The Kings of Queens basketball were crowned as champions at their Middle Village school on Wednesday, March 31.
Christ the King Regional High School honored its boys and girls basketball teams in the school’s gymnasium for capturing their respective New York State federation championship in Glen Falls on March 27; they were the first school in the history of the tournament to produce winners on the girls and goys side in the same year.
Sophomore and boys’ tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) Omar Calhoun credited the team’s strong character for getting them through adversity and into the championship game.
“We never let anything rattle us,” said Calhoun, who scored a game-high 20 points in the clincher. “Character was the key to our success.”
The driving force behind that character was the Royals’ coaching staff, whose motivation and playmaking propelled them toward their goal, this according to junior Bria Smith.
“Both teams are extremely well coached,” said Smith, whose 19 points earned her MVP honors. “Good motivation, relatable, playmaking; they are the triple threat of coaching.”
Both teams finished with identical 26-5 records and earned the hardware that comes with winning the state federation championship. They each faced a long road to their respective victories; the boys team got off to a slow start and were inconsistent throughout the season and the girls stumbled down the stretch and had a couple of close calls during the playoffs. However, both teams were on top of their game when it counted.
“It’s crazy that both teams won it in the same year,” said Smith. “We both worked extra hard to get it done and now it feels like a blessing.”
Now both Royal teams look forward to carrying that blessing over to next season. And with the players returning, Calhoun believes both the boys and the girls have an equal chance at winning their second championship in as many years.
“We have great players returning next year,” said Calhoun. “If we work hard enough, there’s no reason why we can’t repeat.”
Smith agreed and said that the key to winning, be that a repeat or not, is focus. She believes that keeping the championship mindset that they had coming into the season will keep both Royal squads on the throne.
“All we have to do is go into next year the way we went into this year,” she said. “If we stay focused, we’ll get there.”