With senior catalyst Corey Jones and freshman point guard Chris Stokel leading the charge, Calhoun dusted off a last-second defeat two nights earlier and topped visiting MacArthur, 59-41, in a Conference A-I boys’ basketball matchup last Saturday.
Jones, a smooth-shooting lefty guard in his fourth varsity campaign, drained six three-pointers as part of a game-high 26-point effort, Stokel added a career-high 12 and junior Jake Edwards chipped in 10 as the Colts improved to 5-5 overall and 3-1 in conference games. Junior Max Chmiel (14) and senior Trent Knapp (10) scored in double figures for the Generals (6-4; 2-1), who were riding a four-game win streak.
“Our kids are pretty resilient,” Calhoun head coach Jay Kreutzberger said. “Even on the bus ride home from Herricks [55-52 loss Jan. 3], they were already moving on. We had a short but effort-filled practice yesterday [Friday] and it carried over to today. We made good decisions with the ball.”
Jones, who boosted his average to 17.7 points per game, provided many of the clutch baskets after MacArthur crept within striking distance. He keyed a 7-0 run to close the third quarter to give the Colts breathing room after the visitors sliced a double-digit deficit to 37-33. Jones had a steal and layup, sank a trey off a feed from senior Zac Solomon, and set up Solomon’s first of two second-half baskets. “Corey’s a year-round basketball player who isn’t intimidated by anyone or any moment and plays extremely hard,” Kreutzberger said.
Jones added eight points in the fourth quarter as Calhoun’s lead swelled to as many as 20 with less than two minutes left.
“We had a tough start to the season, but we’ve improved by leaps and bounds,” MacArthur head coach Eric Rubin said. “We just had a nice overtime win over Mepham, but turnovers really hurt us today.
“There was a stretch in the third quarter where we got within four but then we turned the ball over three of the next four possessions,” he added. “We still have some things to clean up, but we know we can compete with anyone in the conference.”
The Generals, who had 18 turnovers, led 13-11 late in the first quarter but never again after the Colts scored seven straight, including five by Stokel. “I’ve never had a freshman starting point guard, but Chris excels at ball-handling and breaking down defenders, and he’s quick,” Kreutzberger said. “Going from middle school to varsity is a big jump, but he soaks up information like a sponge.”
The teams meet again at MacArthur on Jan. 31 at 6:15 p.m.
Calhoun captured its first two conference games, defeating Great Neck South (58-49) and Valley Stream Central (77-71), both at home, on Dec. 17 and 21, respectively. Jones scored 21, senior Tom Casimano 16 and junior Malek Graham 9 against Great Neck South, while Jones’ 28 paved the way over VSC. The Colts hit 21 free throws against the Eagles, including nine by Jones and four apiece by Casimano and Graham.