basketball Edit

Royal Split for Christ the King @ Hoophall

Brandon Gardner levitated high above the rim, plucked an inbounds lob pass out of the air and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk which gave Christ The King a 39-37 lead over Pace Academy (Ga.) in London, England on Saturday.

Gardner's ferocity bolstered the momentum for CTK and simultaneously led to a pause in play, as the dunk ripped off a piece of the backboard. Arena personnel went on to fix the issue and play eventually resumed.

UCLA-commit Brandon Williams hit a baseline jumper and then turned in a conventional 3-point play with four minutes left in the third quarter. Devin Vanterpool then finished a hard drive-in traffic for another traditional 3-point play.

Williams got free for a layup that capped a 10-2 run to close out the third quarter, as CTK seized a 50-39 lead. It was this run that set the tone, en route to a 63-56 victory during the consolation game of the Hoophall International.

Williams scored a game best 22 points, showing the inside-outside skill set and versatility that made him such a unique recruit.

CTK bounced back after an irregular performance during a 56-31 pummeling at the hands of No.3 Paul VI in the season opener.

Coach Joe Arbitiello's team pressed early and often and defensive energy keyed CTK during that third quarter run. While they outscored Pace 17-10 during that quarter, confrontational defend from Dwayne Pierce, Vanterpool and Gardner was equally as critical.

Pace withered under the pressure, struggling mightily on the offensive end before putting together a spirited fourth quarter rally.

Christ The King found it's rhythm during the second quarter.

A traditional 3-point play from Taheen Oliver Jr. and a straight away 3-pointer from Markell Alston capped a 7-2 run, as CTK seized a 25-21 lead.

Pace answered by rattling off five consecutive points, albeit a pair of Williams free throws and a 15-foot jumper from Vanterpool and a putback bucket from Qin Pang allowed CTK to develop some offensive rhythm and momentum. They took a 33-31 lead into halftime.

Gardner's length and agility was evident in the first half. The St. John's-bound forward blocked and changed shots, attacked the glass, and provided stick back buckets.