New York City has historically been a breeding ground for point guards. Christ the King junior Jose Alvarado is one of the latest floor generals to come through its ranks.
The junior guard, rated by Scout.com as a 3-star player in the Class of 2017, led all players in points (28), rebounds (9), assists (6) and steals (4) as Christ the King (N.Y.) defeated Kickapoo 72-60 in consolation play Friday at the Tournament of Champions.
“He’s special because of his toughness,” said Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello. “He shoots it well, he passes it well. The one thing that he does, he’s like that throwback New York City-tough point guard that can basically get anywhere on the floor because he’s as tough as anyone. I think it really showed tonight.”
Alvarado was 8-for-13 from the field (3-for-6 on 3-point attempts) and made 9 of 10 free throws as he came up one rebound and four assists shy of a triple-double.
“Teams are gearing up for him because they know he’s the guy they have to stop, and he’s still putting up those numbers,” Arbitello said. “He’s willing to pass the ball, he’s willing to go in there and mix it up with people.”
When asked if Alvarado had a pro or college comparison, Arbitello mentioned Christ the King alum Erick Barkley. The 1998 CTK graduate played two years collegiately at St. John’s and had a professional career that included two years in the NBA and 10 years overseas.
“(Barkley) did everything well. He didn’t do anything great, but he did everything well,” Arbitello said. “He played so hard, he was from the projects, and he played tough. That’s who Jose reminds me of.”
Jared Rivers added 21 points for Christ the King, which shot over 60 percent from the field in the first half to take a 41-27 lead into halftime.
The Royals (8-4 overall) were coming off a lopsided loss to Chaminade in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“We knew what (Kickapoo) can do to you,” Arbitello said. “I was concerned they were just going to start running circles around us because we weren’t ready and were a little down and out last night. The way we came out and responded tonight, I’m really, really happy with (my team). A coach has to be.”
Kickapoo junior Jared Ridder finished with 24 points, while Cam Davis scored 13 and Niekie Thomas-Fontley added 10 points.
The Chiefs (13-2 overall) suffered their second loss in as many days after entering the tournament undefeated. Kickapoo shot 22-for-50 from the field, but only 6-for-20 on 3-point attempts.
"We're disappointed in our execution in the first half, disappointed in our effort," said Kickapoo coach Dick Rippee. "(Christ the King) shoots over 60 percent in the first half, we come out and guard a little bit in the second half and they shoot 38 percent. It makes a difference.
“Just disappointed in our guys not taking advantage of this opportunity, maybe taking it for granted a little bit, and not coming out with enough fire. We'll see if we come around tomorrow."
A Davis layup got the Chiefs within 59-51 midway through the fourth quarter, but Kickapoo didn’t make another field goal until the final minute.
Kickapoo got the deficit as close as six in the third quarter, but Christ the King built its lead back up to 53-41 going into the fourth.
The Royals scored 10 straight to start the second quarter, taking a 29-13 lead.
Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy hit a 3-pointer for the first basket of the game. Chris the King answered with three straight field goals – two by Cohen – and never trailed again.
Christ the King plays Bishop Gorman (Nev.) for 5th place at 4 p.m. Saturday. Kickapoo plays Bolivar for 7th place at 2:30, in a matchup of teams that won their respective divisions in the Blue and Gold Tournament last month.
Christ the King 72, Kickapoo 60
Christ the King 19 22 12 19 — 72
Kickapoo 13 14 14 19 — 60
Christ the King – Jose Alvarado 28, Jared Rivers 21, Tyrone Cohen 9, Yashawn BrightGonzalez 6, Malik Anderson 4, Tyson Walker 3, Tracy Cleckley 1
Kickapoo – Jared Ridder 24, Cameron Davis 13, Niekie Thomas-Fontleroy 10, Isaac Johnson 8, Derrick Roberson 3, Travis Vokolek 2
Not many high schools across America have a 7-footer walking its halls…
Bishop Gorman does. Gonzaga signee Zach Collins scored 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, leading Bishop Gorman to a 77-62 win over Bolivar.
The 6-foot-11 senior also dished out six assists and blocked three shots.
Gorman outscored Bolivar 38-18 in the paint.
“We always want to do that,” said Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice. “That’s always the goal when we have a dominant big guy. Most games we play we’re going to have the better big guy so we really stress that. I was proud of our guys tonight, they didn’t get frustrated by double and triple teams, they kept feeding Zach and played off of him.”
It took Collins little time to get going.
He scored the game’s first five points and nine points in the first five minutes of the game. He finished the first half with 16 points.
Bishop Gorman shot 63% from the field in the first half, including going 4-for-10 from 3-point range.
“It takes such a tremendous amount of effort defensively just to prevent a high percentage shot against these guys,” said Bolivar coach Robby Hoegh. “The thing that we’ve learned through this experience is that half speed doesn’t cut it because everything is exaggerated at this level. It’s been a tremendous teaching tool.”
Despite Gorman’s hot start, Bolivar was able to stay in it with potent 3-point shooting of their own. The Liberators shot 10-for-25 from deep for the game with senior guard Bryce Krueger going 4-for-6, finishing with 16 points.
A Conley Garrison triple in the third quarter cut Gorman’s lead to six, 45-39 with 2:48 remaining in the quarter, but the Gaels responded with an 8-2 run to end the quarter.
Charles O’Bannon scored 15 points to go along with Collins’ double-double.
Johnny Scott finished with 20 points and four rebounds for Bolivar. Conley Garrison added 14 points and five assists.
The loss sets up a Kickapoo vs. Bolivar seventh place game, also creating the ultimate Blue and Gold Tournament championship.
After starting the season 9-0 Bolivar has now dropped three out of four heading into Saturday’s showdown with the Chiefs.
“We have to be upbeat,” said Hoegh. “The kids are showing great energy so we’ve got to make sure we’re upbeat as a coaching staff and upbeat as teammates so we can create our own energy. We came into this thing knowing that we’re going to play three really good games and after they’re done we’ve got to take those lessons.”
Bishop Gorman 77, Bolivar 62
Bolivar 11-13-17-21 – 62
Bishop Gorman 19-1-18-24 – 77
Bolivar: Scott 20, Krueger 16, Garrison 14, Emmert 6, McClellan 3, Cates 3
Bishop Gorman: Collins 32, O’Bannon 14, Popoola 9, Kiley 5, Bey 4, Frohnen 4, Rice 3, Jordan 3, Bradford 2, Leon 1