The intense rivalry between Christ the King and Bishop Loughlin Friday night was an anticipated matchup of the top teams in the CHSAA.
Bishop Loughlin recorded an important 76-74 victory over Christ the King in Fort Greene, but the game will also be remembered for a series of incidents that seemed to overshadow an important CHSAA Class AA matchup.
Khadeen Carrington led all scorers with 24 points for Bishop Loughlin and recorded another milestone to his high school career by scoring his 2000th point midway through the second quarter. Javian Delacruz added 15 points for the Lions (17-3), who have won nine straight games and ranked No. 4 No. 4 in New York City and No. 8 in the Tri-State by MSG Varsity.
It was a vital win for the Lions, who had been defeated four times last year and which included the CHSAA city championship game won by Christ the King.
“That’s a statement win,” Carrington said. “It’s a rivalry game so we tried to show the city and the league that we are doing our business this year and we’re trying not to lose to anyone.”
But Friday's game had a high range of emotions, along with plenty of physical play. A rough foul by Christ the King center Adonis Delarosa not only led to the senior’s ejection, but also briefly halted the game midway through the third quarter.
Both teams did an effective job calming down what was a highly charged atmosphere and helped to resume the ballgame that came down to an exciting conclusion.
“There’s no play for that in our league and in our game and in varsity basketball and you don’t want to see someone get hurt,” Bishop Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez said. “Things happened out there. It's unfortunate. This is a heated rivalry but we know we need to play the game the right way and settle it on the court.”
Minutes before tipoff, players from both sides jawed at one another. Issak Bodon of Bishop Loughlin and Royals forward Travis Atson was each assessed a double technical foul in the second quarter.
With Bishop Loughlin leading 48-44 with 4:31 left in the third quarter, Rutgers bound Mike Williams received a pass and drove hard to the basket from the left baseline when 6-foot-11 Christ the King center Adonis Delarosa stepped in front of the Lions senior guard.
Delarosa barreled into Williams and the force of the collision sent the Lions senior landing hard to the floor and causing a gash to open up in the back of his head.
Two people from the crowd quickly rushed to the floor, with one shoving his arms to the back of the head of Delarosa, and the other attempting to land a punch towards the Royals player. Both were stopped from doing more harm as school officials and coaches quickly stepped in to escort the pair from the building.
Delarosa was promptly ejected from the game with a flagrant foul and may receive a two-game suspension for his actions. Williams (14 points) got up after a few minutes and walked under his own power, but he was taken to the hospital to stich up a gash in the back of his head.
Christ the King coach Joe Aribtello was displeased by his center’s actions, but praised cooler heads from both sides prevailing when the emotions of the moment could have led to something worse happening.
“It was out of control. We were as fault as much as they were at fault,” Arbitello said. “I told my guys and we huddled up there, next guy to say a word and Eddie [Gonzalez] agreed, will sit on the bench for the rest of the game, next guy to talk to somebody, push somebody do anything like that is done. And the play with Adonis was just ridiculous.”
When the game resumed, the Lions stretched their lead to 66-55 just minutes into the start of the fourth quarter.
Bishop Loughlin was leading by eight points with 2:47 left when the Royals made one last push with Atson (17 points) and Rawle Alkins (23 points) hitting a three-point basket to cut the deficit to 74-72 with 45 seconds left.
Christ the King (16-4), ranked No. 4 in the Tri-State and No. 3 in New York City by MSG Varsity, had a chance to tie or take the lead with 17.6 seconds left. Royals guard Andre Walker committed a turnover with his right foot on the boundary line after he received the inbounds pass from Atson.
The Lions sealed the game when Delacruz had an open path to the basket with 10 seconds left as his layup gave his team a 76-72 advantage. The 6-foot-5 senior forward, who Gonzalez praises as the ‘X-Factor, has come on as of late to take the scoring load off both Williams and Carrington.
“Experience came in. Our coach said to keep our emotions low and try to win this game. Delacruz said. “ I try to weather the storm and I just try my best to help my team win.”
The rematch on February 9 in Middle Village is expected to be another thrilling matchup, minus the extracurricular activities. In a season where the CHSAA Class AA is highly competitive across the board, the Lions know that executing on critical plays down the stretch will certainly win games in this league.
“The kids played well. A year ago maybe we don’t make those plays but that’s what happens when you have a veteran team,” Gonzalez said. “They made a run, couple of baskets but our guys kept our heads up and their composure.”