In Defeat, Royals Show Heart
by Nigel Chiwaya
Mar 19, 2009 | 2474 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Down 15 points, it probably would’ve been easy for the Royals to hang their heads and just play out the remainder of the game. Who would’ve blamed them? Their star player was having an off night, and Durand Scott was going off for an incredible performance.

However, in this game, just like in this season, the Royals didn’t make excuses, they fought back, and they almost won a title. And considering all that this team went through during the off-season, that’s a testament to their maturity.

How many teams can go through the off-season that the Roayals endured- having their iconic coach Bob Oliva step away in the midst of controversy, having a new coach, Athletic Director Joe Arbitello step in- and still wind up on the cusp of the city championship?

It turns out the Royals even shocked themselves with their success.

“At the start of the season, I didn’t think we’d get this far.” Maurice Barrow said after the Royals knocked off Loughlin to advance to the final.

“I just wanted a good year,” Arbitello said, “Whatever that entailed.”

It turns out a that a good year meant winning the Brooklyn-Queens championship for the first time in three years, and winding up only a few defensive stops away from a city title.

And while the Royals might be disappointed- Johnson lamented being unable to carry the team on his shoulders- they still can reflect on their accomplishments: 25-4, Bojangles tourney champs, Brooklyn-Queens Champs, Intersectional Finalists.

Said Johnson, the CHSAA MVP: “I still feel like a champion.”

And that has their coach pretty proud.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” Arbitello said after the game. “It could have been a horrible year. Their maturity is amazing. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Well, maybe we’ll ask for one more thing, coach: what do you think about next year?

“We’re ready to go.” Arbitello said. “Next year’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m pretty happy for next year.”

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