BY ROBERT ELKIN
Make it a three-peat for Christ the King Regional High School’s boys basketball squad.
For the third straight year, the varsity Royals captured the Intersectionals title, capturing the CHSAA title with a 59-56 victory over Xaverian High School. Christ the King advanced to the New York State tournament, which begins a week from Friday in Albany.
They’ll be joined in Albany by the Lady Royals, who also captured the city championship and advanced to the state girls basketball tournament.
Led by Coach Joe Arbitello, the Middle Village boys brought home the 2013 and 2014 titles with little surprise, but fought a tough battle with Xaverian to take their third title in a row.
“We had to overcome a lot to win this game,” said Arbitello, whose squad posted a 25-4 record. Credit went to the whole team, including its star player, Rawle Alkins, who was named the CHSAA most valuable player.
Alkins, as it happened, missed the start of the game, as he got stuck in traffic on the way to Fordham University for the championship game. Despite the worry from players and fans alike, Alkins eventually arrived and made contributions toward the Royals’ win.
“I came ready to play,” he said. “It was amazing. No one team has ever won three city championships in three straight years.”
Rebounding was the key to the wins for the entire season, but they didn’t show it during the championship game, as Xaverian out-rebounded them, 32-26. Otherwise, it was a well-balanced team effort turned in by the Royals, who were led by seven caroms off the boards by Tyrone Cohen. Alkins led all the scorers with 21 points.
“We show very good teamwork and play very good defense,” said assistant coach Gene Schatz. “We should be able to win the close games.”
The Royals played tremendous basketball during the season and next year there is no reason why they can’t win for the fourth time. The junior Alkins is playing at the top of his game, reaching a game-high 37 points at one point during the season.
With Alkins set to return and 10 underclassmen scheduled to move up to the varsity squad next season, the foundation for a four-peat appears to be in place.