By Joseph Staszewski

Sierra Calhoun understands she isn’t only representing herself and Christ the King when she steps on the floor for the McDonald’s All-American game.

The Royals girls’ basketball star is part of a strong New York City contingent heading to the United Center in Chicago for the prestigious high school basketball all-star games that will be broadcast live on ESPN April 2.

Calhoun, who is headed to Duke in the fall, will be joined by fellow girls’ game participant Bianca Cuevas of Nazareth and Abraham Lincoln boys’ hoops star Isaiah Whitehead.

“New York City is definitely the mecca of basketball,” Calhoun said. “I think it’s great for us to have three going out there.”

She was also named the New York State Gatorade Player of the Year. It’s the same honor her brother Omar, now at UConn, received as a senior on the Christ the King boys’ team in 2012. The state Miss Basketball title unexpectedly went to Michelle Ruff, of Oneonta High School.

Calhoun was surprised by the snub but happy with the Gatorade nod.

“That’s a great honor,” she said.

Calhoun, a Duke signee, led Christ the King to a 21-4 record and a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens title this season. She is eager to experience everything that comes with being a McDonald’s All-American and will get to play with and against many of her USA basketball teammates. One of those experiences will be visiting sick children, who are being helped by Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“I love giving back to charities, meeting the younger kids and bringing some light to their day,” Calhoun said. “I know they will bring some light to my day.”

She takes pleasure in sharing this honor with Cuevas and Whitehead, whom she watched mature as people and players over the last four years. Their hard work is being rewarded.

“I’ve known all these kids,” Calhoun said. “I’ve known them since I was younger. So growing up that was everyone’s goal and their dream. McDonald’s All-American and we all got it.”

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