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Monday, Dec. 24, 2018: Christ the King KO's No. 1 Hayes in 3 OTs

   Leading off today: It wasn't pretty, but host Christ the King toppled the state's top-ranked boys basketball team on Sunday by defeating Cardinal Hayes 97-94 in three overtimes.

   There were 59 points scored after the end of regulation, 58 fouls whistles and 68 free throws attempted in the contest, which saw five Cardinal Hayes players foul out.

   Christ the King reserve Nicholas Molina made six 3-pointers and scored eight of his game-high 24 points in the third overtime. That came after the Royals, ranked sixth in Class AA last week but coming off a Friday loss to Xaverian,

seemed to have the game well in hand in regulation, building a 63-49 lead early in the fourth quarter.

   Hayes guard Joe Toussaint (20 points) scored the Cardinals' last four points in regulation, including a buzzer-beating layup, to tie the score at 66. A 3-pointer by Molina put CTK ahead 71-67 in the first OT, but Toussaint answered with a floater across the lane and Hayes pulled even again on Adam Cisse's baseline drive. A pair of Quaran McPherson (22 points, 15 rebounds) free throws put the Royals ahead 74-72, but Jalen Smith's bucket tied it at 74 to set up the second overtime.

   Shemani Fuller and Jaylen Murray made 3-pointers to stake Hayes to an 80-74 lead, but Christ the King clawed back to force the third extra period on Malik Lacewell's 3-pointer to make it 80-80.

   Four lead changes later, Molina stretched the Royals' lead to 95-91 with a 3-pointer with a minute left.

   South Shore reps N.Y.: Tournament MVP Kadary Richmond made two free throws with :32.5 to play to wrap up South Shore's 62-59 win over the host state's Collins High in the final of the 16-team Bluegrass Holiday Classic in Kentucky.


   South Shore, ranked third in the state in Class AA, got a 3-pointer from Dwight Davis Jr. to take a 60-59 lead with :57 left. Marcellus Vail, who made six 3-pointers and led Collins with 22 points, missed a 3-point shot to tie with :10 remaining.

   No New York team had won the event since Christ the King in 1988.

   Good reading, Part 1: Tim McMullen, who retired 5½ years ago after a long career teaching and coaching at Letchworth, has a new calling. McMullen, 62, has been leading the congregation at Castile United Church of Christ and will meet with the Committee of Authorized Ministry early next year to acquire his license of ministry that would allow him to administer sacraments including communion and marriage.

   When he gets his license, McMullen's formal status will be as a lay preacher.

   "It's always been a part of my life, the faith, since I was young," McMullen said. "As a family we always went to church. I grew up in LeRoy and that's part of our lives."

   Good reading, Part 2: Canandaigua brothers Othman and Mohamad Damlakhi are refugees whose family escaped the devastation in Aleppo, Syria, ground zero for much of that nation's horrific civil war.

   Aged 18 and 16, respectively, they're members of the Braves' wrestling team, having arrived in Rochester by way of Turkey in January 2017 before making the move to Canandaigua.

   "Here, people are smiling and they say hello," Othman said. "In Syria or Turkey, that never happens. People here are a lot nicer and it's safer. And there is a lot of food.

   "It's unbelievable. I walk the streets in Turkey and I get really scared. Maybe someone wants to attack me. Here, you can walk at 12 midnight and you don't have to be scared of anything."

   Extra points: We don't factor Sunday games into our weekly boys basketball rankings during the regular season, so Cardinal Hayes will still be atop the ratings when they're posted Monday evening ahead of the holiday.

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