Bishop Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez has an eye for when star guard Khadeen Carrington is going to shine, and he saw the signs before the Lions took the floor for the diocesan championship game.
“We don’t do much communication, but we do a lot of talking with our eyes,” he said. “I knew he was up for a big performance.”
The Seton Hall-bound guard and league most valuable player did not disappoint, pouring in a career-high 42 points to lead the Lions to a 90–77 win over defending-champion Christ the King in the Brooklyn-Queens boys’ basketball final at St. Francis Prep last Friday night.
Carrington shot 14 of 16 from the field and a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line. It is Loughlin’s first crown since 2008. He soaked in the moment afterward.
“I touched 50 [points] before, but that was in a [neighborhood] tournament,” Carrington said. “This is the Catholic League Brooklyn-Queens championship.”
It’s a game that hasn’t been kind to the Lions of late. Loughlin and this group of seniors lost in the last two title games. Rutgers-bound guard Mike Williams, who scored 19 points and made a plethora of hustle plays, stood in the hallway afterward clutching the championship trophy tight.
“Nobody can take this away from us,” he said. “Now we can say that we won a Brooklyn-Queens championship. We fought through blood sweat and tears to get this.”
Williams called Carrington’s performance the best he’s ever seen from his backcourt-mate. Carrington hit a step-back jumper and attacked CK’s foul-troubled defense, but his most ridiculous shot came late in the third quarter when he flipped in a left-handed layup on the right side while falling out of bounds.
“Sometimes I was just watching him,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t even move. I’d just watch him. I knew whatever move he was going to do it was spectacular and the finish was even better.”
The Lions (20–4) went on a 12–1 first quarter run to grab an early 26–15 lead before the Royals (19–6) got within 43–33 on a Travis Atson three-pointer with a 1:00 to play before the half. Williams then made arguably the game’s biggest play. He ran across the lane to rebound the miss of his own corner three-pointer. Williams collected it and quickly buried a trey with 30 seconds left before break.
Christ the King’s Tyrone Cohen missed two free throws. Darius James connected for three off an inbounds play at the buzzer on the next possession.
Loughlin took a 49–33 lead into the half and the Royals never seriously threatened again. Adonis Delarosa paced Christ the King with 24 point, Atson had 22 and Rawle Alkins added 17.
“They played the way they were supposed to play — tough, hard, together,” said Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello of the Loughlin squad. “If they continue to play that way, they are going to win.”
Loughlin’s stars were looking to redeem themselves after a lackluster performance in the rivals’ last meeting. Christ the King won 67–49 in Middle Village and Carrington, Williams and Javian Delacruz combined for just 22 points. Delacruz added 16 points this time to raise the three players’ total to 77 in Friday’s rematch.
Coach Gonzalez said it’s clear his players don’t want season to end anytime soon.
“They want to stay together for a little while longer,” he said.
That means claiming Loughlin’s first intersection title since 1992. Winning the diocesan championship earns them a bye into the quarterfinals on March 2 at Fordham University. Loughlin lost in last year’s city title game to Christ the King and would like nothing more to claim another crown that has eluded them.
“This is the first one,” Carrington said. “Second one coming in a couple weeks.”