GLENS FALLS, NY - Christ the King succeeded where the Newburgh Free Academy and Half Hollow Hills West failed.
On Saturday afternoon, the Royals defeated the Cinderella team of the Federation States playoffs, Christian Brothers Academy, 63-60, in the semifinals round of the tournament.
Anchored by solid play in the paint by 6-foot-6 center Dominykas Milkas (15 points & 9 rebounds), the NYCHoops.net #2 ranked Royals squad never trailed in a grind 'em out match-up with the #2 upstate ranked team out of Albany.
From the onset, it seemed as if the Royals were going to runaway as Kareem Thomas (8 points) kicked things off with a three-ball that sparked a 7-0 run. While Kameron Ritter (17 points) would finally put CBA on the scoreboard, Christ the King would go into the second quarter, up 12-5.
Omar Calhoun (15 points) and Milka would begin to tag team the Brothers inside and out early and extended the Royals lead to 11 points before 6-foot-7 Taylor Mulvey would score for CBA. With 6:28 left in the half, the Royals lead ballooned to 21-7 as CBA's rim seemed to have a cover on it.
6-foot-2 junior Galal Cancer (19 points) began to put up point from the charity stripe as Ritter was stymied by foul trouble and had to be subbed in and out.
When Ritter was in the game, he was somewhat effective and helped cut the Royals lead to 25-15 with 2:40 on the clock. Although a tech on CBA coach Dave Doemel took some traction off the Brothers progress, they finished only down 29-17 at the half.
As the third quarter began, CBA shot out the box as 6-foot-2 junior Matt Weaver (11 points) scored 5 quick points, cutting the Royals lead to 6 points. Another basket off a turnover by Maurice Barrow (5 points & 8 rebounds) followed by a basket from Ritter and CBA was only down 29-25 with 6 minutes left in the quarter.
T.J. Curry (8 points) would bring C.T.K. out of their lull, scoring a bucket with 5:11 in the third. Calhoun and Milka would weigh in to once again widen the gap to 42-33 as the fourth quarter began.
Joe Krong (3 points & 6 rebounds), a 6-foot-3 sophomore, would drain a trey to open the quarter as CBA made an 8-0 run to pull the Brothers to with 5 points of the lead.
Barrow would attack the paint for the Royals but Weaver and Cancer would counter. CBA would pull to with 3 points as Josh Dennis (5 points) would score after a steal with 5:50 remaining in the game and again after Ritter would score a jumper with 2:10.
Down the stretch, however, Calhoun and Milka would come up big, extending the Royals lead to 7 points with 58.7 ticks left. CBA would not recover and Christ the King would advance to the championship game against Boys & Girls HS.
Christ the King head coach Joe Arbitello said after the game that he expected a physical game. "They hit us, we hit them. I didn't think it was dirty or anything. I just thought it was two teams playing hard."
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