December 23, 2007

Royals Walk Away with a W

Christ the King, of Middle Village, NY doesn't often win pretty, and the Royals' 59 -52 win over Brooklyn's Xaverian on Sunday was anything but attractive.

Ugliness notwithstanding, the victory was a significant one for the maroon and gold, coming on the road, over a CHSAA contender.

With alum Levance Fields - who hit a game winning three-pointer to lead Pittsburgh past Duke at Madison Square Garden on Thursday -- in attendance, Xaverian played Christ the King tooth and nail for the better part of the contest, but the Clippers could muster no answer when the Royals clamped down defensively late.

It was unclear how Xaverian would come out against Christ the King, with a disheartening loss to Wadleigh on Saturday fresh in mind. To their credit, the Clippers started strong, scoring seven of the game's first nine points. Christ the King, however, would punch back, rallying for a one-point lead, 15-14, at the end of one.

The second quarter brought evenly matched basketball, with Xaverian forward Filipp Bochkov and Christ the King forward Joe Nuss trading three-balls and Xaverian forward Joab Jerome and Christ the King forward Roland Brown swapping paint buckets. Heading into halftime, the Clippers trailed just 28-27, but with Royal stars Ryan Pearson and Erving Walker combining for only 12 points, one could sense that Christ the King had unused ammunition.

Pearson would make his presence felt in the third quarter, scoring seven and bullying defenders down low. The Royal defense would come through as well, keeping Xaverian off the board for the final 2:12 of the period. Christ the King took a 47-42 lead into the final stanza and it would slowly salt the game away from that point on.

A free throw by Xaverian guard Terrell Smith cut the Christ the King lead to 47-45 with 5:49 to go, but Pearson responded with a three-point play on a put back with 5:22 left, stretching the lead back to five. The Clippers never got closer than four points down the rest of the way.

Xaverian head coach Jack Alesi said after the game that while he didn't set out for moral victories on Sunday, he liked much of what he saw from his team in the closer-than-the-final-score-indicates contest.

"Our guys played hard," Alesi said. "We started making shots like we know we can. We played with them for three-and-a-half quarters. We just made some bad decisions late."

Pearson, despite scoring just five in the first half, led all scorers with 17 points, with Walker adding 15 for the Royals.

Xaverian's scoring attack was remarkably balanced, with only one player in double figures - Jerome with 10 - and four players notching between six and nine points apiece.

Christ the King currently ranked #7 by NYCHoops moves to 4-1 on the season, while #10 Xaverian falls to 4-2.

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