Jose Alvarado (25 Points) Photos by HoopNationTV
Coach Arbitello's Speech
If you've ever played varsity basketball in high school, you would probably agree that "Senior Night" is one of the most special moments of your high school career.
On Tuesday, NYC's legendary Christ The King Regional High School had their "Senior Night" against the very talented Archbishop Molloy squad. Christ The King's seniors included Anthony Lang, Anthony Young, Jose Alvarado, Sean Nolan & Kendale Greenidge-Bullock.
The Royal's head coach, Joe Arbitello, said a few special words for all five seniors. The team leader and fan favorite, Jose Alvarado, received the most special speech of them all.
After admitting that he thought Jose wouldn't be able to play much sophomore year, Coach Arbitello said "“He decided to step on this court the first day of practice and decided to kill everyone in front of him." Coach also followed up by saying that he would take Jose on any team regardless of season.
Cole Anthony (#17 ESPN 25)
Being that it was their night, Coach Arbitello decided to start all five seniors. Just to show some more love, Arbitello even let the 5'4 fan-favorite Sean Nolan jump the tip-off with Molloy's 7'1 Moses Brown (9 points). The seniors managed to hold Molloy to 9 points until the starters came in with 5:20 left in the first quarter.
Nevertheless, Molloy still put their foot on the gas. As soon as Christ The King's starters came in, Cole Anthony (15 points) assisted Khalid Moore (20 points) for a thunderous fastbreak dunk. The Royals quickly responded with a Tyson Walker (10 points) assist to Jaylen Davis (5 points) for three, making the game 6-11.
The remainder of the quarter consisted of lots of coast-to-coast baskets and fouls, led by Cole Anthony. However, Christ The King refused to stay down. With 40 seconds remaining in the qurater, Alvarado made a great move on Cole followed by a steal for another Royals basket. It seemed as if Molloy would still end the quarter with an exclamation point, but Anthony missed a high-flying dunk to end the first, 12-17 Molloy up.
The second quarter began with another coast-to-coast Jose Alvarado and Cole Anthony battle. After a few possessions, 6'11 sophomore Kofi Cockburn (14 points) of Christ The King got involved with a crowd-sparking and-one dunk. Khalid Moore then came back to life and responded with an and-one of his own, putting Molloy up 22-18.
Following some sloppy play for both teams, Jose gained composure and responded with back-to-back three pointers, cutting the Royals deficit to only 2 points. After John Herring (17 points) added another fastbreak basket for Molloy, the Kofi Cockburn and Moses Brown battle began.
After Kofi made a strong move on Moses, the highly-recruited junior responded with a smart assist from the post. The 7-footers battled but couldn't stay out of foul trouble. The guards got involved once again; a Jose Alvarado steal and layup cut their deficit to 1 point, with 21.4 seconds left in the half.
Once again, Khalid Moore answered with a huge dunk and was lucky enough to be fouled on a three-pointer. Similar to the first quarter, It seemed as if Molloy would end the half with a 4-point lead. Nonetheless, Tyson Walker thought differently and ended the half with a three-point buzzer-beater, giving his team some momentum to end the half, 35-34 Molloy up.
7'1 Moses Brown (#6 ESPN 60)
Moses Brown began the half with a tough post move to add on to the battle with Cockburn. Alvarado quickly responded with a Rajon Rondo like behind-the-back fake to around-the-head fastbreak assist to Jared Harrison-Hunte (7 points). The passing was contagious; Tyson Walker then assisted Kofi for a thunderous dunk, the Royals gained the lead 38-37.
The teams battled it out on both sides of the court, both gaining the lead at different times. After Molloy seemed to take control, things changed when Tyson Walker tied the game with another three-pointer. However, Molloy gained the three-point lead back from a free throw and Moses Brown putback, 43-46.
Jose Alvarado continued to play hard, which unfortunately lead to him picking up 4 fouls. Coach Arbitello made a brave move and kept Jose in the game until 2 minutes remained in the third; the Royals were down 1. The battles continued, with lots of baskets coming from John Herring and Tyson Walker. Regardless of the back-to-back baskets, Molloy still ended the third quarter up 1, 50-49.
Like the third quarter, Moses started the fourth with an and-one post move. Kofi then responded with an and-one of his own when Brown contested a three, which forced Molloy to double team Cockburn in the post.
After a John Herring layup, Kofi responded with another and-one conversion, tying the game at 54. Both teams followed with turnovers, the game could’ve went to either side. Being that Cole Anthony was in foul trouble, Molloy had difficulty creating scoring opportunities. Luckily for them, Anthony came back in with 6:41 remaining in the game and helped Molloy gain the lead.
Three huge blocks by Khalid and Moses also contributed to keeping the Royals down, but CTK didn’t give up. A strong move by Jared Harrison-Hunte tied the game 57-57. Molloy was forced to call their first timeout of the game, with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter.
Coming out of the timeout, Cole Anthony baskets put his team up 4 points. Alvarado also managed to stay aggressive with 4 fouls and got to the line, putting his team in only a 2-point deficit. The game began to get very intense, with multiple players picking up fouls. After Moses Brown picked up his fourth, Kofi had a chance to tie the game.
Cockburn missed both free throws and Molloy managed to stay up, 59-61. A John Herring drive to the basket led to yet another Royals foul. He made one free throw, still allowing the Royals to tie the game in one possession. Alvarado did his best with the opportunity and made a strong move to the basket, now cutting his team’s deficit to 1.
The Royals were forced to foul; they sent Cole Anthony to the line. Once again, he grew their lead to three points. After sloppy play by Molloy, Jose made the most out of the opportunity and cut the Royals deficit to one point, one more time.
Khalid Moore was fouled and made a potential game-changing mistake, he missed a free throw. Molloy only had a three-point lead with 15 seconds in the game. As fans expected, Jose Alvarado brought up the ball. Instead of forcing a three, he drew defenders and swung the ball to sophomore Phillps Joseph (3 points). Joseph’s only 3 points were the biggest 3 points of the game. With only a few seconds remaining, he drained the three and tied the game 66-66.
Cole Anthony came up extremely clutch for his team by grabbing an offensive rebound and draining consecutive free throws. With 0.9 on the clock, Christ The King had to get off a quality shot on a pass from the other side of the court. With the extremely tall Moses Brown guarding the inbound, Molloy made it impossible for the Royals to even inbound the ball. A heartbreak for the Royals, Molloy won the game.
Following the emotional loss, Jose told us “I love CK and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It was a tough loss but I would do anything to play another game here.” Although the regular season is coming to an end, Alvarado still has the chance to lead his team to another championship. It’ll be a tough battle being that the CHSAA consists of lots of other elite championship contenders such as Molloy and Bishop Loughlin. Whether or not Alvarado & the Royals can pull it off, we’ll just have to wait and see.