By Laura Amato
Joe Arbitello just wanted answers. One answer, actually. He wanted to know why he was being walked out of the gym at Bishop Loughlin Sunday.
He didn’t get his answer.
The Christ the King coach was ejected from the Royals’ game at Loughlin with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter. It was a moment that didn’t only leave Arbitello surprised, it left his team, which fell 88-72 to the Lions, searching for answers.
The loss snapped a seven-game win streak for the Royals.
“There’s people, not just from Christ the King, who have said they’re going to write it up to our officials of our league that I didn’t do anything,” Arbitello said.
“I didn’t say anything, I didn’t touch the [referee],” he added. “I don’t know why I got thrown out of the game. I wish I knew.”
The confusing moment came just after Loughlin took a 69–53 lead with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter – as Markquis Nowell found Keith Williams for a two-handed, alley-oop dunk. Arbitello called timeout after the play, but said he heard a referee call a technical foul on Christ the King (8-5, 15-7) point guard Jose Alvarado.
“I said, ‘What’s the tech for? What did Jose do?’” Arbitello said. “He said, ‘It’s not a tech, it’s a delay of game warning.’ I said, ‘Delay of game warning? It was a timeout.’ He said something about a previous situation and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ And then he ejected me.”
Arbitello was walked off the court by school personnel and could still be heard asking for a reason behind the ejection even as he moved out of the gym.
The decision didn’t just hurt the Royals in the moment either – Arbitello, who said he wasn’t sure if he will challenge the call, will be suspended for his team’s next two games as well. That includes hosting Archbishop Molloy at home this Saturday.
“If I start screaming at you and say something that’s so ridiculous, you can throw me out of the game,” Arbitello said. “I don’t know, I’m not really into getting techs. I’m as confused as you guys. It is what it is.”
Arbitello was quick to point out that one moment didn’t cost the Royals the game.
Christ the King was without junior point guard Tyson Walker and his absence outside hurt the Royals throughout the game as Alvarado tried to do a bit of everything.
The senior star finished with 20 points, while big-man Kofi Cockburn chipped in another double-double of 21 points and 10 boards.
It wasn’t quite enough, though, as Loughlin’s duo of Williams and Nowell combined for 51 points, setting the tone of the game and pushing tempo down the stretch.
“I thought we competed,” Arbitello said. “We had four sophomores on the floor and I thought [Loughlin] played really well. They made the plays that they needed to make.”
Christ the King did its best to rally late – Alvarado all but refused to come off the court in the fourth quarter – but Arbitello’s ejection certainly hurt the young squad. Now, the Royals have to figure out what to do next – and maybe get a few answers.
“I wish I could come out and you be looking at me like ‘You shouldn’t have said that, Joe,’” Arbitello said. “I wish that was the reason, at least then I would know, like, hey, I lost my cool and I said something I shouldn’t have said. But I didn’t say anything to him. I’m telling you.”