Xaverian’s battle plan against Christ the King brought the Clippers a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but it all fell apart after Royals star Rawle Alkins sank two quick threes and stole the momentum.
The top-seeded Royals squad rallied around its leader and the league’s best player for a 66–59 victory over No. 2 Xaverian in the Brooklyn-Queens boys’ basketball title game at Christ the King on Feb. 27. Alkins, a Canarsie native, scored a game-high 27 points and connected on six three-pointers.
The Clippers’ strategy for containing Alkins was to force to him make jump shots — and it worked a little too well, according to Xaverian coach Jack Alesi.
“I was kidding around with the kids on the bench, ‘We are going to make him a jump shooter,’ ” said Alesi. “Great game plan. I made him a great jump shooter.”
Xaverian grabbed the lead in the fourth by going on a 7–0 run capped by a Doyin Isaac three-pointer to go ahead 56–50 with 6:52 to go in the game.
Alkins took it from there. He buried consecutive treys to tie the score and added a two-handed follow slam to put the Royals up for good. On the defensive end, Alkins twice blocked 6-foot-7 Clippers forward Najee Larcher. Christ the King, the two-time defending state Federation Class AA champions, fed off that surge and closed the game on a 14–3 run.
“Brooklyn-Queens, people don’t really talk about it, but its still a championship to me,” said Alkins. “It’s still a game. I don’t like losing.”
Larcher was dominant in the paint for most of the contest before a leg injury slowed him after halftime. He felt his teammates enjoyed the moment of taking the lead in the fourth a little too much and let their guard down. Alkin’s flurry never gave Xaverian, which can be deliberate offensively, the chance to play from ahead.
“When he hit those two threes, it just killed our momentum,” said Larcher. “We knew that we were slacking on defense. We were not getting back. It killed everything for us.”
Christ the King (22–4) held Xaverian (20–6) to just three points over the final 6:52. Jared Rivers, who scored 16 points, was a big part of that. He and Jose Alvarado shared the duties of making life difficult for Isaac (14 points). Alvarado scored 10 points and Tyrone Cohen added eight for Christ the King.
Larcher paced Xaverian with 21 points and Sayon Charles chipped in 13. The Clippers trailed 25–13 after one quarter and 39–32 at the half.
Xaverian played in its first title game since 2010. It will be the dioceses’ No. 2 seed in next week’s Intersectional playoffs. It beat Christ the King in Middle Village earlier this season. The team gave itself a chance again, but couldn’t cash in.
“It’s a very tough loss,” Larcher said. “We came into this game knowing we can win.”