Christ the King won the SNY Invitational Championship with a 67-66 victory over St. Raymond on Saturday at CCNY. Sophomore Kofi Cockburn scored 20 points, hauled in 15 rebounds and hit the game-winning free throw with 19.8 seconds left.
“You’re gonna see a couple of more games like that from Kofi,” said senior guard Jose Alvarado of the 6-foot-11-inches center. “He’s a great player.”
The Royals lost a heartbreaker in last year’s title game to Cardozo. On Friday, Christ the King held off a Mount Vernon rally in the final two minutes to set up a meeting with St. Raymond. Alvarado struggled on Friday, only scoring eight points, but he responded with 21 points in the title game, including five three-pointers.
“My teammates kept my mind straight, they said ‘just come back strong,’” Alvarado said after Saturday’s game. “They won it yesterday and they just said ‘this is your game now.’”
Alvarado’s bounce-back performance didn’t come as a surprise to his coach.
“I didn’t expect anything less,” said Joe Arbitello. “Honest to God. Coaches say that, but I didn’t expect anything less. He’s been a warrior for three years.”
Alvarado will be playing at Georgia Tech next season, following in the footsteps of city point guards such as Kenny Anderson and Stephon Marbury.
St. Raymond went up by 10 in the third quarter, but Arbitello didn’t call timeout, in part because he only had two remaining. The Royals responded with a 13-2 run and took their first lead since the final seconds of the first quarter. St. Raymond led 57-50 with 5:40 to go, but again the Royals came back. Christ the King led 66-64 when Darius Lee tied the game and was fouled with 22.2 seconds remaining. But Lee missed the free throw and Cockburn was fouled after pulling in a rebound.
Cockburn missed the first free throw, but guard Tyson Walker told the big man to go through his routine and follow through. Cockburn made the second and then the Royals held on defense as Lee missed at the buzzer.
“It was a great win,” Alvarado said. “It feels good.”