Christ the King has some fresh new faces on this year’s roster that has needed some time to acclimate to the rigors of the CHSAA Class AA division.
But Royals coach Joe Arbitello couldn’t have been more pleased with some of the players that took an opportunity to shine on the court on Sunday night.
Jaylen Davis was one of those candidates on Sunday afternoon as the sophomore along with senior guard Jose Alvarado each scored 17 points to help Christ the King earn a 61-53 victory over Wings Academy in the nightcap of the third annual Apparel Challenge held in Middle Village.
Davis knocked down three 3-pointers and also made an impact with 7 rebounds as the Royals slowly climb back from an early double-digit first half deficit.
“This was my biggest opportunity to play and I definitely wanted to prove myself and God just blessed me with my confidence,” Davis said.
The experienced hand came from Alvarado down to stretch with two clutch steals late in the fourth quarter and had seven consecutive points to secure Christ the King a much needed bounce back win after falling on the road Friday night at Archbishop Molloy.
The Georgia Tech commit also scored his 1,000th career point on a layup early in the first quarter. Christ the King improved to 8-4 overall and are ranked No. 7 in the News 12 Varsity New York City Top Ten Rankings.
Arbitello also credited sophomore Adam El Gammel for providing a presence inside the paint along with the play of center Kofi Cockburn that would eventually wore Wings Academy down in the second half. Christ the King
“It’s a building block. We said we needed to get better and better and every day someone will step up and learn a little more,” Arbitello said. “Guys are starting to realize what it takes to win a game.”
Christ the King had its own early shooting woes to start the first half but could also not contain the hot shooting exploits of Wings forward Jose Perez. The visitors jumped out quickly on top as Perez scored the first 15 of his team’s 19 points going into the second quarter.
Brian Mitchell’s jumper in the lane gave Wings its biggest lead at 21-11 and the Royals urgently needed spark. Davis made an impact by quickly lighting up the scoreboard with by knocking down three consecutive 3-point baskets that surged his team to take its first lead with 14.1 seconds left in the second quarter.
The inspiration came from a familiar face in the crowd as Jaylen Davis turned to former St. Dominic star and brother Roland Davis. Jaylen also has followed the family footsteps at Christ the King where older brother Larry Davis had starred and eventually went to Loyola Marymount University.
“I came out and missed my first two or 3 shots and I looked at my brother and my brother was like ‘your good’, ‘your good’,” Jaylen Davis said. After that I just hit one and everything felt good.”
Wings did make one last push early in the fourth quarter. Perez, who finished with a game-high 29 points on 11 of 21 attempts from the field, scored eight consecutive points and Boubacar Kamissoko hit a tough runner in the lane with 2:47 remaining to tie the game at 50-all.
Cockburn would tear down the rim with a slam-dunk for Christ the King to regain the lead. Alvarado had a steal and converted a three-point play to add to the lead and the senior added to the lead with 1:13 left on a three-pointer at the top of the key for a 59-52 advantage.