By Stephen Zitolo
Christ the King’s Dominique Toussaint put on a dominant performance against Archbishop Molloy in a rematch of last season’s CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens and New York Federation final.
Touissant had an extra load on her shoulders, with senior guard Sydney Zambrotta and sophomore guard Jaeonna Sutton getting into early foul trouble and sitting out portions of the first half.
The senior and Virginia-bound guard took on the added role as she led the Royals girls’ basketball team with 24 points and to a 65-52 win over the Stanners (8-4) Jan. 7. Senior center Ashlie Howell was a force under the basket and crucial to the victory as she chipped in with 17 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
“When you’ve got really good players they have to show up and play hard,” CK head coach Bob Mackey said. “They did. That was a good part”
However, “our defense didn’t really look good and I thought we were sloppy in the fourth quarter,” Mackey said. “That’s not the way we should play. It’s a long season and you have to do everything you can to get through.”
Even though Christ the King (10-2) won, Molloy (8-4) looked like the better team in the first quarter. The Stanners defense held the explosive Royals offense to only 14 points and made four three-pointers to take an 18-14 advantage. In the quarter Molloy’s junior wing Jenna Mastellone scored eight of her game-high 25 points, but they could not sustain the lead.
“We learned a lot ourselves. A lot of the kids have a lot more confidence and our kids needed some convincing that they’re great players too,” Molloy coach Scott Lagas said. “Christ the King goes on runs. We have to try to find a way to not let one mistake turn into many more mistakes.”
In the second quarter, Christ the King stole whatever momentum Molloy had. The Royals showed how deep their squad is, as they outscored the Stanners 22-6 in the quarter. They did so playing most of the quarter without Zambrotta and Sutton, who both had three fouls. Christ the King led 36-24 at the half behind 13 points from Touissant and 12 points from Howell. “Our coaches got on us about the little things and made us realize that we didn’t have the game in hand,” Touissant said. “There was a lot more game to play.”
Christ the King picked up right where it left off after the break, starting the third quarter off on a 16-6 run. It led by as many 22 as CK took a 52-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
Molloy took advantage of Christ the King’s foul trouble in the fourth and Mackey was not pleased with his team’s defense in the frame. The Stanners cut the Royals lead to as little as 60-49 with 2:06 remaining in the game, but Touissant would immediately she made a layup and converted the 3-point play to ice any chance the Stanners had at the comeback.
“We played our hearts out,” Mastellone said. “We have to build off this and beat Loughlin and next time we play King we will hopefully beat them.”
Christ The King picked up the win, while honoring its teams of the early 90’s by donning the squad’s retro jerseys. Those teams markee the beginning of the program’s rise to national prominence.
“This is an honor to ne wearing these uniforms because Chamique Holdsclaw wore these uniforms and it was Mackey’s first teams,” Touissant said. “It was great just to represent them.”