By Joseph Staszewski
Christ the King could only keep Ossining’s Saniya Chong quiet for so long.
The UConn-bound point guard was held scoreless in the first quarter and had just nine points at the half. With Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma in attendance, Chong exploded after the break. She scored 29 of her 46 points in the fourth quarter as host Ossining, the state’s top-ranked team, slipped by Christ the King 89-84 in a non-league girls’ basketball game Friday night.
“I knew she was going to try and get a spark in the second half,” said Royals star Sierra Calhoun, who called Chong a great player.
The junior didn’t disappoint herself in the first battle with Chong, two of the countries’ top players. Calhoun dropped in 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Teammate Kollyns Scarbrough added 32 points and 11 rebounds. Both scored by attacking the paint and the offensive glass. They weren’t intimidated by Ossining.
“We didn’t come in thinking we’re the underdogs,” Scarbrough said.
Calhoun was unable to finish what she started when she was called for a questionable fifth foul with her hands held high and Chong driving with her team up 81-78 with 53 seconds left. She felt the refs made a mistake and Royals Coach Bob Mackey felt Calhoun wasn’t getting the same treatment on the other end.
“Even when we didn’t foul [Chong] she got to the foul line,” Mackey said.
Both Calhoun and Chong enjoyed the uniqueness of the game and competing against each other. They could be teammates at UConn in the future. Calhoun said she holds a scholarship offer from the Huskies.
“It’s always a good thing to play against the best,” Chong said.
The Royals almost got the best of her and Ossining (7-3). CK (4-5) built a 56-42 lead with 2:34 left in the third quarter. They had frustrated Chong up until that point, but her teammates, eight-grader Andrea Espinoza-Hunter (18 points) and freshman Shadeen Samuel, had done enough to keep the Pride in the game.
Mackey thinks his team needs to learn to sustain a lead. He believed they were going to own the game once they got ahead. The game left Mackey and Calhoun wanting another crack at Ossining and Chong down the road in the state Federation Class AA tournament.
“This should be the Federation final,” Mackey said. “I want to play them right now.”
Reach Sports Editor Joseph Staszewski by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4545.