Lions roar early, hold on in CK rematch

The Bishop Loughlin players didn’t take too kindly to this past Sunday’s loss to Christ the King at home in Fort Greene. It was the fourth time in a row that CK had beaten Loughlin, going back to last season.

“We were mad they beat us on our own floor,” Lions guard Kareem Canty said. “We were embarrassed.”

They were determined not to let it happen for a fifth straight time.

Loughlin led by 17 points after just one quarter en route to a 65-62 win against Christ the King in a key CHSAA Class AA boys basketball Friday night in Middle Village, Queens. Villanova-bound senior forward Jayvaughn Pinkston had 14 of his 29 points in the first quarter for the Lions (14-4, 7-2 Brooklyn/Queens).

“I put my team on my back,” said Pinkston, The Post’s New York City Preseason Player of the Year. “I couldn’t lose to them twice in a row.”

It was actually the Loughlin role players who made all the big plays down the stretch, though. After Christ the King (12-4, 6-2) took a 49-46 lead, Lions guard Davonte Dunham knocked down a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring to cap a 7-0, third-quarter closing run. Pinkston had just two points in the fourth quarter, but Canty had all seven of his team’s 12 points in the final frame, including going 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 3.6 seconds.

“He’s always gonna be our X-factor,” Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez said of Canty. “He can just score at will. He gets to the basket as well as anyone I’ve seen.”

Gonzalez said he’s not afraid to go nine or 10 deep and that his reserves have been very patient with playing time. Pinkston said he wasn’t surprised by the contributions of guys like Canty and Dunham, both juniors.

“The young kids are stepping up like we expect them to do,” Pinkston said.

The elite swingman didn’t have to completely dominate the latter three quarters, but Gonzalez said he would have liked to have seen that first-quarter fire more.

“Now if I just gotta get him to do that for four quarters,” the first-year coach said.

The thing he was most pleased with wasn’t Pinkston or the role players, though. It was defense. Gonzalez said Christ the King was able to do whatever it wanted offensively Sunday and this week he went back to the drawing board in practice. Pinkston said Loughlin did a ton of defensive drills and ran more than usual in preparation for the rematch.

“We really honed in our defense,” Gonzalez said. “We knew we weren’t playing our best ‘D.’ They did a lot of things so easy when we played them Sunday.”

Not so last Friday. It wasn’t so much that the Lions changed their defense, Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. It was just that they were much more intense, flying around for loose balls, getting into the passing lanes.

“They came out like they wanted to win the game and we didn’t,” Arbitello said.

Branden Frazier added 12 points for Loughlin. Maurice Barrow had 15 points, T.J. Curry had 13 points, Omar Calhoun had 12 and Corey Edwards added 11 for Christ the King.

Things did get interesting at the end. Calhoun had five points in the final four seconds to pull CK within 64-62, but, after Canty made one of two free throws, Curry missed a 25-footer with 1.4 seconds left.

“We wanted to show them that we’re one of the elite teams in this league,” Gonzalez said.

They left little doubt.