MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY - Christ the King is ranked #2 in NYC for a good reason. They are able to adapt to their circumstances.
Tuesday's 72-59 win against #7 ranked St. Francis Prep was a circumstance that required an overdose dose of 7-foot center Adonis Dela Rosa. The senior's 21 points and 12 rebounds was too much for the Terriers to take.
"No one in the league has anything quite like Adonis," said Royal Head Coach Joe Arbitello. With Rawle Alkins still out with a bruised hip, Arbitello also looked to Dela Rosa and his bench to take up the slack.
Terriers 6'5" senior forward Brian Haggerty (14 points), who guarded Dela Rosa most of the time, put the Terriers on the board first but PG Andre Walker (16 points) countered. Turnovers gave the well-oiled St. Francis Prep machine the upper hand early with a 1 point lead at the 5:27 mark. A basket by 5'9" senior Michael Fields (15 points) in transition put the Terriers up 6-3.
Back-to-backs by 6'5" junior Travis Atson (19 points & 10 rebounds) quickly put the Royals on the upside of the lead, 8-6 with 4 minutes left in the quarter but 6'2" senior forward Jordan Santiago (4 points) scored for the Terriers with 5'10" junior point guard Shane Herrity (16 points) at the helm. A minute remained in the first quarter and Prep was ahead 12-8 but Dela Rosa would begin to make his presence felt with a rim rocking dunk with a minute left.
"When he stands still in one place and tries to post up, coaches in the CHSAA are really good so they're gonna know where he is and they're gonna double him," said Arbitello. "He's gotta be in constant motion not only on offense but on defense."
5'10" junior guard Connor Bacci (6 points) ended the quarter nicely for St. Francis Prep giving the Flushing, NY team 15-10 advantage to start the second quarter but Dela Rosa began to slowly put his footprint on the game.
The 7-footer moved well exploiting on both ends of the court as instructed by his coach which sparked a Royals run and they soon led 19-15 forcing Preps Head Coach Tim Leary to burn a time-out. The strategy for the Royals was clearly to dominate the boards while the Terriers sought to attack CK's frontcourt and score and/or draw fouls.
Midway through the third quarter, both strategies were in play but with 4:00, Christ the King led 25-22 as Dela Rosa feasted in the paint. Two minutes remained and the Terriers found themselves down by 8 as 6'1" junior Marcus Layne drained a trey.
The Terriers became unwound as the half closed as a pass from Atson to Tyrone Cohen (8 points) gave the Royals their biggest lead of the half at 11. A missed point blank lay-up by Fields as the half closed capsulized the final minutes of the second quarter.
Down 39-31, to begin the third, St. Francis Prep needed to contain Dela Rosa and use their speed as an advantage. Fields redeemed his end of half mishap with a nice up and under layup.
"Solid man to man defense, "yelled Coach Arbitello but Haggerty still managed to cut the lead to five.
Dele Rosa continued to do damage on the boards and with 6 minutes left in the third the Royals were back up by ten.
St. Francis Prep continued to battle as Herrity snuck in for a lay-up but overall, Dela Rosa and the Royals ruled the interior.
Dela Rosa took a break late in the quarter but the Terriers were unable to gain ground and trailed 58-45 as the fourth quarter began.
The big man returned to start the final eight minutes as the Terriers looked for a final push, cutting their deficit to 10. A lay-up on a curl by Herrity and the score was 62-54 with 5:06 but once again as they have throughout the contest, the Royals responded.
The Terriers' rim seemed to be covered with Teflon in the latter moments as shot after shot refused to drop. The Royals lead grew to 16 with 1:24 and St. Francis was too far back in Christ the King's rear view mirror to catch-up.