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March 6, 2008

CTK Beats Loughlin When it Counts

The third time proved to be a charm for Coach Bob Oliva's Royals, as they were able to advance to the CHSAA city championship game by beating Bishop Loughlin 69-56 on Thursday after losing to the Lions twice during the regular season.

#5 ranked Christ the King jumped out to a lead early in this semifinal game on the campus of St. John's University, something they hadn't done in their first two meetings against #3 ranked Bishop Loughlin in the regular season. A three-pointer from the corner for 6'3" wing-guard Anthony Martin gave Christ the King a 15-10 lead with 1:50 to play in the opening quarter, and headed into the second frame with a 17-13 lead.

6'8" sophomore forward Roland Brown, who had picked up two early fouls in the first quarter, remained in the game for the Royals and made a major impact on the boards. A put-back by Brown with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter gave the Royals a 26-19 lead and momentum that they wouldn't relinquish. Junior guard Sean Johnson knocked down several outside jump shots for the Middle Village School and helped to keep the Loughlin forwards off the glass. However 6'7" forward Kevin Phillip kept the Lions within striking distance by hitting a few mid-range jump shots in and around the lane. The Royals headed into the locker-room with a 33-25 halftime lead, led by George Mason-bound forward Ryan Pearson's 11 points and the junior Johnson's 8 points. Kevin Phillip led Bishop Loughlin in the first half scoring column with 8 points, while sophomores Jayvaughn Pinkston and Doron Lamb each had 6 points for the Lions.

Crafty point guard Erving Walker kept Christ the King in control throughout the second half as he was able to respond to whatever the Brooklyn team threw at him. The 5'8" Florida-bound guard guided the Royals through Loughlin's full court pressure and was able to get into the lane on numerous occasions to make plays for him and his teammates.

In addition, the sophomore big-man Brown was able to stay out of foul trouble and contribute significantly on the boards, surely making in-attendance Christ the King alum and former NBA player Jayson Williams proud. A three-pointer from Sean Johnson with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter gave the Queens team a 54-43 lead.

After weathering a small run from Loughlin, the Royals were able to finish off the impressive victory and won by a final score of 69-56. Ryan Pearson led all scorers with 23 points, while Sean Johnson and Roland Brown each chipped in with 14 points in the victorious effort. Bishop Loughlin was led by Kevin Phillip's 17 points and Doron Lamb's 14 points.

Christ the King Coach Bob Oliva believes that it was the efforts of his role players, Sean Johnson and Roland Brown, to be crucial to Wednesday evening's victory. "Sean let the game come to him today," said Oliva "it was his floor game, his presence on the court and his defense in our zone that made a big difference."

The semifinal victory for Christ the King sets up an all-Queens CHSAA city championship on Sunday at Fordham as the Royals will take on Holy Cross.

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