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Royal performance: Smith dominates at state Federation, hopes for more in next three years

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"Next year we're going to work harder to get to 'AA,'" the freshman said. "I want to do better next year, much better...I'm excited to be at Christ the King. We want to keep on with the legacy, bring the (Class AA title) back next year." It's hard to argue with Smith after the show she put on Saturday afternoon. The first ninth-grader to start on the CK varsity since 1998 had 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 12 straight at one point to erase a six-point deficit. The Royals beat Franklin Academy (Malone, N.Y.), 70-63, to win the Federation Class A title at Glens Falls Civic Center.Smith struggled in the semifinals Friday against Curtis, shooting only 4-of-15 from the field for nine points. As soon as that game finished, a 65-50 win for CK, all Smith could think about was vindicating herself."I really wanted to play well," she said. "That's all that was on my mind."The 5-foot-9 guard carried the Royals for most of the season, but didn't have the best postseason. Not only did she help give Christ the King (17-12) a state title, Smith provided a glimpse into the great program's bright future."This is a big step forward to next year, winning this and finishing the season the way we did," coach Bob Mackey said. "We got a great group next year coming back. There's going to be nine seniors, so they got a wealth of experience. They've been through the ringer, they've played top-notch competition, so I think they'll be a little more prepared."There will also be new talent, like Elmont transfer Ariel Edwards, who sat out this year due to CHSAA transfer requirements. The 6-foot-2 Edwards will be a junior next year and one of the best post players in the city as soon as she steps on the hardwood. Smith will still only be a sophomore. Scary, eh?"She could be," Mackey said, "one of the best players we've ever had."Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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