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Xaverian’s ‘Severe’ defeat

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On a day in which just about every three-pointer dropped, the two that would have set a school record didn’t.

Jon Severe had two attempts on Christ the King’s final possession, but missed both in what ended up being a 79-67 win over Xaverian in CHSAA Class AA boys’ basketball Sunday in Middle Village. Severe, the junior star guard, had to settle for only tying the record of eight threes, set by Larry Davis in 2006. He poured in 27 points in total.

“I wasn’t set,” Severe said with a laugh of his final two shots. “I just threw the ball up, praying it would go in.”

Eight of them did, though, and Christ the King had 12 three-pointers as a team. In total, there were 23 treys in the game and a ridiculous 14 of them came before the midway point of the second quarter. The perimeter defense got better from there — slightly.

“It was a damn shootout,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said. “I haven’t experienced anything like that. I can’t believe that.”

Xaverian (8-2, 2-1 ‘AA’) had 11 trifectas, led by Dillon Burns’ five and Brian Bernardi’s four. Bernardi finished with 19 points and Burns had 16. CK’s UConn-bound guard Omar Calhoun had 22 points with three three-pointers. George Lambert had two threes for the Clippers and Isaiah Lewis made one for the Royals, rounding out the incredible total.

“We were basically going shot for shot for awhile,” Calhoun said. “They kept the game close. They just kept matching us.”

Christ the King (7-3, 3-0) led just 72-65 with 2:52 left in the game until a big Lewis runner and — you guessed it — a Severe three-pointer all but put the game away 77-65 with 1:29 left. The Royals defense also clamped down during the stretch, not allowing a Xaverian point for 2:28.

Arbitello said he saw a change in his team over the last three games and Sunday was the latest example. There’s more ball movement on offense, more concentration on getting good shots and Lewis is handling his point guard duties better.

“Today you saw a lot of guys being unselfish, making the extra pass, getting guys open looks,” Calhoun said.

It was a showcase of just how dangerous the Christ the King offense could be. Jordan Fuchs also had 10 points and Lewis added seven.

“I really think what’s making Jon even better is that Isaiah has decided to be a point guard,” Arbitello said. “It seemed like everyone wants to score, now it seems like Isaiah wants to pass and get guys the ball where they can use the basketball. It’s making the game that much easier for everyone else. If he continues to play like that and Jon and Omar continue to shoot like that, we’re gonna be in really good shape.”

Christ the King suffered a pair of humbling losses over the holiday break to Philadelphia-area titans Neumann Goretti and Chester. The Royals have a chance to prove themselves again on a national level this weekend at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., and the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Severe, who is emerging as a high major Division I prospect, credits his recent hot streak — he also had 27 against Bishop Loughlin Friday night — to him icing his wrist after every game. He tore ligaments there last year and had surgery over the summer. It’s still an issue at times and Severe continues to do physical therapy for it.

Unfortunately, none of that helped him on the final possession.

“I was hyped, because I’ve never broke a record in my life,” Severe said with a smile.

He’ll have to settle for being Sunday’s three-point champ.

Posted 7:52 pm, January 11, 2012
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