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The players on the Christ the King girls' basketball team think about their loss to Archbishop Molloy last month quite a bit. After all, it was the Royals' first league defeat since they lost to Bishop Loughlin on Jan. 19, 2000, a winning streak of 108 games.
But that game isn't looked at a complete disappointment at all.
"Yeah, it bothered me when it first happened," freshman Bria Smith said. "But now we have to learn from our mistakes, keep going. That pretty much helped, it didn't hurt. It showed our weaknesses and how to fix them."
With that being said by the star ninth grader, Christ the King is still thrilled to see Molloy again in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I championship game Sunday at St. John's Prep at 6 p.m. The Royals are trying for their 25th straight league title.
"We want them badly," CK junior Tahira Johnson said.
Added Smith: "We just want to get them back."
Molloy, which beat rival Mary Louis in a hard-fought semifinals game Thursday, doesn't mind its opponent, either. The Stanners lost to the Royals on Jan. 12 and it was a pivotal moment in their season. Four days after that game, Molloy coach John McGlynn resigned and Dom Cecala, the JV coach, took over.
That turned the team's season around. And it sparked the 58-50 overtime win against Christ the King on Feb. 9. Molloy is trying to have a repeat performance of that victory and its players don't mind if the Royals are dying to get them on the court again.
"That's OK," said Stanners junior Shannon LaVelle, who took a critical charge and made the game-deciding three-pointer against Mary Louis. "We want to see them, too."
It's obvious why. Christ the King has owned the division, the city, the state and sometimes even the country for decades. With all due respect to the Royals' semifinals opponent Bishop Ford, Cecala didn't want any other team but CK on the other side of the court Sunday.
"If you want to win this division, you have to go through Christ the King," said Cecala, who is still coaching Molloy's JV team. "To be the best, you have to beat the best."
Both teams will play on after this game. The winner will be classified in the CHSAA state tournament as a 'AA' team. That team will play the winner of New York Archdiocese champion St. Michael Academy and Rockville Centre (L.I.) champ St. John the Baptist, the defending CHSAA state champ.
The Brooklyn/Queens runner-up will be classified as Class A. Staten Island's St. John Villa is the 'A' team in the New York Archdiocese and Holy Trinity is the Long Island representative. Mary Louis won the CHSAA Class A state title last season and went on to win the state Federation Class A title, too.
The undeniable goal for Christ the King, even in an off year, is still to win the state Federation 'AA' championship.
Said Johnson: "It's just a Christ the King tradition."
Molloy is standing in the Royals' way starting Sunday.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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