South Shore fought back with repeated rallies last Sunday, but in the end, it just couldn’t overcome Christ the King’s attack.
Each time, the Royals answered South Shore surges with runs of its own. Mistakes and careless play cost the Vikings girls’ basketball team against the host Royals in a 66–53 loss at the Apparel Challenge Jan. 11. The event featured teams sponsored by Nike against those sponsored by Under Armour.
“I think they played hard,” said South Shore coach Anwar Gladden. “We just missed some opportunities to execute.”
The Royals came out the gate firing. Junior Sydney Zambrotta hit three treys to put Christ the King ahead 13–6 early. The Vikings then scored four points straight on back-to-back buckets from Amanda Cruz and Destiny Philoxy to cut the Royals lead to 17–14. Christ the King responded with a 10–2 run to take a 27–16 lead early in the second quarter.
South Shore came right back with runs of its own. The Vikings outscored the Royals 14–4 in the third quarter, led by six points from Maryland-bound forward Brianna Fraser and three points from Cruz to cut Christ the King’s lead to 31–30 with 5:35 to go in the frame. Cruz, who finished with 14 points, said the team made adjustments at the half that helped it cut into the Royals lead.
“We spoke about getting back, playing better defense, and playing tougher offense,” Cruz said.
Zambrotta took over the game with her team up 33–32 in the third. The junior led a 10–0 run for Christ the King with eight points and three steals. Gladden said the Royals had a response to every rally South Shore had.
“They definitely did,” said the Vikings’ skipper. “That’s what good teams do — they respond to other good teams.”
South Shore (10–4) was able to cut Christ the King’s lead to 44–35 in the third on a layup from Philoxy, who finished with eight points.
Zambrotta responded for the Royals (8–4), picking up her fourth steal of the quarter and taking it the other way for a three-point play to make it 47–35 heading into the fourth quarter. Gladden saw Zambrotta scoring from all over the court against his team.
“She hurt to start the game. She hit some big, deep threes early. Every time we answered, she was their answer. It was tough,” the coach said.
The Vikings began the fourth quarter on a 9–2 run led by Fraser, who scored a team-high 21 points, to cut the Royals lead to 49–44 early in the fourth. South Shore got as close as 51–47 with 2:14 to go in the game. Fraser’s effort level can be questioned at times, but that certainly wasn’t the case against Christ the King.
“She definitely came to play today,” Gladden said. “She played hard, she played the whole game, she kept us in it.”
Despite the loss, Gladden sees the Apparel Challenge as a game that will help his team down the road in Public School Athletic League play, and was good exposure for his kids.
“I think this is a great event,” Gladden said. “We are happy to be a part of it and there are no loser when you have an event like this.”