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Calhoun leads rally in late comeback

Christ the King's Jon Severe had 25 points in his team's win. Photo by Christina Santucci
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With 28.9 seconds left in Christ the King’s dramatic, 88-82 basketball overtime victory Friday over Holy Cross, Omar Calhoun wrote his name into the Middle Village school’s record books.

Calhoun sank two free throws to pull even with current CK assistant Coach and former Arizona All-American Khalid Reeves atop the famed powerhouse’s all-time scoring list with 1,676 career points.

“It’s definitely special,” the UConn-bound senior said. “A lot of great players have come through Christ the King. My hard work is paying off a little bit.”

The plateau, though significant, was a side note to the wild Royals win, one in which they rallied from 11 down with 1:55 left. Calhoun was typically brilliant, scoring a game-high 31 points. CK’s full court pressure, however, was the story in the raucous comeback, speeding up the previously patient Knights and forcing turnovers.

“We really needed it in this game, which made it stand out more,” Calhoun said after the Royals’ sixth straight win.

Holy Cross was in complete command, comfortably ahead 72-61 after two Anthony Libroia free throws. Then everything that could go wrong did as Christ the King clinched the Brooklyn/Queens title, which was up for grabs.

In the final 1:55, the Knights committed three turnovers, missed three free throws and took questionable shots. Christ the King (17-6, 11-1 ‘AA’), meanwhile, could do no wrong. Reserve Isaiah Cosbert, on the floor only because Isaiah Lewis fouled out, started the run with a three-pointer. After a Marquise Moore travel, Malik Harmon hit two free throws, which were followed by a five-second violation on Holy Cross and a Jon Severe trey. To compound matters, Eddie Roscigno missed two at the line and Fuchs scored inside, cutting the deficit to 72-71 with 1:12 to go.

“It shocked us,” Libroia said of the CK pressure. “It was the first time they pressed all game. Some guys didn’t know what to do.”

After Libroia split a pair at the line, Severe pulled the Royals even at 73 with 47.1 left. Williams and Cosbert missed shots at each end to force overtime. CK pulled away in the extra session, reeling off a 9-2 to go up 86-79. Calhoun had five points in the spurt, including the record-tying free throws.

Severe followed Calhoun’s 31 points with 25 of his own and Fuchs had 15. Libroia led Cross (18-4, 9-2) with 27 points, Moore and Mairega Clarke each had 14, Roscigno notched 11 and Will Davis posted 10.

It was a big night for Calhoun one day after he was disappointed at being left off the McDonald’s All-American roster, which selects the top 24 seniors in the nation.

“That’s my motivation,” he said. “I felt I should be a McDonald’s All-American. It’s gonna push me and motivate me and drive me every time I take the court.”

It was another frustrating loss to Christ the King for Holy Cross, which hasn’t beaten them since defeating the Royals in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional final in 2008. The Knights have lost both contests this year, by a combined 12 points. Clearly, Friday’s setback was the most frustrating as Holy Cross was doing everything right, from holding its own inside against the bigger Royals to shooting the lights out from the perimeter.

“I told the kids it’s very disappointing, but it’s not discouraging,” Holy Cross Coach Paul Gilvary said. “A lot of the mistakes we made can be corrected.”

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