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February 21, 2008

Royals get Crowned by Knights

The third time was a charm for Holy Cross, as they were able to take down Christ the King 77-69 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens semifinals.

The Knights, which had lost their first two game of the season to Christ the King, will play to defend their Brooklyn/Queens title on Friday evening against Bishop Loughlin.

Holy Cross was able to jump out to a quick 8-2 lead thanks to sharp perimeter shooting from Coach Paul Gilvary's squad against the Christ the King zone. A three pointer from senior guard Kayvon Roberts with 1:26 to go in the first quarter opened the Flushing school's lead to 23-14. Ryan Pearson, who has led the Royals in scoring all season, held the hot hand for the Middle Village School, as he put home 14 points in the opening half of play. However, Coach Bob Oliva's squad had some up hill climbing to do, as they headed into the second frame down 25-18.

The defensive intensity turned up for the Royals in the second quarter, as they were able to clamp down more defensively and force turnovers. A deep Ryan Pearson 3 pointer with 3:20 left in the first half cut the Cross lead to 32-28. However, the Royals were never able to grab the momentum from their Queens rival as they headed into halftime down 32-28 to the Knights. The newly-voted McDonald's All American Sylven Landesberg led the Knights with 10 first half points, while fellow senior Blaise Ffrench chipped in with 8 points. The George Mason-bound Pearson led the way for Christ the King with 14 points in the opening 16 minutes of play, while junior guard Sean Johnson chipped in with 9 points.

The Royals came out of the half playing smarter defensively and getting their hands in the faces of the Holy Cross jump shooters. However, the Royals were not able to climb the mountain, as Cross was able to knock down the timely shots that were needed to keep them in control of the game. An acrobatic and-one on a lay-up from the senior guard Ffrench pushed the Cross lead to 52-48, and the Royals were able to end the quarter with a six point lead on the Royals.

As the beginning of the fourth quarter got under way, the Royals fell into the same type of play that haunted them early in the game. However, Florida-bound senior point guard Erving Walker led a comeback charge for the Royals capped off by a steal and a lay-up in transition with 3:00 to go in the game which cut the Cross lead to 64-63. However, Holy Cross was able to execute down the stretch and pull of a 77-69 win over their CHSAA rivals. The senior forward Landesberg led all scorers with 27 points, while Blaise Ffrench chipped in with 17 points.

Erving Walker led the way for the Royals with 20 points, while Ryan Pearson was held to just two second half points and finished with 16 points during the evening.

Landesberg and Ffrench both reflected positively on the win, but emphasized that there is another obstacle in front of them in order to win Brooklyn/Queens. "We haven't played to our potential all season and we came out today and everyone played well for us," said Ffrench as Sylven Landesberg later added, "We didn't win the championship yet."

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