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Royals fall despite strong rally in opener against Bishop Ford

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Christ the King Coach Bob Mackey liked what he saw from his team in the middle of the game, cutting a 20-point deficit to just four in the fourth quarter.

“I loved the comeback,” he said.

It’s what happened before and after that led to the Royals’ 67-53 season opening loss to host Bishop Ford in CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens girls’ basketball Monday night. CK watched the Falcons open the game on a 12-0 run and close it on a 13-2 spurt. He pointed to seven missed free throws in the final quarter, sloppy play and turnovers, which plagued them early on as well.

“I think [the comeback] took a lot out of us,” Mackey said.

Junior wing Sierra Calhoun scored 20 points, including nine straight to open the fourth. Ford bottled her up early and foul trouble kept her on the bench more than she’d like. Classmate Kollyns Scarbrough tallied 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Shannon Barrett added eight points of the bench, but Mackey is looking for more contributions outside of Calhoun and Scarbrough.

The Royals got within 54-51 with 4:44 remaining in the game and didn’t score again until two Calhoun free throws with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Ford got a layup from Aaliyah Lewis (20 points) and a huge three-pointer from Jill Conroy (13 points) and never looked back. St. John’s-bound guard Aaliyah Lewis added 15 points.

“We had our momentum and let it slip away,” Calhoun said.

CK will play the early season without an experienced point guard. Last year’s starter, Alyssa Gatti, is still recovering from a torn ACL and should be cleared to run Friday, according to Mackey. Her backup, Amanni Fernandez, transferred to Lawrenceville (N.J.) prior to the school year and last year’s JV point guard Deja Johnson suffered a concussion during a scrimmage with St. Anthony’s and is out for a week. Kristen Drogsler is handling the duties for now.

“Right now it’s point guard by committee,” Mackey said. “We are going to be all right. It’s a long season.”

His club lost to Ford opening last season and fell in their first six games before going on to win the program’s 28th diocesan title in the last 26 years. The Royals will get a similar baptism by fire to begin this year, including a trip to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona. They feel they let a winnable game get away against Ford.

“We didn’t take advantage,” Calhoun said. “We made some silly turnovers, mistakes. All things we can get better at.”

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