Behind UConn bound Omar Calhoun, Christ the King came into this season ranked as one of the best teams in New York State.
Things didn’t start out so smoothly though. The Royals won three out of their first four, but then dropped back to back games after Christmas and it was clear that a change was needed. In that second lost to Chester things came to a head.
As the Royals were trying to make a late game comeback, Isaiah Lewis hit a basket to pull them to within three, but then followed that up with a technical foul that killed their momentum as they went on to lose the game.
After that play Royals head coach Joe Arbitello tore into Lewis a little bit and told the junior that he needed to start playing like a true point guard, looking to make plays and deferring to the team’s star Calhoun. Lewis apparently got that message because both Calhoun and Arbitello credit that incident as a turning point in their season. “Isaiah is turning into a real point guard and that just makes the entire team better,” Arbitello said.
That’s exactly what happened on Sunday night as Lewis was able to find Jon Severe (27 points) and Calhoun (22 points) open all night long en route to a 79-67 Christ the King (7-3, 3-0) victory over Xaverian (8-2, 2-1) in Queens in our ESPN New York Game of the Week.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: This game was a straight shootout as both teams were shooting three’s early and often. There were 14 three-pointers in the first half of the game. Christ the King’s Calhoun had three, Severe had four. Xaverian wasn’t far behind as Brian Bernardi had two and Dillon Burns had three. That was at the half.
In the second half it was more of the same as Severe hit four more, tying a school record set by Larry Davis back in 2006. When both sides were done there were 23 three-point shots in total, 12 from Christ the King and 11 from Xaverian. Unfortunately for Xaverian, Christ the King had more depth and got big contributions from the paint by Calhoun and Jordan Fuchs (13 points), which ultimately made the difference in the game. Xaverian's Shakeel Kemp made it interesting late in the game as he picked up 13 of his 19 points in the second half, but ultimately it was too little too late.
TURNING POINT: It was a close game early on as there were eight lead changes in the first quarter. The difference then and probably in the game was Calhoun. He finished up the final minute of the first catching fire, he hit a three-pointer, a layup, and another three-pointer consecutively to finish on a lone 8-0 run that was the difference the entire game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Calhoun gets most of the ink on this team, but once he’s gone the team and the press will belong to junior Jon Severe. Severe was hot all night as he tied the school record for most three-pointers in one game. He came close to hitting his ninth in the final minute of the game, but missed on his last two attempts. “My wrist felt good,” Severe explained of his surgically repaired right wrist. “Every day I feel good, I'm icing my wrist now. I'll just keep doing it after every game.”
UP NEXT: Christ the King’s next game is in a tournament down in Springfield, Missouri this Thursday. Xaverian heads back home where it will take on Molloy on Tuesday.