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The Royals are once again wearing the city crown.
It was only two weeks ago that the Christ the King boys’ basketball team lost the Brooklyn/ Queens Conference championship game against Bishop Loughlin by nearly 20 points.
But with a renewed focus, the Royals dominated their rivals in a rematch in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional championship game Sunday to come up with a 72-61 victory at Fordham University.
“We were the underdogs coming into the game,” junior forward Travis Atson said. “People didn’t think we would win, but we surprised a lot of people.”
With the win, the Royals continued their era of dominance, becoming back-to-back city champs. Christ the King has also won four city championships in the last five years.
But in previous games recently, Loughlin posed a major threat.
The Lions defeated the Royals in two of their three meetings this season. So to win the city title, Christ the King shifted their focus to tougher defense.
“We didn’t allow any transitions,” Atson said. “We made sure everybody got back and stopped the ball.”
With about four minutes left, the Royals used a 17-3 run ignited by stifling defense to outpace Loughlin.
Sophomore guard Rawle Alkins led Christ the King with 24 points, and Atson, who had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, was named the tournament MVP.
Atson also played tough defense, holding Loughlin senior guard Javian Delacruz to only eight points.
“Take away his offense, just the eight points that he held Javian Delacruz to, if you’ve done that, then you’ve done your job. I think that’s why he was named the tournament MVP,” Royals coach Joe Arbitello said.
The Royals will play PSAL champion Benjamin Cardozo in a Class AA state Federation semifinal on March 21 at the Times Union Center in Albany.