Every time Christian Brothers Academy got close to Christ the King, the Royals pulled away.
The Queens-based private school fended off several CBA second-half rallies for a 63-60 victory in Saturday's Federation Class AA boys basketball semifinal at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
They're a good team, said Christ the King coach Joseph Arbitello. "If we played them 10 times, they'd probably win half of them."
"We made a couple of big runs, but it seemed that every time we got close, they'd hit a shot," said CBA senior guard Kameron Ritter.
Part of the reason why the Brothers (24-2) had to chase Christ the King throughout the second half was because foul trouble kept Ritter and Max Weaver " two of their top three scorers " on the bench for long stretches of time. Ritter missed the most time after picking up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. He didn't return until the 3:55 mark of the fourth quarter.
CBA still stayed within striking distance, thanks to junior guard Galal Cancer and a concerted defensive effort that prevented Christ the King (26-6) from putting the game out of reach. Cancer scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half by driving to the basket and either hitting layups or getting fouled and hitting his free throws.
"They were able to reach down and challenge so they could still be in this game," said CBA coach Dave Doemel.
Ultimately, though, Christ the King made the key plays down the stretch to pull out the win. Omar Calhoun converted on a three-point play with 1:54 left to put the Royals ahead 56-50, and he added a pair of free throws in the final minute to help seal the victory. Dominykas Milka and T.J. Curry also made foul shots in the final minute.