Sierra Calhoun treated it like any other game, but knew there was a little something extra to this one.
“It’s always fun to play in the Rose [Classic], especially when you are playing against people that you play with,” the Christ the King star said. “It was fun.”
On the other side of Calhoun’s Lady Falcons team was the NYC Lady Warriors, including plenty of her Christ the King teammates and CK Assistant Coach Joe DeLuca, for whom she played with late in the Rose last year. The rising junior wing picked up the bragging rights and the win 52-47 in the quarterfinals Saturday at JHS 113 in Brooklyn.
Calhoun scored 17 points, including a huge 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, and four free throws to clinch the game in the closing minutes. UTEP-bound Shanice Vaughan had 13 points and Loughlin’s Imani Tate added seven.
CK’s Kristen Drogsler paced the Warriors with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Jill Conroy of Bishop Ford had 10 points and Kollyns Scarbrough of Christ the King chipped in six for DeLuca’s squad.
“I make sure I win every game,” Calhoun said. “It was just fun playing against them.”
The Rose Classic is the beginning of a busy summer for Calhoun. The No. 9-ranked prospect in her class by HoopGurlz, participated in tryouts for the USA Basketball U17 team in Colorado Springs but did not make the squad. Calhoun, who plays her travel ball with the Philly Belles, said it was a great learning experience and she is hungry for a chance to come back and make the team going into her senior year, much like former CK standout Bria Smith did two years ago.
“It’s going against some of the other best players in the country,” she said. “It just shows you where you are at.”
What made the game a little more special was that DeLuca and Falcons head man Mike Toro coached together at Bishop Ford three years ago and are close. Conroy played with the Warriors and bigs Brittany Henry and Tanasia “Sweets” Blake will travel with them this summer. Christ the King’s Scarbrough, Drogsler and Taylor Butigan all play for the Warriors.
“I’m a supporter of the Warriors program and what they are trying to do,” said Toro, who coached the game in a Warriors T-shirt. “They are about working with what they got and getting the kids better.”
Added Conroy, “It was weird playing against them.”
DeLuca said he and Toro have had discussions about his coaching one of the Queens-based program’s travel teams in the future, but nothing that has become serious. Toro, who got his start with Exodus, is coming off a season where he battled through anxiety issues. He appears to be beyond that now.
“Our main concern was for the kids to get better for July,” DeLuca said. “They want to look good in July. When we are in AAU, we put high school aside.”
©2012 Community News Group
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