Severe leads Royals to state semifinal victory

Christ the King's Jon Severe heads to the hoop. Photo by Ken Maldonado
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ALBANY – Jon Severe made a statement and history on the same night.

The Christ the King guard scored a career-high 40 points Friday night and became the first Royals’ player to be named New York State Mr. Basketball.

His strong play can be credited in part to teasing from his coach.

Christ the King Coach Joe Arbitello had been ribbing Severe since Thursday when Long Island Lutheran forward and University of Connecticut bound Kentan Facey was named the New York State State Gatorade Player of the Year over him.

The joke lit a fire in him coming into the Royals’ New York State Federation Class AA semifinal.

“I had to prove a point after Arbs [Arbitello] kept getting on me,” Severe said.

And boy did he ever.

Severe scored a career-high 40 points in the Royals’ impressive 68-55 win over Bishop Kearney at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. He had 21 points in the first quarter alone, missing just one shot and started the game with a dunk four seconds after the opening tip-off.

Immediately after the win, Severe was chosen as Mr. Basketball.

“Next year when I come back to Christ the King, I look in the little thing [school’s trophy case] and see my name,” he said. “The first time ever in CK history. I can come and go, ‘I did that.’”

His numbers were staggering. Severe, with Kentucky coach John Calipari in attendance, shot 12-of-18, 18 from the field, 4-for-7 from three-point range and 12-of-13 from the free throw line. Kearney of Section 5 pulled within 46-37 late in the third quarter. But Severe buried a three-pointer from the right side and had a one-handed slam during a 6-0 CK spurt to make it 53-37 going into the fourth.

“He was playing at such a high level. I don’t know the last time I saw that,” Arbitello said.

The Royals (27–3) as a team were equally impressive. They attacked Kearney’s massive frontline of 6-foot-10 Syracuse commit Chinoso Obokoh, 6-foot-9 Thomas Bryant and 6-foot-11 Godspower Ogide fearlessly. On the defensive end, Jordan Fuchs and Adonis Delarosa were physical with the trio and contested every shot. Obokoh scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Antwoine Anderson led Kearney (16-7) with 32 points.

“We were just a little bit tougher,” Arbitello said.

The game also highlighted the development of Royals’ freshman wing Rawle Alkins. He had 13 points, seven rebounds and connected on a three-pointer.

He is Christ the King’s future, but the team still has some business to take care of this year. The Royals face Long Island Lutheran, which beat Lincoln 73-55, at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the final.

Severe hopes to add another title to his trophy haul from the tournament.

“I’m good,” Severe said. “Now I just got to get the ring.”

Updated 11:14 am, March 23, 2013
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