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Christ the King wins 13th CHSAA crown

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It’s been a game the Christ the King girls’ basketball team has wanted to get back to since it left the Glens Falls Civic Center last March. The Royals built their season around getting a chance to avenge their shocking 66-59 loss to PSAL powerhouse Murry Bergtraum, to start a new string of state Federation titles after their streak of 11 straight was snapped last year in the semifinals.

A day after the Lady Blazers punched their tickets to Glens Falls, Christ the King did as well, blowing out St. Peter’s, 80-47, at St. John’s University Sunday to capture their 13th straight Class A Catholic state championship.

The Royals receive a bye into the Class A state Federation championship game Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and will play the winner of Friday’s semifinal between Bergtraum and Catholic Central, the state public school champions.

“I really want this game more than anyone else on the team,” said senior Cigi McCollin. “We want to come back this year, play them and win. We’re not going to leave any doubt this time.”

That desire was part of the reason McCollin was in tears Friday at practice. The Hofstra-bound point guard turned her right ankle and collapsed in pain to the court at Alumni Hall. She cried tears of pain and frustration that she couldn’t help her team get back to Glens Falls.

Other than a cameo appearance with 2:16 left when Christ the King coach Bob Mackey brought her in and she limped to shoot technical free throws, McCollin could only sit at the end of the Royals’ bench and watch.

With 5:50 left in the second quarter, that’s where junior shooting guard Shay Doron could be found as well, as she picked up her third foul with the Royals clinging to an 18-17 lead.

“I thought, ‘Help,’” Mackey said of his first reaction to Doron’s third foul. “But I have a lot of confidence in our bench.”

Against St. Peter’s (24-4), reserve guards Lesley Dickinson and Toni Horvath and forward Tracy-Ann Holness were major reasons Christ the King rolled as the Royals’ bench outscored St. Peter’s, 32-3.

“I was really worried when [McCollin] went down, but we knew we had to step up,” said Horvath, who had eight points, six assists and five rebounds. “This has to be our best game of the season. We knew we had to come to play and it was a total team effort.”

Dickinson and Holness combined to score eight points during an 18-3 second quarter run that broke a 16-16 tie and put the Royals ahead, 34-19 with 1:32 left in the half.

Defensively, Christ the King (24-2) switched to a 2-3 zone when Doron went out of the game, which severely limited the Eagles’ ability to push the ball inside to Tiffini Rodgers (15 points) and Nicky Anolike (13 points, seven rebounds), who combined for 11 of St. Peter’s 13 first quarter points.

After leading by 15 at the half, the Royals extended their advantage to 28, 62-34, at the end of the third quarter as a three-pointer by Amanda LoCascio (14 points, five assists) capped a 16-2 run.

“It doesn’t end. They have so much depth, they go about 13 deep,” said St. Peter’s coach Bob Daggert, who was also limited in the second half because Anolike and St. John’s-bound Dana Peterson were in foul trouble. “They just keep coming. I don’t think they get smaller off the bench either, they get bigger.”

Holness had 20 points and was one of four Christ the King players to score in double figures. LoCascio and Dickinson had 14 points apiece and Candice Lindsay added 10.

As for McCollin, she is sure she will be ready Saturday for Catholic Central or a rematch with Bergtraum, which would be welcome news for her coach.

“I will play whoever,” Mackey said. “But the kids haven’t forgotten that game. We didn’t play a good game [against Bergtraum] and it came down to some dumb mistakes. I think we beat ourselves. The juniors and the seniors are very happy to be back [in Glens Falls].”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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