ALBANY -- Long Island Lutheran suffered a Severe headache in its quest for a three-peat.
Multi-talented Christ the King guard Jon Severe, a 6-2 major Division I college prospect who elected to put off his college choice until after the season, might have earned a few more suitors after Saturday night.
Severe scored 28 points -- all in the first three quarters as the Royals opened a 15-point lead -- and was a stabilizer in the fourth quarter as CK defeated Lutheran, 73-64, in the state Federation Class AA final at the Times Union Center.
The Crusaders (25-3), who won the previous two Federation titles while in Class A, stumbled on the final rung of the Class AA ladder. They couldn't find the range in the second half, getting outscored 19-7 in the third quarter, allowing the Royals (28-3) to increase a three-point halftime lead to 57-42.
Forced to scramble to come back and with little margin for error, Lutheran missed too many open shots in the fourth quarter and sent CK to the foul line for some easy points down the stretch.
In their final games for the Crusaders, Mical-Ryan Boyd scored 19 points and Kentan Facey added 16. Sophomore point guard Chris Atkinson, a centerpiece of future LuHi success, hit three from downtown.
The game appeared to get away from Lutheran in the third quarter. CK opened with an 8-0 run that included a tough layup in traffic and an open wing three by Rawle Alkins and a long three-pointer by Severe.
Severe was fouled on another three moments later and sank two of the three free throws. Alkins scored in the lane and Severe hit two free throws and a breakaway jam.
Alkins, who was scoreless in the first half, was hardly that after intermission. He closed the third-quarter scoring by draining a wide-open three from the wing.
Early in the fourth, Alkins gave the crowd of 2,700 a major thrill by adding some style points to a breakaway dunk, turning it into a spinning reverse jam fit for a Federation highlights show. That boosted CK's advantage to 61-46, the largest margin of the night.
Lutheran had a shaky first quarter. If not for back-to-back threes by Atkinson, it might have been run out of the building. As it was, CK built a 19-11 lead behind Severe's 10 points. He showed an array of skills, hitting from downtown, midrange jumpers and a slam in transition.
The Crusaders got untracked in the second quarter amid some furious action. A key sequence featured a skirmish between two Connecticut-bound players.
LuHi center Facey, a 6-9 basketball recruit, and Jordan Fuchs, the Royals' 6-6 football recruit, were matched up for most of the half. Facey scored on a pump fake and drew a hard foul from Fuchs, who earlier had drawn an angry look for tossing Facey to the floor. Facey had a one-hand slam to retaliate, but he didn't appreciate a second hard foul. When he looked toward Fuchs, the CK player offered a verbal response and drew a technical foul that counted as his fourth personal, sending Fuchs to the bench.
Boyd, designated to take the technical free throws, missed both, but he redeemed himself with a fadeaway baseline jumper and scored 10 points in the half. Facey had 11 and with a strong finish to the half, the Crusaders crept to within 38-35.
Severe was brilliant in the second quarter as well, adding nine more points for a first-half total of 19, including a wide-open three from the wing with 19 seconds left that provided the difference at the break.
He was the difference-maker all night.