By Joseph Staszewski
A second straight comeback win against the Lions was not to be for Christ the King.
It came back from 17-points down to beat Bishop Loughlin late in the regular season, but after rallying from seven points down in the fourth it fell 77-71 in overtime to the Lions in the CHSAA Brooklyn./Queens boys’ basketball semifinals on Feb. 24 at St. Francis Prep.
The second seeded Royals could not close out the victory before heading to overtime tied at 61-61. CK held No. 3 Loughlin to just two points over the final 4:00 of the fourth quarter, but had just two of its own in the last 1:10.
“You got the ball tie score, you want to be able to put the ball in the basket, sure” Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. “We didn’t do it. We didn’t execute.”
The Lions (18-7) jumped out on CK (17-8) early in the extra session with an 8-2 run and the Middle Village school was unable to recover.
Christ the King did rebound earlier from some hot shooting by Loughlin guards Marquis Nowell (35 points) and Keith Williams (25 points). After CK built a 31-23 lead at the break, the duo combined to hit seven three-pointers n the second half. They fueled a 17-4 Lions run that put them ahead 50-45 early in the fourth quarter.
“They hit shots I haven’t seen them make, Keith and Marquis, just dribbling up to the three-point line and banging threes,” Arbitello said.
Loughlin lead by as much as 59-52 with 3:56 to go, before the Royals were able to rally. Jose Alvarado paced CK with 31 points, Tyrone Cohen scored 16 and Tracy Cleckley chipped in 15. CK was playing without second-leading scorer Jared Rivers (shoulder). Alvarado knows his club isn’t the same without Rivers on the floor.
“It’s tough,” he said. “He is a leading scorer, a spot up shooter. Whenever I drive he is there and we didn’t have that right now.”
The three-time defending city champions will be the No. 3 from Brooklyn/Queens in the intersectional playoffs and take on All Hallows in the second round on March 2. CK’s focused quickly shifted.
“It’s a tough loss, but we are looking forward to four in a row in the city,” Alvarado said.