There came a point in the second half against Christ the King Sunday afternoon, when Brian Bernardi’s 3-point attempts didn’t seem like they were touching the net as they went through the hoop. He hit four bombs in a row, one deeper than its predecessor.
“He’s by far the best shooter in the city in my opinion,” Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said.
The only member of the extended Clipper family happy not loving every moment of it was Jack Alesi. The Xaverian coach was of course happy to see Bernardi’s in such a groove, but during the Bay Ridge school’s recent six-game winning streak, it’s been more about spreading the wealth.
“We didn’t have that same balance today,” Alesi said.
And on Senior Night, the Clippers didn’t win, either. Christ the King weathered Bernardi’s second-half outburst and prevailed, 58-48, picking up its sixth straight win. Bernardi scored a team-high 22 points, but the closest teammate was Dillon Burns with 10.
Until Bernardi caught fire, nobody in a white uniform could throw it in the nearby ocean. Xaverian had just 19 points with 4:13 left in the third quarter and trailed by 15 points. Alesi credited the Royals’ swarming defense, but also faulted his own team, too.
“I don’t think that we respected what the game was about enough and we just didn’t play our game,” Alesi said. “We were missing layups, passing the ball a little late. It was a bunch of little things.”
Late in the third quarter, Bernardi scored in transition and was undercut by Christ the King’s Isaiah Lewis on the play, landing hard on his back. He converted a four-point play late in the third quarter and hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth and suddenly Xaverian was within eight, 46-38, midway through the fourth quarter.
The Clippers had two chances to get even closer, but Thomas missed an ill-advised 3-pointer in transition and Bernardi rushed a baseline runner.
“That just typified the problems we had all day,” Alesi said.