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Lisa Manetta did not play last season when the Christ the King girls basketball team defeated St. Peters in the CHSAA Class AA state championship game for a 14th straight year.
But with the Eagles rallying late in an attempt to win their first title since 1989, Manetta came up huge Sunday at St. Johns University.
The junior guard scored all eight of her points from the foul line in the fourth quarter to lead Christ the King to a 56-48 win over St. Peters and a 15th straight title in the teams 16th consecutive appearance, all against St. Peters.
In practice every day (Christ the King coach Bob Mackey) puts me on the line and gives me a chance to shoot in order for us to get a water break, Manetta said. I just went out there and shot foul shots like I know how to shoot them and thank God they went in.
The Royals, ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today, will face No. 3 Murry Bergtraum in the state Federation semifinals Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Glens Falls.
The game will be for the mythical national championship, since previous No. 1-ranked Chaminade-Julianne lost Saturday night in the Ohio state championship game.
Christ the King (26-1) won the same national title finishing atop the USA Today poll in 1993 and 1998.
The final USA Today poll comes out March 31.
The Lady Blazers, who defeated Francis Lewis March 17 to win their sixth straight PSAL title, have beaten Christ the King three straight years in Glens Falls, including the last two Federation championship games.
The winner faces Greece-Arcadia in the AA title game Saturday at 2 p.m.
I am just absolutely thrilled to get back to the state Federation tournament, Mackey said. I love going up there.
Led by the interior strength of 6-foot-4 Tina Charles (18 points, 12 rebounds) and 6-foot-2 Carrem Gay (17 points, five rebounds), Christ the King extended its seven-point halftime lead to 18 a minute, just a minute into the fourth quarter on two of Tynisha Davis 10 points.
Its better for us, Charles said of the Royals advantage in the low post, because we can do our thing down low.
But after scoring just four points in the third quarter, St. Peters (18-9) got within 42-36 with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter powered by Tennessee-bound Nicky Anosike, who scored a game-high 28 points, and capitalized on Christ the Kings uncharacteristic 22 turnovers.
After going 1-for-2 from the foul line, Gay corralled a loose ball on the ensuing rebound and dished to Charles for a layup. After one of St. Peters 18 turnovers, Manetta sank a free throw to put the Royals in front, 46-36, with 2:08 left.
I knew what we had at stake, Gay said. We wanted to go back to (Glens Falls) and we werent going to let this game stop us. We werent going to lose.
The closest St. Peters would get in the closing moments was 50-43 after a pair of free throws by Nicole Stefanski with 50.4 seconds left.
Its not fun, St. Peters coach Bob Daggert said of losing to Christ the King in the CHSAA state title game for a 15th straight year. (Christ the King) is a different team every year but so are we. I dont measure the success of our season in this game.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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