By Joseph Staszewski
Christ the King proved it is more than Sierra Calhoun.
The Royals showed they were ready to defend their diocesan title and that they could win without their star, who will miss two weeks in rehab for patella tendonitis.
They held off the visiting Falcons 45-44 in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ basketball Sunday night. The win creates a three-way tie atop the league with CK, Molloy and Ford all having two losses to each other.
Kollyns Scarbrough scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
“We tried to prove today that we do have other players on our team that can step up,” the junior forward said. “We wanted to prove to every team that we are something to deal with it.”
Forward Taylor Butigian was one of the big reasons why Christ the King left with a win. Butigian scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked seven shots. She had a huge rejection of Bishop Ford’s Aaliyah Jones with 25 seconds left to play in the game and CK clinging to a two-point lead.
“That’s what she is capable of doing,” Christ the King Coach Bob Mackey said. “Defensively I thought she did a super job.”
The Royals (14-7, 7-2) couldn’t take a deep breath just yet. Jones pulled Ford within 45-44 with 15 seconds left, after Deja Johnson made one-of-two free throws. The Falcons’ Tanasia “Sweets” Blake stole the ball at half court. Jones misfired on a three-pointer from the corner and Blake missed a put back. Scarbrough grabbed the rebound and passed it to Kristen Drogsler (nine points) to dribble out the clock.
“It was a little scary,” Scarbrough said.
She and Christ the King weren’t afraid to go right at Bishop Ford (17-6, 10-2), which won the first meeting in November, defensively. It held the Falcons without a field goal for 8:30 of the first and second quarters and led 18-8 with 5:31 left before the half. Johnson attacked the basket at will and Shannon Barrett was a presence in the paint.
“We had to take them out of their comfort zone and make them shoot hard jumps shots,” Butigian said.
CK forced Ford into jumpers that it turned into transition points. The Falcons got within three heading into the fourth, but the Royals ripped off a 6-0 run to go up 41-32 with 5:51 remaining in the game.
St. John’s-bound guard Aaliyah Lewis (10 points) brought Ford back, scoring five straight points late in the fourth to pull her team within 44-42 with 40 seconds left. Jill Conroy dropped in 12 points.
The Royals bent but didn’t break and earned themselves a chance at first place and a first-round bye in the diocesan tournament.
“They hung in there,” Mackey said. “They didn’t quit.”
CK boys’ hoops top Loughlin: Jon Severe scored 18 points and Malik Harmon had 11 for Christ the King (20-2, 14-0).
Jordan Fuchs added 10 points and Andre Walker hit a key three-pointer with 1:59 left in the game.
Mike Williams paced Loughlin (16-5, 6-5) with 19 points.