MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY - Ranked No. 3 in New York City and No. 49 in the RivalsHigh 100, Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King was on a high, pulling off an impressive win against High Point (N.C.) Westchester Country Day during the holiday weekend's Hoophall Classic.
On Tuesday, the Royals came home to continue their in-league schedule against Xaverian, a Brooklyn team on the bubble.
Four quarters later, CTK would shockingly find themselves on the wrong end of 60-56 loss to the Clippers.
The Royals started off with business as usual. A 3-pointer by 6-3 senior, Terrel Hunt (7 points) would spark treys by T.J. Curry (8 points) and a turnaround midrange jumper by Chris Ortiz (8 points) that would put CTK up 11-3 with 5:04 left in the first quarter. Another 3-ball by Omar Calhoun (10 points) and the Royals seemed to be comfortably ahead by 11 points.
But comfortable is matter of perception. 6-3 senior Travis Gill (19 points) and 6-5 senior forward Manny Thomas (9 points) quickly began to erase the Royals advantage and 3-pointer by Gill reduced the Royals lead to 18-14 going into the second quarter.
Brian Bernardi (12 points) began to heat up and a 3-pointer at the top of the quarter capped off a 14-4 Xaverian run. Ahead 18-17, 6-6 sophomore, Jordan Fuchs (8 points) and Calhoun would extend the Royals lead. George Mason bound point guard, Corey Edwards (6 points) began to facilitate his teammates and a pinpoint pass to Hunt in the paint reestablished CTK's point spread to 7 points with 2:59 remaining in the half. Xaverian would close out strong as 5-5 junior Dillon Burns (12 points) began to score from the perimeter along with another trey by Gill, shaving Christ the King's lead to 31-28 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Clippers became more aggressive offensively while the Royals performed poorly in transition and started to rely on their perimeter shooting even though the percentage was decreasing. With 5:38 in the quarter, 6-2 senior Greg Civiletti (6 points) scored from the arc to pulled Xaverian to within a point. With the momentum shifting, Thomas would capitalize and score back-to-back, giving the Clippers their first lead at 34-31. Bernardi would soon after net another triple which prompted CTK head coach to call a timeout to stop the Clippers 9-0 run.
Isaiah Lewis (6 points) looked to spark the Royals as he scored on a floater but Thomas would drive hard to the hole, drawing a foul in an effort to douse CTK's fire. Another bucket by Lewis and a trey from the corner by Calhoun and the Royals once again had the lead by a point. Gill would answer for Xaverian as he drew and went 1 of 2 from the charity stripe to tie the game at 42 with 57.4 seconds left in the third. Off a Royal turnover, Gill would score again giving the Clippers a 44-42 lead as the final quarter began.
Early in the quarter, a three by Calhoun gave the Royals a brief lead but the Clippers were relentless. 6-6 junior Shakeel Kemp (2 points) provided a charge for the Clippers who regained the lead. While Christ the King would tie the game on a few occasions, the Clippers were always within a few points of an upset.
With Thomas and Gill clogging up the paint on defense, the Royals chose to continue to live or die from the perimeter. CTK head coach Joe Arbitello urged his team cut down on the outside shot and with 1:36 left in the game, Calhoun scored on a strong move to the rim in which he scored and drew the foul. While Calhoun missed the and-1, CTK had a 54-53 lead. Gill would answer on the following possessions, giving Xaverian the lead. The Royals had a chance to take back the lead, but two misses from the outside led to a Clippers rebound and a timeout by Xaverian head coach Jack Alesi.
The Clippers inbounded the ball and CTK defended well, but not well enough. The shot clock was about to expire when Burns nailed a clutch 3-ball to put Xaverian ahead by four points with 18.7 seconds left in regulation. Calhoun looked to cut the Clippers lead to one but his shot missed its mark. The Royals retained possession though with 6.4 seconds off an offensive rebound. Curry would score quickly but there was less than one second left. Lewis fouled Bernardi on the inbound. The sharpshooter would be pure from the foul line and the upset would be complete.
In Other Action:
In another stunner, New York City's No. 1-ranked Abraham Lincoln suffered its second loss of the season to unranked South Shore, 65-62.
No. 2 Boys & Girls topped Robeson, 76-67.
No. 4 Cardozo defeated Thomas Edison, 83-71.
No. 6 Wings Academy cruised past Truman, 92-44.
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