Recap: Christ The King (N.Y.) 80, Mission 54

BOSTON -- With one glance at this season’s New Mission High School basketball schedule, even a novice observer knew its toughest stretch of games would be between Christmas and the start of 2013.

The Titans kicked off game one of a three games in three days stretch by losing 80-54 to Christ the King (N.Y.) Thursday in the Shooting Touch Shootout at Emmanuel College.

The Titans (3-2) now move on to play Mansfield Friday on Day Two of the Shootout, and then face off against Windsor (Conn.) Saturday at the BABC Holiday Classic, at New Mission High School.

Mission had a rough first quarter and struggled to get a shot to fall. With 2:23 left in the quarter, Christ the King (4-1) had a 13-2 lead. Then the team went on a 13-6 run over the remaining minutes to end the quarter down only four points (17-13).

“What happened was they had nine offensive rebounds in that first quarter, which was what they scored off of,” said Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello. “We held them to one offensive rebound in the second quarter, and that was the difference in the game right there.”

Because the offensive rebounding differential changed so much in the second quarter, Christ the King was able to get out in transition and create odd-man opportunities and easy baskets, which allowed its lead to grow. It went into halftime up 41-27.

“We just didn’t execute the way we needed to,” said New Mission coach Cory McCarthy. “We usually find ways to get the ball inside, but we just could not get the ball inside the way we wanted to. Our guards decided they wanted to be the show, but that’s not New Mission basketball. Your guards can’t run the show with a team this sized.”

“They played well, they just capitalized off our mistakes,” he added. “That’s the point of us getting the ball inside: if you get the ball inside, you get back better in transition. Once you start shooting the ball, they get long rebounds.”

It doesn’t help when the other team has a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center clogging the paint. Adonis Delarosa was able to effect the game without scoring a single point. He missed the one field goal and both free throws he attempted, but still came down with 12 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.

His presence inside prevented Mission from getting the ball to its two tallest players, Nate Anderson (two points, two rebounds) and Chima Ebele (12 points, six rebounds) as much as it wanted to. Even when the guards tried to take it inside themselves, Delarosa was able to use his physicality and long reach to alter shots.

It doesn’t help when the other team is shooting the ball effectively from the three-point line. Jon Severe (23 points, 3-of-5 from 3-point range), Malik Harmon (13 points, 2-of-3 from 3), and others happily took jump shots against Mission’s 2-2-1 zone. When the defensive schematic switch was made, it was to try and create more ball pressure and hopefully create turnovers to get back in the game. Instead, the guards just shot around it.

Christ the King ran away with the game in the second half, never allowing its lead to get under double digits.

Severe-ly Outmatched: Christ the King has multiple players that have garnered varying levels of interest from Division 1 colleges. Jordan Fuchs (12 points, 5 rebounds) and Severe grade out the highest in the ESPN Recruiting Nation database, but it was Severe who most caught New Mission’s eye.

“Severe was the problem,” said McCarthy. “The thing with Severe was that he wasn’t a guy we were really focused on initially, but he put us on notice at the end of the first half. I don’t know what he ended up with, but I know he had 20 in the first half. I think if we did a better job in the first half of containing him, things definitely would’ve worked out better for us.

“This is obviously a situation where, they aren’t that far ahead of us, but I think in terms of guard play, they outplayed us tonight. We got what we wanted inside, but definitely they outplayed our guards. They were stronger, they were tougher, and they brought stronger help.”

No Details, No Problem: Christ The King came into Thursday knowing very little of what New Mission had to offer as a team. With little to no opportunity to scout them in person, the team relied on other methods to gather information on its opponent.

“We just tried to match up our players,” said Arbitello. “I’m not going to say I was completely blindsided this time. I know some people in Boston, and I looked at a couple of websites. I actually looked at ESPN Boston because you guys cover the city area pretty good. So I was just looking at things like that, seeing who is scoring, seeing who is doing what.”

“We knew very little about them,” he added. “I knew they were going to play tough, I knew they were going to try to get it off the glass, and I knew Juwan Gooding is a pretty good player.”