NEW YORK — Rawle Alkins guaranteed a win in the city championship game.
And then he delivered on his promise.
With head Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and St. John’s coach Steve Lavin among those on hand, the 6-foot 4 sophomore went off for 24 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks as Christ the King defended its CHSAA Class AA title with a 72-61 victory over arch-rival Bishop Loughlin at Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym.
Christ the King advances to defend its New York State Federation title in the tournament which begins March 21.
“I want to just win basketball games,” Alkins said. “I want to create a legacy for every year I’m here. I want to win a city championship and a State championship every year I’m here. ‘ll be the first to do it at Christ the King. Me and Travis Atson.”
Atson, an uncommitted junior forward, added 21 points and 10 rebounds and uncommitted senior big man Adonis Delarosa tallied 10 points and 15 rebounds. Uncommitted senior point guard Andre Walker went for 13 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 turnovers. Atson was named MVP of the tournament, and Alkins and Delarosa made the All-Tournament team.
In the final high school game of their careers, Seton Hall-bound Khadeen Carrington had 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including 1-of-5 from deep, and Rutgers-bound guard Mike Williams scored 17 points on 8-for-19 shooting, 1-of-9 from deep. Loughlin shot just 3-for-21 from beyond the arc.
“I mean, Christ the King/Loughlin, that’s a big rivalry,” the 6-foot-11 Delarosa said. “They got us twice this season. Last year we got them four times. But we got ‘em when it counted. We got ‘em when it counted. I just feel like at this point we’re invincible”
The two Catholic powers have now split four games this season, but in their previous meeting in the Brooklyn/Queens Boro championship last month, Loughlin hammered CTK, 90-71, behind 42 points from Carrington.
After that defeat, Alkins promised himself and everyone else that the Royals wouldn’t go down again.
“I just wanted to win so bad,” Alkins said.. I guaranteed this win to everybody after we lost to them in Brooklyn/Queens. I just went home and thought about it.”
After trailing for much of the second half, Loughlin went ahead at two junctures in the second, taking a 60-59 lead on a pair of free throws from Khalik Howe.
But Alkins answered with a 2-point bucket and then a 3-pointer to push the CTK lead to 64-60.
That was part of a 13-1 game-ending run for CTK, in which Atson and Delarosa went 6-for-6 from the stripe in the final 46 seconds. CTK benefitted at the line, going 26-for-31, while Loughlin shot 10-for-14.
Alkins displayed his full range of talents in the game, shooting 3-for-6 from deep, throwing down a couple of highlight-reel dunks in transition and hitting Delarosa with a nifty pass for a layup.
“He was outstanding,” head coach Joe Arbitello said.
“People always question how good he is because they don’t realize he’s a sophomore. He does everything. He rebounds. We needed him to score today, he scored. That’s what makes him a great player, not just a good player, is that he does whatever it takes to win.”
Alkins isn’t focused on his recruitment right now but mentioned Cincinnati, Villanova and Rutgers among the schools recruiting him the hardest.
“I planned on visiting [Cincinnati] but I didn’t have time,” Alkins said. “I was supposed to go to the game [Saturday], Cincinnati-Rutgers, I didn’t have time to go.
“I’m not really focused on college right now. I’m just a sophomore. Next year I’ll be talking to you about colleges.”