Christ The King going for historic four-peat at STOP-DWI Holiday Classic

Christ The King going for historic four-peat at STOP-DWI Holiday Classic


Christ The King going for historic four-peat at STOP-DWI Holiday Classic


Four-peat, perhaps?

That would appear a distinct possibility come Monday night’s conclusion of the 22nd annual Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

Christ The King, a Queens program that holds a record three tournament championships and began the season as New York’s top-ranked large-school basketball team, begins its quest for a fourth at 9:15 Saturday night against St. Michael’s College School of Toronto.

The 20-game tournament includes an eight-team National Division and two four-team Regional Divisions, with championship games to be played at 5:30, 7:15 and 9 p.m. Monday.

Christ The King will suit up a squad replete with potential Division I-caliber personnel as it targets a fourth championship in six Holiday Classic appearances. The Royals claimed their first title in 1995, and added top finishes in 1999 and 2009. Christ The King advanced to the 2011 final, only to absorb a 32-point beating from Neumann Goretti of Philadelphia.

The program’s other tourney appearance came in 2003 and brought an opening-round loss to another Philly opponent, Simon Gratz.

The Royals’ Day 1 opponent, St. Michael’s, is the second tournament participant from the Canadian province of Ontario, joining Ancaster High (1999). The Blue Raiders come into the tourney with an 18-1 record this season.

“I think sometime there’s a perception among kids to look at the best teams in your region and say, ‘Wow, that’s as high as it goes,’ ” St. Michael’s coach Jeff Zownir said. “We need to get them to understand that there’s better competition out there and we don’t have to go that far to find it.”

The first National Division game at 1 p.m. pits New Rochelle, last year’s state Class AA public-school runner-up, against Philadelphia’s Math, Civics & Science Charter School and 6-foot-8 Penn State commitment Michael Watkins.

That will be followed at 2:45 by Long Island Lutheran, 2011 and 2012 State Federation champion, taking on Holmes High of Covington, Ky. Holmes coach Jason Booher guided another Kentucky program, Shelby Valley, to third place in the 2007 Holiday Classic.

“They did a good job hosting us and I told them I always wanted to return some day when I had a team good enough to participate up there,” Booher said. “The tournament field looks loaded again, just like it is every year, sounds like should like it should be a great tournament for us. And, of course, the educational side.”

National Division play resumes to open the three-game night session as The John Carroll School of Bel Air, Md., opposes Poly Prep of Brooklyn and First-Team All-Ivy Prep League point guard Wolfgang Novogratz.

The first of 20 games spread across three days will pit Binghamton against Maine-Endwell in Regional Division I. It will be a rematch of last year’s championship game in which the Patriots posted a 50-45 win. The Spartans, however, retain the majority of personnel that captured Southern Tier Athletic Conference and Section 4 Class A titles — though stumbled from the gate to a 1-2 record.

Followers of Binghamton University basketball will get glimpse into the future when Johnson City faces Fayetteville-Manlius in a Regional Division I game at 7:30. Senior sharpshooter John Schurman of F-M has committed to play for the Bearcats.

Regional Division II openers will be played Sunday, with Norwich taking on Greene at 11:15 a.m. and Seton Catholic Central opposing New York Mills. The five-time defending Section 4 Class D champion, New York Mills was 20-4 last season and reached the final four in Glens Falls for the third time in a four-year span.


More USA TODAY High School Sports