BROOKLYN, NY - Everyone knew Friday's game between the Bishop Loughlin Lions and the Christ the King Royals was going to be physical and intense but what started out as physical would crescendo into a dangerous climax.
The Lions finally get the monkey off their back and come away with a slim 76-74 home court victory over a Royals squad that they haven't beaten in a few years. The unfortunate and unexpected byproduct of the game is that one player would end up in the hospital while the other would end up ejected from the game. "I knew the game would be intense but I didn't think it would be this intense," said Loughlin guard Khadeen Carrington
Midway through the third quarter and up by five, Mike Williams (14 points) looked to punctuate Loughlin's lead with a posterizing dunk on Christ the King's 6'11" center Adonis Dela Rosa (7 points). As the Rutgers-bound sharpshooter rose up to sling it, Dela Rosa nailed him in what would be deemed a fragrant level 2 foul.
After the hit, Williams crumpled to the court below, landing almost head first. Chaos ensued as angry Bishop Loughlin family members, fans and players rushed the court. The crowd was quickly subdued and luckily one parent was a nurse who attended to Williams as he laid face down coughing. The fallen star remained motionless for about 5 minutes before being taken into the locker room in a daze.
Carrington said that the tension between the two players had been escalating for a while. "Since last year, [Dela Rosa] has been trying to go at Mike," he said. "I don't for what reason but that was beyond hard. I didn't like that at all."
Royals head coach Joe Arbitello said the tension was increasing, even before the incident, with trash talking starting even before the tip-off ."We were at fault as much as they were at fault." Arbitello said that both he and Loughlin Coach Ed Gonzalez agreed that the next time a player crosses the line, he would have to sit. Soon after the pact, the fragrant foul occurred. Arbitello labeled Dela Rosa's actions, "childish behavior."
Completely overshadowed by the incident was a hard fought win by Bishop Loughlin with their Seton-Hall bound guard leading the way. Carrington's 26 points would put the senior over the 2000 point mark. The milestone elevated Carrington to Lions all-time leading scorer status and amongst the top ten in CHSAA history.
"I wasn't even thinking about that," Carrington said. "I had to take over the game. I didn't have Mike there to knock down shots so I had to takeover." In addition to his offensive burst, Carrington also credits the win on his team's defense.
Loughlin withstood an early surge by the Royals and led by 2 points to start the second quarter. Dela Rosa buoyed by teammates Rawle Alkins (23 points) and Travis Atson (19 points) kept Christ the King in the hunt but Carrington knotted the game at 23 scoring his 1999th and 2000th point from the foul line with 5:32 left in the half.
Both teams banged and barked as two double-techs were handed out even before the third quarter began but Carrington and Williams gave Loughlin a 40-35 lead scoring 14 points apiece at the midway point.
Loughlin maintained their lead throughout the third quarter and was building momentum. That momentum was abruptly interrupted with 4:31 left in the quarter as Williams was leveled by Dela Rosa and the senior center was leveled with a flagrant foul."We lost a 6'11" guy that makes us more physical," said a disgusted Arbitello.
With about 2 minutes remaining in the quarter, Williams came out of the locker room with a bandage around his head. Carrington said he immediately scored a couple of baskets when his teammate emerged. "I called him over and said be strong. We're gonna get this "W"."
Carrington said he couldn't repeat what he said to his teammates but divulged that they were fired up after he finished talking to them."Khadeen was fired up," confirmed Jayvian Delacruz (15 points) who drained a trey to give the Lions a 62-53 lead at the end of the third quarter. "He said we can't let these guys do this in our house."
The Lions increased the lead to 11 points before the Royals made a push as point guard Andre Walker (15 points) tried to help fill the void left by Dela Rosa's absense. Atson battled inside and got their deficit down to 5 points 2:14 left in regulation. A three-ball by Alkins with 44.6 seconds sliced Loughlin's advantage to a deuce but Delacruz, who Coach Gonzalez called "the X-factor", countered with bucket. Walker would draw a foul and get to the charity stripe with .5 seconds and although he went 2 for 2, it would be too little too late.
Coach Gonzalez applauded his team's maturity especially under the circumstances and predicated the win on their belief that they could in fact, win. "A year ago we wouldn't have made those plays," said Gonzalez. "That's what happens when you have a veteran team."
Coach Gonzalez said that Williams passed the concussion test but will most likely receive stitches in his head and rechecked at the hospital. As far as the penalty assessed to Dela Rosa, it could be up to a two game suspension but will be determined by the league.
Bishop Loughin has a re-match at Christ the King on February 9th