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CK advances to diocesan final, Cross falls to Xaverian

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Christ the King’s foot is hitting the peddle with the playoffs underway.

The defending state Federation Class AA champions brought intensity from start to finish on both ends of the floor and up and down the roster in its first postseason game of 2015. The top-seeded Royals pulled away for a 69-43 win against No. 4 Archbishop Molloy in the CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens boys’ basketball semifinals in Middle Village Wednesday night.

“We have to take it to take it to that next level,” Royals star Rawle Alkins said. “Coach [Joe] Arbitello said we were on cruise control in the regular season. Now it’s time to kick it into that high gear.”

CK faces No. 2 Xaverian in the final at 7:30 p.m. Friday back at Christ the King. The teams split their two regular season meetings with each winning on the other’s home court.

Alkins led the way with 24 points and Jarred Rivers added 11 for Christ the King (21-4), which got contributions from nearly everyone Arbitello put in the game. There were spurts where reserves Tracy Cleckly. David Cole and Marcus Layne were as good as anyone on the court. It makes Christ the King such a tough match-up when those guys along with Jose Alvarado, Tyrone Cohen and Yashawn Bright are going well.

CK jumped out to a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter as it scored off of turnovers. Molloy (14-12) closed within 17-15. The comeback was met by a 9-0 Royals spurt. Christ the King, which led 32-19 at the half, pushed the advantage to 19 early in the third.

The Stanners again rallied and were down just 38-28 after a three-point play by Chase Audige at the 3:41 mark. Alkins scored five of the next seven points and CK never looked back. D’Ante Warren and Issac Grant has 13 points each for Molloy.

“I don’t think there was any letdown,” Arbitello said. “I just felt like from the start of the game all the way to the end, right until that buzzer sounded I thought we were playing hard. “

Xaverian 57, Holy Cross 42: Jermaine Bishop led Holy Cross with 16 points. Christian Wilson netted 11 and Chaz Platt added eight in the other Brooklyn/Queens semifinal. Issacs paced Xaverian (20-5) with 18 points, Charles had 15 and Najee Larcher chipped in 10.

“They played a really good second half and we didn’t shoot it well today,” Holy Cross coach Terry Tarpey Jr. said.

The Knights (12-13) rallied from a 10-0 deficit to going into the half tied at 14-14. Holy Cross held a 29-27 lead with 1:02 to go in third after a Bishop corner jumper. The lead didn’t last long. Xaverian (20-4) scored the final five points of the third quarter, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by Zach Bruno It snowballed into a 19-0 Clipper run that put Holy Cross down 46-29 with 3:00 go in the game.

“The hard part about this loss is we felt we had a shot when we took the lead,” Tarpey said.

Cross has lived by its jump shooting most of the year and struggled from the outside against Xaverian. Their drives were met by the long arms of Larcher and Charles, who changed and block shots during the Clippers’ two runs.

Posted 5:38 pm, February 26, 2015
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