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Christ the King promotes freshman Calhoun to varsity

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Highly touted Christ the King freshman Sierra Calhoun was promoted from the junior varsity to the varsity by the school last Thursday. Christ the King varsity girls basketball Coach Bob Mackey confirmed the move Saturday, saying it was a school decision.

The 6-foot wing and sister of CK boys star Omar Calhoun played three games with the JV squad, averaging 20-plus points per contest. Freshmen are normally, by school rule, not allowed to play on the varsity team. Mackey would not elaborate on the reason for her promotion.

Current seniors Bria Smith and Nia Oden were promoted as freshmen after the Royals suffered a rash of injuries back in 2007. They were the first ninth-graders to play varsity since Clare Droesch in 1998.

Calhoun, a Brooklyn native, took the court for the first time with the varsity against division foe Bishop Kearney at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 in Middle Village.

“She has to fit in. We have a lot of good players,” Mackey said. “If she can pick up the offensive stuff, I think she can fit in.”

Added Smith: “She adds another scoring option to our team.”

Scouting services have her ranked as high as a top-10 prospect nationally in her class.

“She’s unbelievable,” one assistant college coach said over the summer. “There isn’t anything she doesn’t do well.”

Christ the King, the reigning New York State Federation Class AA champion, returned four starters from last season’s team but plenty of inexperience around them. It opened the season with a loss to Nazareth, currently ranked No. 4 in the country by USA Today. It was just the third time in 11 years that CK lost a regular-season game to a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens opponent.

Christ the King, ranked No. 11 in the country, bounced back with a victory over Bishop Ford and will be heading to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 18. It opens against national power St. Mary’s (Calif.).

“She has some range on her shot,” Mackey said of Calhoun. “She can handle the ball a little bit. She is very, very quick.”

Additional reporting by Marc Raimondi.

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