 13 points and Amanda Burakoski had 12.
“It’s not Andrea’s fault,” center Carman (six points) said. “It wasn’t just one play. It was everything.”
With tears in her eyes after another close loss in Middle Village, Carman summed up the result this way: “I never wanted to win a game so much before.”
Mary Lewis coach Joe Lewinger put it in proper perspective afterwards. Sure, he wanted to leave with a victory, to become the first league opponent to hang an ‘L’ on the mighty Royals since Bishop Loughlin in 2001, but January is not when their season is won or lost. Their second meeting, at Mary Louis February 15, is not the end all, either. That will be March, March 9 to be exact, the date of the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan final, and hopefully another rematch with CK.
“I said I don’t care what happened, you played absolutely fantastic,” Lewinger said. “I told everyone in there to be as proud as possible, because they played a great game.”

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