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March 10, 2011
Royals OT Ravens; Advance to Chip
There's an age old quote that states "experience is the best teacher".
The C.H.S.A.A. Class AA semifinal game between Christ the King and St. Raymond was a good example of how that quote is proven in the game of basketball. Christ the King had the leadership of senior point guard Corey Edwards on their side while a talented St. Raymond team only dressed two seniors, none of which had an impact in this particular game.
Despite the difference in experience between both teams, this game was a wire to wire hardwood classic that was worth watching from beginning to end. After some great individual performances and late game heroics, Christ the King would edge out the 70-67 overtime victory.
The game got off to a fast start, with both teams putting up shots within 10 seconds of the shot clock. Both teams were also lights out from downtown and traded baskets and leads for much of the game. St. Raymond was led by junior guard Myron Hickman, who's dropped 10 of his team high 21 points in the first quarter. His scoring along with the dazzling playmaking abilities of fellow junior Lawrence Graves helped St. Ray's get off to a 21-16 lead after one.
CTK struggled to take care of the ball early as well. "He played terrible in the first half", admits Royals Head Coach Joe Artibello. "I thought he was putting way too much pressure on himself to win." Edwards had a few careless turnovers early and St. Ray's took advantage by it. A layup by junior forward Nkereuwem Okoro off another Royals turnover stretched the Ravens lead to 9. However, Edward's backcourt mate Omar Calhoun would help lead CTK's offensive attack. Calhoun finished with a game high 23 points including a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the half, to bring King within 1.
St. Ray's would hold on to their lead even going into the 4th quarter, but that's when Edwards began to sizzle. Known more as a traditional point guard, the George Mason-bound Edwards began to take the game into his own hands by looking for his own shot. "Coach told me at halftime 'you got to settle down and just play the way you play the game'", revealed Edwards. "He settled me down; I came out from halftime, and ran my team. That's what I do."
After a layup at the buzzer by Okoro sent the game into overtime, Edwards really began to showcase his offensive prowess. Edwards got to the basket with ease, either scoring or forcing the Ravens into silly fouls. Edwards finished 16 points but none bigger than his 3-pointer from the left corner with 31 seconds remaining to put CTK up 3. "I kind of felt it", boasted Edwards about the shot. "When you're dancing on [your defender] and finally make him move, at that point I seen an ocean in the basket and I knew I was going to make it."
The win gives CTK a date with Rice in the championship round. Rice defeated Holy Cross in the game just before, so in case Christ the King hasn't seen enough of them, they had one last look at them Wednesday. "Rice is a well coach team, they have good chemistry, and they play hard", praised Edwards. "It's going to be a war on Sunday."