By Joseph Staszewski
Christ the King is trying to ensure history repeats itself.
The school’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are heading to this weekend’s state Federation tournament together for the first time since 2010. That year the Royals became the first program in New York State history to have both teams win Class AA Federation crowns in the same season.
CK has its sights set on a repeat performance.
“That was history,” boys’ star wing Rawle Alkins said. “To repeat history again would be special for the program.”
His team is hoping for an extra piece of history of its own. The boys are trying to make Christ the King the first school to win three straight boys’ Federation crowns at the highest classification as well as its fourth in the last six years.
“To be the first in history to do it is probably the best achievement possible,” junior forward Tyrone Cohen said.
Winning together is most important to the two squads. It has been the talk among the players since both punched their tickets to the Federation tournament, which begins on March 27 at UAlbany. The hope is for another big and happy photo opportunity.
“I don’t think it would be as fun if one of us loses,” said Dominique Toussaint, the girls’ squad’s junior guard.
Both get familiar opponents that they beat during the regular season. The boys face area rival Long Island Lutheran in the semifinals. The Royals have defeated the Crusaders the last four times they have met upstate, including in last season’s state final. The girls drew PSAL champion South Shore and McDonald’s All-American forward Brianna Fraser. CK girls’ coach Bob Mackey would much rather see a less familiar foe.
“Fraser has had a great season,” he said. “She’s really played well and [Coach] Anwar [Gladden] has done a great job with the role players. It’s nice that we have seen them, but I’m not comfortable with that.”
He is happy to have his team back in the Federation tournament after a four-year layoff. Many thought the CK girls would be looking for its 15th Federation crown at the highest classification last season. Mackey told this year’s group early in the season how much it bothered him last year that he was up in Albany as an athletic director and not a coach.
“It drove me nuts last year to be up there watching St. Anthony’s play and LuHi and Ossining, which were all teams I thought we could beat, and Francis Lewis,” Mackey said. “I thought we could have beaten all four of those teams, but we weren’t there.”
One of Coach Joe Arbitello’s biggest concern was that a bulk of his team wasn’t there playing a major role last season, other than Alkins. Even so, if this group needs any extra motivation this time of year it won’t be cutting down the nets again. He said he was getting chills thinking about what it would be like to have both programs win again like 2010.
“We would love to go up there every year together and have to figure out the coach bus and all that stuff because its fun,” Arbitello said.
He and Mackey know what its like to have both teams win. The player were in grammar school at that time and want nothing more to get their taste of that felling.
“It’s going to be fun,” said girls’ forward Kaela Kinder. “It’s going to be a really good experience to follow in the steps of other people.”