Christ The King will have a go at an unprecedented fourth Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic championship, with Long Island Lutheran providing the opposition in the National Division final scheduled for 9:15 Monday night.
The Royals came from behind for a second straight game in the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, this time sneaking past Philadelphia Math, Civics & Science by 65-63 in overtime.
Long Island Lutheran held The John Carroll School of Bel Air, Md., to 23-percent field goal shooting in a 46-34 victory led by sophomore Devonte Green’s 19 points.
The title game will be a rematch of last season’s State Federation Class AA final, in which Christ The King defeated Lutheran, 73-64. The Crusaders had won Federation titles in Class A each of the two previous seasons.
Rawle Alkins, a 6-foot-4 sophomore being tracked by high-level Division I suitors, flushed a 3-point goal with two seconds remaining in regulation to pull Christ The King into a 57-57 tie, and tacked on a field goal and a free throw in overtime.
The Royals broke the game’s final tie when senior center Adonis Delarosa converted the second of two free throws to make it 64-63 with 23.3 seconds remaining. The Philly squad’s Nazeer Bostick, a 6-5 sophomore reserve, misfired on two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining, and Delarosa accounted for the final point with 1.8 left.
MC&S’ Samir Doughty was off the mark on a heave from just across midcourt in the closing fraction of a second.
Alkins closed with 20 points and seven rebounds, and 6-4 junior Travis Atson with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Tyrese Hester’s 16 points led MC&S, which will play for third place at 1 p.m. Monday.
The teams shot a combined 25-for-51 from the free throw line, each squandering assorted opportunities to gain the upper hand.
“That’s terrible,” Christ The King coach Joe Arbitello said of his team’s 15-for-30 showing. “But what’s good about it is, we shot 4-for-6 in the overtime.”
The teams were separated by no more than three points upon completion of the first three quarters of a game that was at times about as sloppy and disjointed as it was intensely contested.
The Philly squad built a handful of four-point leads in the final period, last of which was 53-49 on a pair of free throws by Donovan Branes with 2:24 left to make it 53-49. But the Royals’ Tyrone Cohen answered by converting his lone 3-point attempt of the night and it was 53-52.
A succession of free throws left MC&S a 57-54 lead and set up the dramatic final play of regulation, on which Atson inbounded from the sideline in CTK’s frontcourt with 4.4 seconds left. The ball ended up in the hands of Alkins, too free for a 3-pointer from atop the arc.
“I thought maybe they thought the play was going for Travis stepping back inbounds,” Arbitello said. “It looked like they were trying to overplay him a little bit. I wanted it to look like we were going to hand it to Adonis and then go back to Travis for the three. It kind of looked like that’s what they were thinking, too, and then we kind of found Rawle wide open.”
Alkins’ critical shot left the Royals 4-for-15 from beyond the arc_ and Alkins a solo 4-for-11.
Christ The King is playing the tournament without its starting point guard, 6-1 senior and Division I recruit Andre Walker. Of the absence, Arbitello said, “He’s not with us,” and declined to elaborate.
The Royals claimed STOP-DWI Holiday Classic championships in 1995, 1999 and 2009.
Long Island Lutheran never trailed in its semi against The John Carroll School, though was unable to put away the Maryland squad until the latter stages of the third quarter — following a dust-up that prompted one ejection per side.
That occurred with 2:47 to play in the third and Lutheran leading by 34-22.
John Carroll drew within seven on consecutive field goals before Lutheran gradually eased away to its berth in the final.
The lead was double digits to stay once point guard Chris Atkinson set his feet and fired in a deep 3-point goal from the wing to make it 39-29. Teammate Elijah Bailey stormed down the land and finished in the final second to close the quarter with a 41-29 advantage for Lutheran.
Green opened final-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, and that set in motion a less-than-thrilling 5-5 fourth-quarter standoff.
Atkinson finished with 11 points and Marvin Prochet 11 rebounds for the winners. Kimbal MacKenzie’s 14 points paced John Carroll.
In its lone previous Classic appearance, Long Island Lutheran lost three games by a combined 64 points in 2002 — same year Binghamton High made its lone appearance in the National Division final.