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CK claims state hoops crown

TimesLedger Newspapers

ALBANY — The Christ the King seniors took a moment to savor what they had accomplished.

They huddled near the bench after being taken out so other players could get a few minutes on the court in the Royals’ 73-64 win over Long Island Lutheran in the state Federation Class AA boys’ basketball title game Saturday night at the Times Union Center. The school’s third state crown and first since 2010 was the goal from the start. Now they had done it.

“We had to soak that [in],” CK point guard Malik Harmon said “We never felt that before. I don’t know. This is crazy.”

No senior put his stamp on the season and game more than New York State Mr. Basketball Jon Severe. He followed up scoring 40 points in the semifinal with a 28-point performance in the title game. It gives him the AA tournament record for points in one game. He has won two state titles and two city crowns in his career.

“It’s great,” Severe said. “Now I’m going to have a ring and come back to Christ the King next year and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was on that team.’”

None of this would have been possible without the contributions of stud freshman Rawle Alkins. He came off the bench late in the quarter after senior forward Jordan Fuchs picked up his fourth foul.

Alkins scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He hit two three-pointers and proved a reverse dunk in transition that got some oohs and ahs from the crowd. He was motivated when Long Island Lutheran’s Ketan Facey dunked on him in the second quarter.

“That woke me up,” Alkins said. “I just wanted to show my game, play my game.”

That’s what Christ the King did all season. The players didn’t let the expectations around them to win it all affect them. They played every game like they had something to prove until there was nothing else left to win.

“Even though we came as a favorite, we stayed humble,” said Harmon, who scored 13 points and verbally committed to St. Francis (Pennsylvania) last weekend. “We knew what we had to do to achieve our goals.”

Christ the King (28-3) narrowly led 38-35 at the half. It held Lutheran to just seven points in the third quarter as Severe and Alkins took over and led a 10-2 run to put the Royals up 48-37 with 4:03 remaining in the frame. Alkins’ trey with 44 seconds left in the third pushed it to 57-42 after three. Mical-Ryan Bold scored 19 points and Facey added 16 for the Crusaders (25-3).

“Everyone talks about his dunking. I’ve been telling everyone he can really pass and he can really shoot it,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said of Alkins. “I think today you guys understand he can really shoot it.”

Arbitello’s team proved it could really play with two dominant wins in the Federation tournament. The players celebrated with a mosh pile at center court, some dancing and plenty of smiles.

“I’ve been thinking about this moment since we got to the hotel, just wondering how it would feel,” Harmon said. “It’s just a great feeling right now.”

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