Think the Christian Brothers Academy basketball team played well last weekend in winning its first New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship?
In order to keep this dream season alive, Brothers coach Dave Doemel said his history makers will have to play at an even higher level today when they return to the Glens Falls Civic Center for a matchup with Christ the King.
The Royals of Middle Village, Queens, and the Brothers play at 3:45 in a Class AA semifinal game of the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions, with Boys and Girls of Brooklyn awaiting the winner for a Sunday title game at 3.
Section II hasn’t had a boys’ team win a Federation game since Schenectady’s 2001 Jason McKrieth-led edition knocked off William Grady, 55-52, before losing to St. Raymond’s in the Class A final. Section II’s only Federation champion was Watervliet in 1991, in Class C.
“They’re a very talented team,” Doemel said of the 24-5 Royals, who come out of the top-heavy Catholic High School Athletic Association. “They’ll present a couple of things we haven’t seen. They’re a combination of Newburgh Free and Half Hollow Hills West. They’ve got big, talented guys who will bang and push you around, and guards who can handle it and shoot it.”
CBA (24-1) shut down the star players it had to last weekend, including Newburgh Free Academy guard Marcus Henderson in a 60-41 state semifinal win, and 6-foot-9 Tennessee-bound Tobias Harris in a 71-53 championship-game victory. Christ the King has weapons all over.
“We can’t give their guys easy looks. If we do, they’ll burn us,” said Doemel, who will be going after his 200th varsity win at his alma mater. “Will we be up to the task of moving and rotating? I sure hope so. They have all the things we’ve seen before, just more of it. Let’s put into effect all of the things we’ve learned. We’ve got to react to their personnel.”
Christ the King has 6-8 Roland Brown, 6-7 Dominykas Milka and 6-5 Maurice Barrow across its front line, to go along with 6-4 shooting guard Omar Calhoun and 6-1 point guard T.J. Curry. Curry laid in his only basket for the deciding points with 40 seconds left in the Royals’ 81-78 triple-overtime CHSAA title-game win over Bishop Loughlin. Barrow collected 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Calhoun had 20 points and 11 boards to help the Royals make the Federation field for the first time since 2007.
Calhoun had 20 points, and Milka and Barrow combined for 19 points and 25 rebounds in Christ the King’s 68-55 CHSAA semifinal win over St. Raymond’s.
“I don’t think we can do what we did last weekend, but we have to be able to defend,” said Doemel, whose team held six straight opponents under 50 points before the NYSPHSAA final. “We’re in a tournament of champions. They’re not coming up here because they’re not playing well.”
CBA has been playing well, too, and was particularly impressive against pressure defense in both games last weekend. The Brothers will see more of that today from the quick and athletic Royals who also feature Terrel Hunt and Kareem Thomas.
“At the other end they’ll play some man and some zone, but the big thing that got them going against Bishop Loughlin was their press,” said Doemel. “They go with a diamond-and-one, and fortunately, that’s something we’ve practiced against a lot over the years because Schenectady uses it.”
Breaking through the Royals defense will help, yet Doemel believes the Brothers also must take advantage of their open looks. Galal Cancer, Kam Ritter and Max Weaver scored 19, 17 and 15 points, respectively, against Half Hollow Hills West, while Ritter came through with 25 on 8-for-10 shooting against Newburgh Free Academy.
“On offense we have to shoot better. We have to make a couple of shots,” said Doemel. “We’ll see if we can do that.”
Josh Dennis and Jack Reilly will join Cancer, Ritter and Weaver in the starting lineup, with Chaz Lott, Dan Cusato, Taylor Mulvey, Christian Signor and Joe Krong coming off the bench.
CBA will set a single-season record for wins should it get past Christ the King. CBA is ranked No. 1 in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Asociation ahead of Public School Athletic League champ Boys and Girls (28-5), Christ the King, Half Hollow Hills West (24-2) and Newburgh Free (18-3).
“If we beat them and get to play Boys and Girls, we’ll figure it out on the run,” Doemel said. “Right now I’m thinking, ‘Can we compete in the first game and keep it close? Can we limit their inside looks and contest their outside looks? Can we score some points?’ I know we’re going to hustle, but we also need to do a lot of things right.”
CBA is listed at No. 10 in the USA Today East Region basketball rankings. Half Hollow Hills West was ranked No. 18 in the USA Super 25, but was dropped from the national list this week following its loss to the Brothers.
Christ the King’s last loss came against Half Hollow Hills West, 73-69, when Harris had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocked shots, and the Royals have won six in a row since. CBA has won 17 straight since a 59-57 setback against Westhill, the NYSPHSAA Class B champ.
Christ the King lost its starting point guard, junior Division I prospect Corey Edwards, to a season-ending foot injury before beating St. Raymond’s and earning its fifth consecutive CHSAA championship game appearance.
Christ the King won its only boys’ Federation title in 1989 (Class A). The CK girls have won a record 14 Federation titles (Class AA, Class A), including 11 in a row from 1990-2000.
Bishop Maginn lost to Abraham Lincoln, 67-57, in its boys’ Federation semifinal game in March of 2008.
Michael Taylor scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Boys and Girls rallied to beat Cardoza, 55-50, and claim its first PSAL championship in 31 years. The Kangaroos, who made a recent appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, are coached by Ruth Lovelace.
AVERILL PARK WINS
Katie Duma scored 21 points, and Michaela Ottati added 16 Friday, as Averill Park beat PSAL champ Medger Evers, 58-34, in a Class A semifinal.
Duma also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the 25-1 Warriors, who play Melville St. Anthony’s for the championship this afternoon.
Pyle 1-2-4, Robinson 4-3-11, Carroll 1-0-2, Warner 1-1-3, Castle 4-3-12, Colon 1-0-2. Totals: 12-9-34.
Ottati 6-2-16, Bri. O’Shea 2-0-4, Duma 6-5-21, Bro. O’Shea 3-1-7, L.Nunziato 1-0-2, Streb 2-0-5, Dushensky 0-3-3. Totals: 20-11-58.
Medger Evers 10 10 8 6 — 34
Averill Park 10 14 24 10 — 58
Three-point goals: Castle, Ottati 2, Duma 4, Streb.
Categories: High School Sports