The game plan for Queens Powerhouse Christ the King HS (9-5) was simple on Tuesday - win! Coming off a two-game losing streak, The Royals understood how necessary a 'W' was as well as how detrimental another loss could be.
"I would've hung myself if we didn't come out and play hard today", expressed a jovial Royals coach Joe Artibello. So with that said, CTK pounced on the St. Francis Prep Terriers early and extended an 11 point halftime lead to a 72-47 win.
Despite a sizeable halftime deficit, St. Francis did manage to show some fight in this game. They came out the gate in the 3rd quarter on a 7-2 run to bridge the gap to 6. Sharpshooters Mike Murray and George Hatzioonnides chipped in with 12 and 11 respectively. But it seemed as though the Terriers just didn't have enough on Tuesday to pull any closer, let alone take the lead. "I think we started to wear them down a bit", states Artibello. "I told [my team] that if we play them 94 feet, we'll wear them down and I don't think [St. Francis Prep] was prepared for four quarters of that."
The Royals were led by 6'5" guard Omar Calhoun, who's 19 first half points set the pace for his team's early surge. The wiry junior would match his jersey number in points with 21. He also received scoring support from backcourt mate and George Mason-bound Corey Edwards, who finished with 12 points and sophomore guard Isaiah Lewis, who ended the game with 10 points.
"This win was big", exclaims Lewis in response to what this win meant for the team's confidence. "We're coming off a loss to Xavarian so we're just trying to bounce back to that number one ranking." The defensive effort the Royals had in the 2nd half should do wonders for the team's buoyancy. The Royals outscored St. Francis in the last two quarters 33-19. "The one thing about these guys is they have too much confidence", jokes Coach Artibello. "I don't think their confidence was ever hurt."
The Royals have very little time to actually celebrate their blowout victory. CTK will do battle with another New York powerhouse from the Bronx on Friday when St. Raymond's High School pays them a visit.
NYCHoops.net has St. Raymond's ranked #7 in New York City, 2 spots behind the Royals. A game of this magnitude will be a measuring stick for CTK. "We're Christ the King and we should be able to compete every year for a city and state championship", expressed Artibello. "I'm not saying anything less would be a failure, but that's got to be your goal."