The Christ the King Royals of Middle Village, NY faced a tough challenge, as they had to go into Brooklyn to take on a physically imposing and talented Bishop Loughlin Lions. An even larger obstacle was put in the Royals' was way when their best defender, Sean Johnson, picked up two technical fouls last week and was forced to sit out for two league games. Loughlin went into attack mode early, as they were able to force turnovers and convert them into buckets, as they were able to take down the Queens school 96-83.
Coach Bob Oliva's Royals didn't exactly get off to a phenomenal start against the Brooklyn school, as they were pulled into the chaotic style that Loughlin enjoys playing. If they weren't scoring in transition, the Lions threw the ball down low to 6'7" sophomore Jayvaughn Pinkston and Drexel-bound forward Kevin Phillip. A tip-in by Bishop Loughlin sophomore guard Doron Lamb at the first quarter buzzer gave head coach Khalid Green's squad a 19-14 advantage.
The second quarter turned into the James Johnson show inside the Brooklyn gym, as the guard that is headed to play for coach Tom Moore at Quinnipiac next season helped to extend Bishop Loughlin's lead with his lights-out perimeter shooting and his ability to muscle his way to the basket. A jump shot by Johnson with 5:03 left in the first half gave the Lions a 27-18 lead, which would soon be extended.
George Mason-bound forward Ryan Pearson was the only offensive threat in the first half for Christ the King, as he finished a number of tough, acrobatic shots inside for the Royals. However, Pearson's offensive display simply wasn't enough for Oliva's team, as the Lions were able to pull away in the second quarter on their way to a comfortable and dominating 43-25 halftime lead.
James Johnson led the way for the Lions in the first half with 14 points, while the sophomore Lamb chipped in with 9 points. Pearson led the way for the Middle Village school with 13 points, but fellow senior Erving Walker was virtually non-existent during the opening half and only chipped in with 2 points for the Royals.
Christ the King began the third quarter as they played for much of the second: undisciplined and sloppy. However, the consistently on point perimeter shooter, Erving Walker, got into a groove and helped the Royals slowly but surely chip their way back into the ball game.
However, Loughlin was able to answer many of the Royals' baskets back with buckets of their own to prevent a major run by the Queens team. A Ryan Pearson leaner off the glass with 1:25 left in the third quarter cut the Loughlin lead to 66-52. The mood of the game for the Royals would soon turn right back around, as after a foul on the Royals was called, the 6'6" Pearson picked up a technical foul for allegedly bumping a Lions player. The Lions went into the fourth and final quarter with a 73-57 lead following an impressive catch and jump-shot in mid-air fell through the hoop for 6'1" wing-guard Anthony Martin.
The Royals went on an 8-0 run to open the final session, capped off by a Walker three pointer to cut the Loughlin lead to 73-65. The Lions delivered a counter-punch to the collective jaw of the Royals, as the blue-chip sophomore Pinkston put in a lay-up and was fouled in a process to keep the Brooklyn school in control on the very next possession. Later in the quarter, senior guard Devon Elliott knocked down a long three-pointer to give the Lions a 82-65 lead and put way the Royals. The Brooklyn squad was able to hold on from there and won the Wednesday night affair by a 96-83 score.
Doron Lamb led all scorers with 31 points while back-court mate James Johnson chipped in with 14 points in the winning effort. Erving Walker had a 19 point second half and finished with 21 points, while Ryan Pearson led the Royals with 28 points.
Following the game, Bishop Loughlin coach Khalid Green came away impressed with his sophomore Doron Lamb, but claimed this type of performance was nothing new for his young guard. "When he's on that court, he's in his own oasis," said the head man of the Brooklyn school after his team's win. "We really came to play today. The guys really played with a chip on their shoulder during the game," added Green.
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