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CK girls best St. Peter’s for ‘A’ state title

Winning the state CHSAA Class A girls’ basketball championship hasn’t become old or boring for Christ the King senior point guard Amanda LoCascio. It’s just different.

“One year it’ll be a blowout and the next the game will be close,” said the George Washington-signee. “You never know.”

This year’s annual title tilt with St. Peter’s, the only other ‘A’ Catholic school in the state, was tight throughout but the Royals never trailed in a 63-58 victory at St. John’s University Sunday.

Next up for the Royals, who won their 15th straight CHSAA state crown, will be state public school champion Copiague (25-1) in the state Federation Class A semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center Friday at 1:30 p.m.

The winner plays defending Federation champion Murry Bergtraum, ranked No. 3 nationally by USA Today, in the Class A championship game Saturday at 3:15 p.m. The Lady Blazers won their record fifth straight PSAL crown Sunday, crushing Curtis 72-39 at Madison Square Garden.

A potential rematch with Bergtraum (29-0) has been something CK players have been looking forward to since last year’s 72-55 loss in Glens Falls.

“It’s really what’s been in the back of our mind, to get back for the last two years,” said Christ the King senior guard Lesley Dickinson, who scored a team-high 16 points and had 5 rebounds against St. Peter’s. “We want to go out on a high note and take what’s ours.”

Christ the King isn’t the only one hoping for a rematch.

“I’m looking forward to playing Christ the King again. They’re a good team and we’re a good team,” said Lady Blazers senior Crystal McFadden. “It seems like we still have to prove ourselves and our job isn’t complete yet.”

Added Carmen Guzman: “We have four top seniors but none of the top 100 McDonald All-Americans. We’re kind of mad about that. [Christ the King senior] Shay [Doron] is in, so we’re a little mad.”

But first the Royals, ranked No. 4 in the nation by USA Today, will have to deal with a quality Copiague team, led by UConn-bound Kia Wright.

“We’re not passing up on the first game. We have two games there and we want to win them both,” LoCascio said. “It’s what we waited for all season.”

LoCascio had one of her best games of the year against the Eagles Sunday. She had 13 points and 13 assists, including a dazzling behind-the-back pass to Dickinson that put the Royals ahead 11-4.

A 14-foot jumper by Dickinson capped a 9-0 run to put Christ the King (23-1) up 15-4, and it appeared the Royals would walk away with the title. But led by 6-foot-3 junior forward Nkolika Arosike, who scored a game-high 28 points, St. Peter's (23-2) hung with CK throughout.

But the Eagles struggled from the foul line, shooting just 57 percent (19-for-33), while Christ the King shot 67 percent (21-for-31).

“I’m proud of my kids, but I think we beat ourselves,” said St. Peter’s coach Bob Daggert. “We missed a lot of free throws and easy opportunities early on. We played hard and hung in, but you can't win a championship if you don’t make free throws.”

Despite the struggles of Maryland-bound Doron, who was a bit under the weather and scored all of her 4 points from the foul line, Christ the King used its depth, especially in the frontcourt, to control the game.

Candice Lindsay had 12 points and 6 rebounds and Corrine Turner added 7 points and 7 rebounds.

“I’m happy to be going back north, I love Glens Falls,” said Christ the King coach Bob Mackey. “Copiague is the focus. They’re a very good team, we don’t overlook anybody.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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