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CK girls gear up after loss

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There is a method to Bob Mackey’s madness.

Why else would he schedule Bishop Ford, a tough league opponent, and perennial national power Archbishop Carroll the first week of the season with a young team and without its future Division I senior Rayne Connell?

“I wanted to do that,” the Christ the King coach said. “We gotta be a little battle-tested.”

Or else it could get ugly next week in Phoenix at the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions. CK’s first opponent is St. Mary’s (Ariz.), ranked No. 19 in the country by USA Today.

So a 61-51 loss to Archbishop Carroll in non-league girls’ basketball Saturday in Middle Village served its purpose.

Actually, it did more than that. Without Connell, who is out for at least another week after having surgery to remove a cyst on her back last month, the young Royals (0-2) showed a lot of heart in the second half after being down 31-14 at halftime.

“I thought we did some good things,” Mackey said. “If we just play the third and fourth quarters, we win by five.”

Christ the King got within eight points multiple times, but couldn’t get over that hump against a disciplined, well-coached Carroll team that features Drexel-bound seniors Meghan Creighton (21 points) and Rachel Pearson (11). Sarah Curran added 13 points.

Sierra Calhoun led CK with 14 points and six rebounds and Kollyns Scarbrough and Taylor Butigian each added 10 points. Ashley Raaf had seven points, Amanni Fernandez had six points and five rebounds and sophomore point guard Alyssa Gatti played well in stretches.

Calhoun, one of the top sophomores in the country, said she feels like she’s had to take on more of a leadership role without Connell. Adelphi-bound sharpshooter Lauren Nuss can’t do it herself.

“We have a young team,” Calhoun said. “Everyone has to step into a leadership role. Even though I’m not a captain, I gotta step up.”

Christ the King was right there Dec. 5 with talented Bishop Ford in a 54-52 loss. This might not be the uber-talented Royals many are used to, but it is one that should still contend in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens and perhaps beyond.

“I’m not worried about December,” Mackey said. “The goal is to be ready in March, be ready in February.”

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