BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – In the first two games of the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic, it appeared Christ the King had turned a corner after a disappointing home loss to Boys & Girls.
The Royals were doing a better job of sharing the basketball and their guard triumvirate shared the scoring load.
But that changed Friday night.
“We all played selfish today,” junior guard Jon Severe said. “In the first two games we played great and this game, everybody tried to be an MVP and we lose by .”
The result was a stunning 73-41 loss to Neumann Goretti (Pa.) in the tournament’s title game at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
One night after Omar Calhoun, Isaiah Lewis and Severe combined to score 68 of Christ the King’s 76 points in a semifinal win against Wings, Calhoun and Lewis were a combined 5-of-29 from the field as the Royals shot 27.5 percent from the field.
“In the other games, coach gave us the pep talk and we have to play together,” Severe said. “Everybody was happy, [guys] had their double-doubles, double digit [scoring] and now we look like back when we played Boys & Girls.”
Severe led Christ the King (4-2) with 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting, a rare bright spot in an otherwise dreadful performance that resulted in a rare 32-point blowout.
“When we play together and play like a team, we’re very good,” Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. “But when we play selfish, it affects every aspect of the game for us.”
Hungry to avenge an overtime loss in last year’s Villa Classic at the Palestra, Neumann Goretti (7-1) raced out to an 8-0 lead and never took its foot off the gas.
The Saints shot 43.9 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc in the second half.
“It was a unique opportunity for us to come here, we lost to Mount Vernon and Christ the King last year in close games,” Neumann Goretti coach Carl Arrigale said. “We weren’t thrilled with the draw, but we knew if we could beat Mount Vernon, we’d have a chance at them…I’m glad it meant that much to them because now I know where we’re progressing to. We’re going to be a tough out.”
No one wanted revenge more than Billy Shank, who made up for a missed layup late in last year’s loss to the Royals in a big way. The senior guard, who earned co-tournament MVP with teammate John Davis, had 14 points and was 4-of-9 from 3-point range.
“Honestly, there wasn’t nothing more I could ask for in the world than to play them because of the comments they made after the game,” Shank said. “I go on the Internet and still see ‘Billy Shank missed a layup.’ Hopefully this will cover it.”
Davis had a game-high 18 points and La’Quan Coaxum had 15 points and eight rebounds for Neumann Goretti, which outrebounded Christ the King, 35-22.
The Royals have no time to lick their wounds. After a three-hour bus ride to Queens on Saturday morning, they’re back on the road New Year’s Day to take on nationally-ranked Chester at Widener University in Chester, Pa.
“If we come out and do the right thing against Chester, then we know maybe we bought into what we’re doing,” Arbitello said. “I’m happy we’re playing Chester there on Sunday. I’m very happy about that.”
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