ALBANY, NY - When it was announced on Thursday that Long Island Lutheran's Kentan Facey had won the Gatorade Mr. New York Basketball, one person was seriously unhappy, Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello.
The coach believed his man, Jon Severe was the best player in the state, and used the slight in his mind as motivation to feed Severe. Clearly that worked as Severe broke the Boys AA single game scoring mark by putting up 40 points in a convincing 68-55 win over Bishop Kearney on Friday night in a Boys AA Federation semifinal.
From yesterday to all day today, Arbitello kept putting that thought in his mind. He was slighted. The goal was to make him mad, and provide inspiration according to the coach.
"At this point in the season you will find anything to motivate your kids. I mean I was annoyed he didn't win it because I believe he is the best player in New York State, but yeah whatever I could do to motivate him." Arbitello said.
It started from the opening tip. He got the tip and went in and threw down a one handed slam. That started the onslaught. He nailed a pair of threes, finished three and ones, and had an astounding 21 points in the first quarter to put his team up 12 after 1.
Severe had no doubt that kind of outburst was coming either.
"Yeah Coach kept saying how I deserved the Gatorade award and I ended up getting mad so my motor was running. I know I don't have to score like that but I said before the game I'm gonna put on a show to show everyone what I can do." Severe said.
A show he out on. 21 to start and 29 at the half before finishing with 40 before being subbed out with 3 minutes to go in the game.
It wasn't just him though. Malik Harmon played incredible on ball defense, Adonis Delarosa and Jordan Fuchs played tremendous defense against Thomas Bryant and Chinonso Obokoh of Kearney, and that was another aspect where Arbitello motivated players this week.
"I told them both. One kid is going to Syracuse, and the other is like one of the best sophomores in the county so show me what you got and I thought they both played fantastic."
Obokoh did finish with 15 and 11, but Bryant was held to 1 of 10 shooting and just 2 points.
Severe did end up getting one big award after all though. Towards the end of the game it was announced that he was named Mr. New York Basketball by the State, an honor that Severe says means even more to him, because no other Christ the King player has won it.
"This means so much. I am the first from here to win it, and I can always come back to CK and look at the trophy case and see my plaque and say yeah I did that. It's very special."
Along with Severe's 40, the Royals also got a great game from freshman star Rawle Alkins who continued to impress on both ends of the floor adding 13 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
The win was special but there isn't much time to celebrate as the Royals play Saturday night for the main goal, the Federation title against Long Island Lutheran, and Arbitello knows that is no easy matchup.
"They are well coached and are a great team to get to this point so we know it's a pick'em game. We just hope to come out on top."
As for Severe, he says the 'proving a point' days are now over, and he just has one thing on his mind.
"Now all I want is that ring. If I get that ring then I'll be happy."
Long Island Lutheran re-beats Abraham Lincoln
These two teams met earlier this year at LuHi with the Crusaders pulling out a 9 point win. Friday night the teams met again for the right to face Christ the King in the Federation Title game and behind the triple double of 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 blocks from Kentan Facey, Long Island Lutheran did it again in even more convincing fashion, 73-55.
In the first matchup Facey said the team struggled offensively, but today with some adjustments they got more of a flow going.
"We really pushed the ball better and our guards played very well and were able to get to the rim and do good things." Facey said.
Lincoln did have its moments though. Down 2 at the half, they looked poised for strong 2nd half, but it didn't materialize. Lincoln coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton doesn't believe his team had the passion or drive though to get this one.
"After the Garden and winning the PSAL title, I don't think we were focused on this game. We didn't practice well leading into here and it showed." Morton said.
Isaiah Whitehead, who finished with 21 points on the night, echoed those sentiments, sounding as though the team achieved all it wanted prior to this matchup on Friday.
"We didn't have the same feeling to win like we did against Jefferson last weekend. That's something hopefully knowing the importance of this tournament we will change next year." Whitehead said.
It wasn't just the Railsplitters not coming to play, it was the utter dominance inside and the guard's ability to get to the rim and create.
Getting this far is big for LuHi. Coach John Buck admitted that saying that this was what it is all about, but Facey said it more poignantly when talking about their championship matchup with the Royals.
"It's the top 2 teams in the state playing for the Federation title, I guess it doesn't get much better than this."
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