The tally served as a snapshot of how the day went for both teams.
From the offset, in which the Royals came out the gate with nine straight points, the difference between the two New York-based programs was evident.
But even though Christ the King dismantled Scanlan 74-45 in their home opener this past Sunday afternoon, head coach Joe Arbitello doesn’t make much of their demonstration of dominance.
It’s too early.
“I would say it’s a process,” he said moments after the victory, which puts King at 2-2 on the season. “You might watch us next week and we may not play as well. We’re big and we’ve won a lot of city championships with guards, so it’s hard when you’ve got two monsters out there trying to run stuff or get acclimated to playing that kind of a game.
“Today worked,” he added. “I just hope we continue to grow from it.”
The two monsters he’s referring to are junior center Kofi Cockburn and freshman big Moussa Cisse, both of whom are close to 7 feet tall. The unique pairing of the two bigs makes the roster bigger than many, if not any, teams they’ll face.
It also helps that the team has senior Tyson Walker and sophomores Ryan Meyers and Quaran McPherson in the backcourt, who torched the Scanlan defense from the jump, combining for King’s first 15 points on Sunday.
Walker paced the unit with a game-best 15 points, while also recording four steals and four assists. Meyers added 14 points and McPherson tacked on 10.
“We lost two games but we’re still good, we’ve got a long season,” said Walker. “We just had to prove to people that we could play. We had to make a statement today.”
As for those “monsters,” Cisse started and registered five blocks, five rebounds and a forceful two-handed dunk off a give-and-go, while Cockburn came off the bench to post seven points, five rebounds, two blocks and about three or four dunks that did not count, unfortunately for his highlight reel.
“I’m feeling good, everybody played well,” said Cisse, who grew up playing soccer and has only been playing basketball for three years. “I like Kofi, he’s a big, big player. When we’re in the game together, we can do something.”
Arbitello also spoke to the value of having these two talented bigs, which the Royals will utilize in an attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the CHSAA during the season.
“It makes us bigger than everybody,” he said. “If we only have to put one out then we’ve got one that we could play. We’ll probably never be in foul trouble in that position because we’ll have one or the other.”
Overall, while he tempered expectations and reactions based on the lopsided victory, his ultimate takeaway was that his team, to quote Rasheed Wallace, “played hard.”
“I thought everybody that we put in the game really gave us a good effort,” Arbitello said. “In high school basketball, if you give a good effort and you play hard, you’re going to win a lot of games when you have the talent we have.”
The Royals will return to action on Friday with a tough test as the Queens-based program will face Long Island Lutheran on the road.