BY DAVID RUSSELL
Francis Lewis saw its title hopes fall short in a 55-39 loss to South Shore in the PSAL title game in the Girls ‘AA’ division, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Perhaps it was the awe of playing in the Garden, or maybe it was the 10 A.M. start, but the Patriots struggled mightily on offense, shooting six percent from the field in the first half. Francis Lewis was held scoreless in the second quarter, and failed to score for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“For us, South Shore is definitely a great team and they deserved to win everything,” said Francis Lewis head coach Stephen Tsai. “I just wish we had a better showing.”
Francis Lewis couldn’t recover from missing 16 of 17 shots in the first half as the Lady Vikings held them to six points. South Shore never trailed and led by as many as 27. The Patriots defense was good enough to win, but the offense wasn’t up to the task.
“If someone was to tell me before this game we’re going to hold a team like South Shore down to 50 points, 51 points, I would take that,” Tsai said. “For us, we just missed a lot of easy shots and then I think we just started forcing it and that even got them going.”
The Patriots turned the ball over 21 times and South Shore took advantage, scoring 25 points off turnovers. The Lady Vikings also had an advantage on the glass, hauling in 18 offensive rebounds.
For some of the Patriots it’s the end of an era, as Francis Lewis has six seniors on the roster. The most memorable highlight came in 2014, when Francis Lewis upset Murry Bergtraum in the semifinals to snap Bergtraum’s streak of 15 straight titles, and then beat South Shore in the title game at the Barclays Center.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to even play in the Garden and the Barclays because a lot of people don’t get this opportunity,” said senior guard Taliyah Brisco. “So the fact that we even got to those places to play, and sophomore year being able to play and win a city title, is amazing. At the end of the day it’s a great experience to leave with high school and go into college and to tell people I was able to play in the Garden.”