A deep 3-pointer by Ryan Myers put Christ the King ahead 56-53 with 3.1 seconds left, and the Royals survived a nailbiting finish, edging Archbishop Molloy 56-54 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Final at St. Francis Prep on Friday night.
After trailing for most of the game and tying it on three occassions, Molloy took its first and only lead of the game at 50-48 when Moses Brown converted two free throws with 2:30 to play. The Royals took the lead right back at 51-50 on another clutch 3-pointer by Myers, and Molloy's chance to counter was thwarted when Jamal Watson was whistled for an illegal screen 35 feet away from the basket on the next possession.
Kofi Cockburn's jump hook stretched the Royals' lead to 53-50, but Cole Anthony, who put on another brilliant performance, converted a 3-point play on a spectacular reverse scoop after a spin from the baseline, knotting the score at 53 with 21.7 seconds left.
After the Myers 3-pointer put Christ the King back ahead 56-53, Royals Head Coach Joe Arbitello showed why he was selected CHSAA Coach of the Year, opting to foul Anthony in the backcourt to prevent the Stanners from tying the game on a 3-pointer.
After Anthony made the first free throw, Jared Harrison-Hunte rebounded the second for Christ the King, but he walked with the ball believing time had expired and was whistled for traveling, giving the Stanners one last shot with 0.4 seconds left. Anthony had a great look off a lob pass from a baseline inbound, but the shot fell short.
Molloy struggled to keep Christ the King off of the offensive glass, with the Royals getting second and third shots on numerous possessions down the stretch. Cockburn and Moussa Cisse were effective in the paint, holding CHSAA MVP and McDonald's All-American Moses Brown in check. All three players were able to tiptoe around foul trouble during the second half.
Anthony went for a game-high 32 to lead Molloy. Tyson Walker scored 16 for Christ the King, including seven straight to open the third quarter, with Cockburn scoring 15 and Myers 11 for the Royals.
Balance has become a recurring theme for Christ the King, who has now defeated Molloy three times this season, with each game going down to the wire.
CTK getting it done with balance. Royals have 2 wins over Molloy and road wins over LuHi and Jefferson to their credit & will take a 9-game winning streak into their matchup against #1 Montverde on Sunday. #HSBB #nycbasketball https://t.co/C2avMILK23— HS Box Scores NYC (@hsboxscoresnyc) February 10, 2018
Molloy played its second consecutive game without Jade Tse, a former senior starter who, according to a report by NYCHoops.net, decided to no longer be with the team.