By Joseph Staszewski
The key to Malik Harmon’s success has nothing to do with skill or smarts. Those are always there. For the Christ the King senior, it is about confidence and believing in his abilities the same way others do.
“We have more confidence in him that he has in himself,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said.
That wasn’t the case against Bishop Loughlin Friday night. Harmon’s confidence grew with each made basket in the fourth quarter as he went on to dominate the frame. The usually pass-first point guard scored 12 of his 14 points in the final quarter to lead the Royals to a thrilling 73-72 win over the host Lions in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Class AA boys’ basketball.
“Malik will fill up the stat sheet,” he said. “He will beat you.”
Harmon delivered the game’s biggest baskets, finishing two layups in the final 33 seconds to put Christ the King (14-2, 8-0) up for good. On the final bucket, he drove left into a crowd of defenders near the block and slipped. Somehow Harmon was still able to maintain control and drop in a fall away shot to give CK a 73-72 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
“I still can’t believe it,” Harmon said. “It’s still going through my head right now. I’m replaying it in the back of my mind. It’s just crazy.”
The Lions had a chance to steal the win on the ensuing possession. Mike Williams (18 points) missed an open layup down the middle of the lane and Javian Delacruz’s put back popped out as time expired. It left Loughlin frustrated following a classic back-and-forth battle.
“We’re supposed to win that game,” Williams said. “We’re a better team than this.”
No one had a better moment than Severe. He had a highlight reel dunk that sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy midway through the third quarter. The senior guard, in front of St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin and Rutgers headman Mike Rice, took off from the middle of the lane and threw down a right-handed tomahawk on Delacruz.
“I jumped pretty far,” said Severe, who scored 19 points. “It was a good highlight.”
Jordan Fuchs scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for CK and Adonis Delarosa added 10 points and seven boards. Khadeen Carrington paced Loughlin (13-3, 4-3) with 29 points and six assists.
Christ the King showed the type of swagger and confidence that’s help it pull out tight wins over Cardinal Hayes and St. Raymond in overtime, and now Bishop Loughlin. Only the St. Ray’s victory came at home.
“It shows how much more mature a team we are from last year,” Harmon said.
He showed how much better a player he is.