Rice was the defending CHSAA city and state champion, ranked No. 12 in the country by USA Today.Christ the King was last year's runner-up in both playoffs and ranked No. 19. The paper even listed it as its national game of the week and it was standing room only at Gauchos Gym in the Bronx.The rivals, considered to be the top two teams in the CHSAA this year, have played some classics the last few years.But Friday's regular season meeting wasn't one of them. Rice dominated Christ the King, cruising to a surprisingly easy, 68-49 victory."It was well anticipated, this game. Both teams were dying to play this game," Rice coach Mo Hicks said. "It was a great win for us."Not only did Rice flex its muscle and prove it is the favorite to win the CHSAA again, but it silenced CK's highly touted Division I backcourt of Malik Boothe (St. John's) and Erving Walker (Florida).Rice's Kemba Walker wasn't surprised."They're good, but I knew we were the best backcourt, we're bigger and I think we have more heart," said the junior guard. "We've been doing this all year long."Sophomore Lamont "Momo" Jones and junior Chris Fouch scored 17 points apiece and Walker added 10 for the Raiders, who lost their entire starting five - including three Division I players - to graduation last year.Erving Walker had 17 points, but was held to just four points through the first three quarters. Junior forward Ryan Pearson added 12 points for the Royals, who take a two-game losing streak into the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinals scheduled for Wednesday at Bishop Ford."The whole plan was to stop Erving," Jones said. "We knew they couldn't win if Erving wasn't getting the ball and setting them up. So we focused on stopping him."Rice (21-2) frustrated Christ the King with its stanch defense and pulled away late in the second quarter. The Raiders led 27-18 at the half and went in front by 18, 43-25, on a Fouch three-pointer in the third quarter.Erving Walker attempted to carry Christ the King (20-4) on his shoulders in the fourth quarter, cutting the Royals' deficit to 57-47 on a three-pointer with 3:21 left, but that was as close as the Royals would get."They were more aggressive than us," Erving Walker said. "I hope we see them again. We want a chance to beat them."Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2007 Community News Group
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