Royals narrowly escape Lions den
Omar Calhoun wasn't about to leave Brooklyn without a win. The Park Slope native was adamant about not taking a loss in "his" borough.
"I didn't want to lose," Calhoun said. "I can't come to Brooklyn, my house, and lose. This is Loughlin, but it's still Brooklyn. This is where I'm from."
The UConn-bound guard did everything in his power to will Christ the King to a win, scoring 20 of his 24 points in the second half to stave off Bishop Loughlin, 77-75 Friday night.
"I think he decided that we weren't going to lose, so he put us on his back and did what an All-American is supposed to do," Royals coach Joe Arbitello said.
Calhoun didn't do it alone though, as he was joined by junior guard Jon Severe in a game full of momentum shifts. Severe's 27 points were critical throughout, as he provided a lift time and again when the Lions were in danger of taking over the game.
Following a Royals scoring spurt to start the game, Loughlin pulled back into the first half with a stifling full-court press. Sophomore guard Khadeen Carrington was the catalyst and quite often the recipient of the turnovers created by the press.
Carrington continued his impressive play thoughout the second quarter, dazzling the home crowd with an abundance of impressive crossovers and cuts to the rim.
Just when the Royals were threatening to create a little breathing room in the the third quarter, Loughlin pushed back with an ample dose of sophomore guard Michael Williams and Carrington. Williams, who with finished with 23 points, was a force in the fourth, connecting on three 3-pointers in the quarter alone.
Loughlin's defense was especially effective down the stretch as their guards pressed CK into a plethora of turnovers. The biggest steal came off the hustle of senior Kevin Ravenell Jr., who passed the ball to Williams, who in turn passed the ball to a streaking Carrington for a layup that tied the game at 72-apiece with only two minutes to go. The play ignited the capacity crowd.
"In my three years with Christ the King, this is the loudest Loughlin crowd I've played in front of," Severe said.
Unfortunately for Loughlin (4-5), ranked No. 14 in New York City by MSG Varsity, it couldn't convert in the most critical moments, going 1-for-6 from the foul line in the final two minutes. The final minute became the most critical, and that's where Calhoun and Severe stepped in to secure the win.
While Calhoun hit two big free throws to give No. 5 Christ the King (6-3) a one-point advantage, it was a steal by Severe off a corner trap on Carrington (34 points) that sealed the deal.
A youthful lack of poise down the stretch was to blame for Loughlin's loss as they failed to make the critical plays in crunch time.
"They should be proud of themselves," Arbitello said. "I know they didn't get the W, but that comes with a little more maturity. I think people are really going to have to worry about them come playoff time."
Arbitello went on to say, "Those guys play hard. Eddie Gonzalez [Bishop Loughlin's head coach], he gets them going as hard as you could possible play the game of basketball. He does a great, great job with them."
The Royals have now won two straight following back-to-back tournament losses and hope they have some momentum they need to stay on top of the CHSAA Class AA standings.
"Now we're in league play, we don't want to lose anymore," Calhoun added. "If it was up to me, we wouldn't lose another game. We want to beat everybody from here on out."