ALBANY, NY - There is a tradition of winning at Christ the King, but for as many city titles as they have, the Royals only had 2 Federation titles coming into Saturday night's championship game against Long Island Lutheran.
Again it was Jon Severe who set the tone for the game by hitting a three to open the scoring. LuHi had their moments, but with Severe leading the way, it was never really a doubt with the Royals bringing home Federation championship #3 beating the Crusaders 73-64.
When you have Severe on your side like the Royals do, things can sometimes look easy. He buried 10 points in the opening quarter to again put his stamp on the game, but scoring 40 again wasn't in his plans. Getting the quick start like his dunk to being the night before though, that he says was.
"Yeah I wanted to get off early. I had to shoot a three because I was too far for a dunk so I shot it and I knew it was going in." Severe said.
Malik Harmon was also hot early on. The fellow senior who is committed to St. Francis (PA) did a great job beating defenders off the dribble and scoring a pair of pull up jumpers early on. It was a 19-11 lead after 1 for CK.
LuHi turned up the pressure and intensity in the 2nd though with Kentan Facey scoring 9 points in the period and doing a nice job backing in and finishing with a short hook. Severe continued to be a thorn in the Crusaders side though scoring 19 in the 1st half, but the Royals lead was chipped down to 38-35.
Late in the 2nd quarter Facey through down a 1 handed slam that woke up the crowd, it also woke up freshman Rawle Alkins who was the one Facey dunked on. Facey inadvertently woke the sleeping giant.
"When Facey dunked on me it woke me up and made me want to show off my game." Alkins said.
That's exactly what he did scoring 10 in the 3rd including a crazy windmill like dunk to open the game open a bit. That dunk propelled CK on an 11-2 run to make it a 57-42 Royals lead after 3.
Mical-Ryan Boyd scored the first 4 of the 4th to close the deficit to 11, but Alkins put in another slam, and then Severe started to feed the ball to his teammates as the Crusaders started really focusing on him. Harmon and Adonis Delarosa were the beneficiaries of Severe's unselfishness and the lead grew back up to as much as 18. The Royals made substitutions late to get bench players time in the game, and closed out to win 73-64.
It was another Severe special with him pouring in 28 points, but it was the teammates who Severe so clearly appreciates that he wanted to heap the praise on after the game.
"Everybody had a big game today. I didn't want to score 40 because I wanted others to shine. I got great teammates who support me and it's important to acknowledge them."
Harmon had 13, while Alkins added 12 for the champion Royals.
That's the character shown in Severe. A star who wants others to get the attention. Severe, who didn't get a lot of the attention earlier on in his career could've opted for quicker playing time by bolting the Royals a year or two ago, but he didn't instead choosing to stay at Christ the King which CK coach Joe Arbitello says speaks wonders about the person he is.
"Unlike a lot of kids in NYC who can't wait or be patient and transfer all over the place, Jon waited and looked at the outcome." Arbitello said.
Satisfying in many ways for the Royals. A 2nd Federation title for Arbitello, but for Alkins it was a true coming out party if he didn't have one already. The magnitude of the game made him hungry for the future he said.
"I love it, this feels amazing. I want to get another next year." Alkins, the future of CK said.
On the flip side, LuHi coach John Buck understood that when it's not your day you can only tip your cap.
"I'm racking my brain about adjustments to make but sometimes a team is just really good and tonight was one of those nights. They played amazing and you have to give them all the credit." Buck said in classy fashion.
For his Crusaders they were led by Boyd who finished with 19, while Facey finished with 16 and 7 rebounds.
It's a fitting end for Severe and the Royals though. They swept it all. Brooklyn/Queens title, City title, and now Federation title in an amazing run, and Severe may have summed it up best.
"Good things come to those who wait. This is an amazing feeling that I'll never forget."