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Bishop Ford Falcons 67, Christ the King Royals, 53

Royals come close, but fail to best soaring Falcons

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Talk about showing courage under fire!

The Bishop Ford Falcons watched the visiting Christ the King Royals cut a 20-point second quarter lead to just three late in the fourth quarter, but they didn’t panic. Instead, the squad provided a decisive response, using a 13–2 run to close out a 67–53 season opening win last Monday night.

The Falcons held Christ the King scoreless for more than four minutes during the spurt — showing that having an entire starting five in its third varsity season is a major asset.

“I think last year and the years before we did get rattled when it was getting close and that’s what would hurt us,” the Falcon’s Holy Family-bound guard Jill Conroy said. “Now we do a lot better through tough situations.”

Junior Aaliyah Jones scored 20 points, including 11 straight early in the third quarter and St. John’s-bound guard Aaliyah Lewis had 15 points to go along with eight assists. Conroy added 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ford also got strong play on the boards from forwards Bretney Prescott and Tanasia “Sweets” Blake. Brooklyn-native Sierra Calhoun paced Christ the King with 20 points.

The game was a rematch of last season’s Brooklyn-Queens final won by the Royals and the fourth straight year the two team’s opened their league slate against each other. Ford had won three of them. Conroy hit one of the game’s biggest shots down the stretch. Her 3-pointer from the right corner off and inbounds play put Ford up 59–51 with 3:37 left in the game. It was a big shot Ford expects from its senior.

“Everyone knows Jill is the shooter,” Jones said.

The Falcons started the game fast, jumping ahead 12–1, by turning the Royals over and winning the rebounding battle. Christ the King clawed back to get within 10 at the half and 12 after three quarters. Calhoun started the fourth by scoring nine straight points to help get her team within 54–51 with 4:44 remaining in the game. Ford felt it got a bit laxed after the fast start.

“We were really hungry in the beginning then we died down because we had the lead,” Jones said.

They revved things back up again just in time, starting with a Jones layup off a steal. The quick and decisive response was a great early sign of growth for a talented Ford squad.

“It’s just the maturity and the focus of this group to say we are not going to lose our heads, we are going to stay calm and find a way to win,” said Falcons coach Mike Toro. “That’s exactly what we ended up doing.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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