LuHi Edges Christ the King in 4th
MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY - The storied rival of Long Island versus New York City teams has always been the stuff of legends. Saturday’s game between L.I. Lutheran and Christ the King did not disappoint. While LuHi is ranked #1 in Nassau/Suffolk county, the Crusaders, currently ranked #8, have had a tough season of highs and lows.
A win for CTK re-sets the narrative that the Royals are peaking at just the right time. With about thirty seconds left in regulation, everything was coming together. Keeping L.I. Lutheran off balance for a good portion of the game, CTK was ahead. Moments later, somehow, LuHi came from behind to pull off a 55 – 52 victory from the jaws of defeat.
The rapid reversal of fortune was due to the clutch fourth quarter play of 5’11” point guard Jaylen Reid ‘23 who scored 9 of his 24 points in the decisive moments of play for the come from behind win. “We were struggling to guard [Christ the King] in man [to man defense],” said Lutheran head coach John Buck.
The Royals set the tone from the tip off with perimeter scoring from 6’3” Devin Vanterpool ‘23 and interior buckets from 6’8” Qinfong Pang ‘24. Unable to gain ground, LuHi found themselves down 26 – 22 at the half.
The Brookville, NY Independent school was still unable to gain ground at the top of the third quarter and it appeared as if Christ the King could do no wrongs punctuated by a buzzer beating by Brandon Williams at the end of the quarter.
The Crusaders increased its advantage to double digits early in the final quarter but increased defensive intensity spearheaded by the play of 6’2” Dylan Goodman ‘22 began to reduce the deficit. A three-ball by Reid finally put LuHi on top by a point with 4:10 left to play.
The lead swayed back and forth as both teams fought valiantly down the stretch but missed buckets and free-throws by CTK along with Reid’s offense carried LuHi over the finish line. It was a game of inches between two teams that will be a problem for any competitor going forward.
While Christ the King came up short, it was still a step in the right direction according to head coach Joe Arbitello. “The Royals are dangerous now,” he professed.
“It was a crazy win,” said Coach Buck. "A Great win against a storied program. They battled it out. It was great.”