Joe Arbitello has been at the helm of the varsity basketball team for three years at Christ The King High School. In each of his trio of years he has had one or two dominant players and championship teams. This season was no exception. This time around it’s the backcourt tandem of guards Corey Edwards and Omar Calhoun. The latter is only a junior.
This duo is leading a team effort that carried them to a 64-58 decision over Holy Cross for the Diocesan of Brooklyn or Brooklyn-Queens Championship of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association.
“The key to our win over Holy Cross in the B-Q Title game was defense, rebounding the ball, and limiting them to one shot,” Calhioun said after the title game.
And down the stretch in the fourth quarter, defense did ‘it’ for the Royals as Terrel Hunt did a tremendous job on Evan Conti who made all the plays happen for the Knights.
Hunt, a two sports athlete, already signed a football scholarship to attend Syracuse University come September. He probably will forget about basketball and concentrate on the gridiron sport.
“We played strong and hard and had a good win,” said CTK Head Coach Arbitello, about the varsity hoop game..
“This is the first time that we won three consecutive Brooklyn-Queens championship games,” noted assistant coach Artie Cox, in his 17th season at Christ The King, including time coaching on the lower levels. “(Over the years), we had a lot of great teams that we weren’t able to win (all the time) with them. Since Arbitello came in as head coach we never lost a Diocesan championship. Credit goes to the staff, players, and program. Everybody in our program is really tight-like a family.”
The Royals must give a great deal of credit to Edwards who would not be with them next September, for he has signed to continue his basketball at George Mason University.
Edwards has been a senior leader on this team.
“He’s a pure point guard,” Cox continued. “In the fourth quarter (against Holy Cross) he made all the right decisions. He hit a big three (point play) to put us up with three minutes left. Down the stretch, he made the big plays. And in the second half he did a good job defending Marquise Moore.”
The coaches were also high on 6-8 senior center Chris Ortiz, a three-year player with the Christ The King program.. He wasn’t even with the program for one year for he transferred from CTK, where he spent his first two years at Lincoln of Brooklyn, a public school power house in basketball, for one year and then came back.
“The sky is the limit for Ortiz,” said Cox. “He’s getting tougher and tougher. He got a big tip in toward the end of the game. He grabbed a lot of rebounds and had a lot of finishes.”
Winning the B-Q crown championship was a great accomplishment for the players, students and school.
“Any time a team can win a Brooklyn-Queens title is a tremendous accomplishment,” noted athletic director Bob Mackey. “We are very proud of the coaching staff and the kids. We put in a lot of hard work to make this program go.”.
Even with the setback, Holy Cross also advanced into the intersectional tournament.