Chris Taft Sparks Xaverian Win

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- Chris Taft collected 26 points, 5 blocks, and
scores of rebounds as Xaverian comfortably knocked off
Christ the King, 66-52, Tuesday night in the
Brooklyn-Queens CHSAA seeding round at St. Francis
After Xaverian mounted a 29-20 halftime lead,
bolstered by nine first half points by Taft on the
interior and eight points by athtletic senior wing
Shamar Green, Taft helped Jack Elisi's club maintain a
double digit advantage by bulling his way around
inside and earning a number of trips to the foul line,
and stepping up his intensity on the defensive end.
Taft swatted three Royal shot attempts over a three
minute spin during the third quarter, setting the tone
defensively. A pair of Green free throws and a drive
by Taft pushed Xaverian's lead to 13 at 42-29 with
2:40 to play in the third.
The Xaverian led would teeter around the double
digit mark thanks to Taft's blue-collar exploits
inside and Green's midrange game. Emerging junior
shooting guard Mitchell Beauford did everything in his
power to keep the Royals afloat, expertly weaving
through traffic on a number of occasions for acrobatic
finishes. Beauford was active off the dribble
all-night, knifing through the lane for points while
displaying excellent body control and an ability to
hang in the air and convert.
Nonetheless, with crafty point man Japhet McNeil out
of sync and the Royals generating little offense, Bob
Oliva's crew sliced the deficit down to single digits
only to see the lead balloon.
An Eric Martin turnaround jumper from the foul line
cut the lead to eight, with 4:32 left to play, and
after Xaverian responded, Mike Claxton's three sliced
the deficit to eight once again with less than three
minutes to play, but a foul line pull-up jumper from
Green, an expertly executed fast break that saw the
ball passed from Green to Shaun Wynn, who shoveled it
inside to Taft for two, and another successful fast
break gave Jack Elisi's team a 14 point cushion, at
58-44, and a bye into the second seeding round.
Taft was active on the interior all night. Christ
the King could do little to combat his size and
strength in the paint. Shamar Green tallied 15 points,
including a first half dunk over two defenders that
brought the crowd to its feet, while the Boston
University-bound Wynn added 11 points, kept in check
for most of the night by Beauford but using his size
and strength to maneuver for a handful of buckets
Beauford paced CK with 22 points, 15 in the first
half. The native of Long Island displayed first rate
slashing ability and as usual, a nose for the ball,
going up amongst the trees time and time again despite
his stature. Japhet McNeil added nine points on a
night where he could never really seem to get
untracked, while Mike Claxton and Justin Marshall
chipped in eight apiece.