Photo courtesy of HS Box Scores, NYC.
By David Cordova
Playoff time is here and it is the season of knockoffs. Teams have two options: Win or go home. Last night at St. Francis Prep in Queens, two of the CHSAA’s biggest programs, Christ the King and St. Raymond, went head-to-head in a second-round matchup.
Both teams played against each other twice this season, first on January 28th, in the championship game of the SNY Invitational at City College of New York in Harlem, in which Christ the King would win by one, 67-66. Then weeks later, on February 12th, in the Bronx, on what would be St. Raymond’s senior day event, the Royals would be in control of the game for all thirty-two minutes, as they would run off to a fifteen-point victory, 83-68.
But being that this was playoff time, it was now time for both teams to play for one goal, the chance at making it to the “AA” Division title game at Fordham University on March 12th. After last night, only one of these teams still has a chance at that.
Christ the King 73, St. Raymond’s 63
The beginning of the game started out in favor of Christ the King, as they went on an early run to bring their lead to 6-2, within the first two minutes of the game. But then St. Raymond’s stepped up their defense and would take the lead, 7-6, on a three-pointer by junior Omar Silverio with more than four minutes to go in the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, the Royals continued to hold it down with their post play and smart decisions, as they led, 14-9, with over six minutes to go. Although the Ravens did not have size, they made up with it with toughness and quickness, as they would threaten the opposition multiple times with the strong inside play of Darius Lee. Then with 2:01 to go, senior Isaiah Washington hit a three-pointer to help the Ravens go up one, 25-24.
With 1:45 left, senior Jose Alvarado would counter with a three-point play to have the Royals take the lead 27-25. The half would end on an exciting note, as Christ the King would go intermission leading by four, 29-25.
The third quarter would start with the Royals continuing to dominate leading by twelve, 41-29, in the first couple of minutes of the second half, behind the shooting of sophomore Jaylen Davis. The Royals would continue to hold the lead down throughout the quarter, but the Ravens still threatened, only trailing by as many as eight.
In the fourth quarter, Christ the King would continue to dominate, as they led by fifteen, 62-47, with more than five minutes to go. St. Raymond’s struggled to make the shots that they made in the first half, and it cost them big in the second half.
However, they would try to fight their way back, as they cut the deficit to ten, 64-54, with 3:21 to go. But Christ the King would prove to be too powerful, as they would never relinquish the lead, and they would move on to the quarterfinals, where they would play Archbishop Stepinac on Sunday, March 5th, at Fordham University.
Christ the King was led by sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, who had 23 points, Davis added 16, and Alvarado, who will be playing for Georgia Tech in the fall, ended up with 13 points. For St. Raymond, Washington led with 24 points in his final high school game (he will be playing for the University of Minnesota in the fall), junior Darius Lee added 15 points and junior Nicolas Rivera added 11 points in the season-ending loss.