Lady Royals Wins Buzzer Beater At MSG
For months, the hype surrounding Murry Bergtraum vs. Christ the King matchup at Madison Square Garden last Sunday was akin to a boxing championship prize fight. The storylines were set. The #1 and #2 teams in the ranked by USA Today in the country were battling each other in a rematch of last March’s New York State Federation title game, which was won by the Lady Royals.
he game matched the buildup and with the game tied at 63 and few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, All-American Tina Charles would settle matters for the Lady Royals. Charles rushed a fadeaway 20 foot jumper to the basket, missed, but gathered her own rebound and laid the ball in the net as time ran out for a 65-63 Christ the King win.
“She stayed patient, didn’t get flustered and really stepped up when it counted down the stretch,” Christ the King head coach Bob Mackey said.
Bergtraum head coach Ed Grezinsky knew what was going to happen as soon as Charles grabbed the second chance board.
“You got to box her out and keep her off the boards. If she gets the second chance, she’s not going to miss it.” Grezinsky said.
The Lady Royals showed exhilaration and relief as they marched off the court for their 40th straight win and improve their record to 13-0. In a post-game conference, Mackie was proud that his team could get by their rivals in front of 6,989 at the Garden.
“That was a real fitting finish to a great game. They’re a good team and Epiphany Prince is a great player,” said a relieved Mackey. “But when everybody came together and put it all together, they contributed and gave a great effort.”
In an intense game full of twists and turns, Prince and Charles were in the forefront of carrying their squads. Prince dominated and finished the game with 39 points as she battled time and time again with her best friend Charles. The Rutgers bound point guard carried the Lady Blazers and scored 17 straight points throughout the second half to eventually tie the game at 63.
Bergtraum regained the ball with 22 seconds left and poised to win the game. Prince clutched the ball and drove to the basket but Charles and Sky Lindsay both converged on the All-American and tied up the ball, and the possession arrow went to Christ the King.
Grezinsky, who did not call a timeout during the play, says he does not regret putting the ball in his best player’s hand to win the game.
“I thought about calling a timeout but it gives a team the chance to set up for that situation… It’s a catch 22… I just tried to put the ball in my best player’s hand with 22 seconds left,” Grezinsky said.
“She’s just a great offensive player that you just have to give her freedom. She makes that shot, we win the game. She’s a great player and she’s the greatest player in the country by far.”
Mackey countered that Charles is the best player in the country and it can be argued by any expert or fan that either one of the superstars on display can be. Mackey downplayed the rivalry aspect but he does admit that even though the competition is tough for both teams, a rematch is most likely to occur in Glens Falls in late March.
“They weren’t flustered by the Garden, the crowd, the opponent and they stepped up together ” Mackey says. “We got a tough road. But this is a tough game to play mid- January. This is a March game and that was madness out there.”