By Joseph Staszewski
For Dominique Toussaint, her first steal is similar to a shooter making that first jump to open a game.
“Once you get a steal it’s like, ‘Why can’t I do it again? Why can’t I do things over and over again?’” the Christ the King sophomore guard said.
Toussaint was the spark to a superb defensive second half in the Royals’ 68-65 come-from-behind win over New Jersey power St. John Vianney in non-league girls’ basketball in Middle Village Saturday afternoon. Toussaint was all over the Vianney guards when she came over half court and recorded seven of CK’s 23 steals.
She helped jumpstart a 22-3 run over the third and fourth quarters that put CK up 57-52 with 6:08 remaining in the game. It erased an 11-point halftime deficit and gave Christ the King the lead for good.
“I didn’t really care who I was guarding. I just went out there and stole the ball from them,” Toussaint said.
That, coupled with the Royals’ dominance of the backboard, thanks to Ashley Howell, Sierra Calhoun and Kollyns Scarbrough, allowed them to score in transition. Calhoun (17 points) scored five straight points to give CK its first since 2:20 of the first quarter. She ripped an offensive rebound from the hands of two Lancers defenders for a put back.
“We had to really get down and get on the rebounds in the second half and talk defensively,” the Duke-bound Calhoun said. “I thought that was the key to the game.”
Upper Room transfer Sydney Zambrotta turned a lot of those stops into points. She leaked out in transition and hit big jump shots to tally 12 of her 13 points after halftime. Scarbrough, who is headed to Siena, added 15 points. Emily Uribe tallied 22 points and Jackie Gallagher had 15 for Vianney (10-2), which made nine three-pointers.
“I had to amp up everything,” Zambrotta said.
The Royals (12-3) still had to sweat out the final minutes. Vianney pulled within 68-66 on a Katie Beriont layup with 15.6 remaining in the game. Calhoun buried two free throws and then got a piece of Uribe’s potential tying three-pointer as time expired.
“Could they have called [a foul]?” Mackey said. “Yeah, you probably could’ve, but you couldn’t get any better.”
The win is CK’s second after practicing just an hour Jan. 16 because of the snow earlier in the week. Pulling out victories in spite of it showed Mackey something about his team.
You have to be in those [tight] games,” Mackey said, “The more you get use to it the better you can be.”