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The Butler Did It: Christ the King’s Bloody Sunday

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In a matter of a few hours, the Christ the King boys fell to rival Holy Cross in the first all-Queens final in 30 years in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional title game at Fordham University and the CK girls saw its string of 23 straight Brooklyn/Queens Division I titles snapped in a dramatic loss to Archbishop Molloy at St. John's Prep. By 8 p.m., the carnage was over. There was celebration in Queens. Just not in Middle Village. The Christ the King boys beat Holy Cross in two of the team's three meetings during the season and came into the game as defending city champs. But it was evident from the start it was going to be a long day. Erving Walker, CK's Florida-bound guard couldn't hit a shot and picked the absolute worst possible day to have his worst game of his senior season. That left Ryan Pearson to put the team on his shoulders, like he has so many other times this season. But Holy Cross doubled the George Mason-bound forward anytime he touched the ball and the Royals didn't have another player step up. Holy Cross had plenty of players step up, including McDonald's All-American Sylven Landesberg, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds. Blaise Ffrench did a great job running the point. Kayvon Roberts buried a dagger of a three-pointer and Ernest Freeman, Tim Beinert, Sharif Mair and Tyshawn Russell all did their parts in a stunning and well-deserved victory.Across the Triboro Bridge in Astoria, the Christ the King girls' dynasty came to an end. This column isn't called The Nostradamus Did It, but I did call for the end of the Royals' stranglehold a year ago when CK fell to St. John the Baptist in the CHSAA Class AA state final, ending its 17-year reign. To be fair, I also said it would be Mary Louis taking over, but it was Molloy that slew the mighty Royals. Unlike so many other opponents throughout the years, the Stanners weren't intimidated, in part because they handed Christ the King its first league loss in eight years earlier in the season. They were the gritty team, the one that grabbed all the big rebounds, got to all the loose balls. When it was time for Christ the King to take hold of the game, like they have so many times before, the Royals were the ones who wilted. There's been cracks in the Christ the King veneer, starting with losses to Murry Bergtraum in the state Federation tournament and then last year's defeat to Baptist. This year, the Royals suffered their fourth home loss in 16 years, then dropped a league game for the first time in eight years. In order to salvage the season, CK coach Bob Mackey pleaded with the school's board of trustees to allow him to bring freshmen up to varsity for the first time since 1998 and Bria Smith was nearly the savior. But Molloy put a sledgehammer through the CK veneer. For the first time in more than two decades, Christ the King will not compete in the Class AA state playoffs. Instead, the Royals will play for the lower level crown while the Stanners will battle either St. Michael Academy or St. John the Baptist for the 'AA' championship.To add insult, the Royals had to go to Staten Island to face St. John Villa in a Class A semifinal scheduled for Wednesday night. No word on if the flags were at half-mast, but no doubt Monday was a day of mourning at Christ the King.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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