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Can the Spartans return to the World's Most Famous Arena? Only one starter, Alecia Fung, is gone from last year. Back are 5-foot-3 sophomore Nicole Moore, who along with 5-foot-4 senior Jen Porrazzo, averaged 16 points per game a season ago. Seniors Amanda Sanders and Michelle Tusa also started on last year's team that went 20-6.
Dinorah Diaz, a 5-foot-9 freshman forward, will be looked to try and pick up the slack left by Fung, who is at SUNY-Farmingdale.
"We're in a much more difficult division and we're not going to surprise anyone this year," said Adams assistant coach Jim Pitman. "It's not going to be easy, it's always very difficult to repeat."
After realignment, Adams is one of 21 teams in the PSAL 'B' division in Queens and the favorite in Queens B-I.
Beach Channel might pose the stiffest competition for Adams in Queens B-I. The Dolphins, which finished 12-5 last year, return junior Shanna Hamilton and seniors Quianna McBean and Krystal Hill.
Franklin K. Lane also made the playoffs last year, finishing the season 12-12 in Robert O'Connor's second year as head coach. Leading the charge for the Knights is Marjorie Negron, a 5-foot-6 senior, and sophomore Anisha Webster. LaToya Boyce, Taniqua Banks, Joelina Diaz and Iris Cartagena are also back for Lane.
A jump from the 'A' division to the 'B' was logical for Springfield Gardens, which finished 2-22 last year. Back for Janice Kleiner in her 20th year is 5-foot-10 junior Yvena Julmice, 5-foot-2 senior Nicole Sullivan, 5-foot-6 Shawntasia Smith and 5-foot-10 senior Patrice Rexs. Gone for the Golden Eagles is Amoy Kirlew, who is at Queensborough Community College.
Shannon Kohm inherits a Campus Magnet team that finished 7-11 last year. Elizabeth Mely, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, Delores Maewather, a 5-foot-5 junior guard, Khadijah Khan, a 5-foot junior guard, Korima Yusef, a 5-foot senior guard and Chantell Sandy, a 5-foot-9 senior forward, are the Bulldogs top returnees.
There's only one way Richmond Hill can go and that's up. The Lions were 0-12 last year and don't have much experience returning.
Far Rockaway, coached by Les Sabbah, finished last year with a 10-12 and rounds out the division.
Queens B-II should be the toughest and most competitive of the three Queens B divisions with at least five of the division's six teams expected to vying for three playoff spots.
For the first time in nearly a decade, there won't be a Dollard on the Grover Cleveland roster. Last year Erin Dollard helped lead the Indians to a 13-11 record in the 'A' division. Jack Ciano also decided to move his team down to the 'B' division based on the fact one of his top returnees, 5-foot-6 sophomore guard Jennifer Barenbolm, transferred to Bishop Kearney. But Barenbolm made an about-face and returned to Cleveland and, with 5-foot-6 senior Ina Serri, 5-foot-7 senior Cairly Rivera also back, a trip to the Garden could be in the making for the Indians.
"We've been an average B team our first two games without Jennifer. We'll see how much an impact she will have," Ciano said. "We're still learning to play together and we need to jell. But I'd rather have us playing our best basketball later in the season."
Forest Hills made it all the way to the city semifinals last year and despite the losses of Brigida Pezzaulo, Zakia Barnes and Laura Mund, the Rangers have a great chance to get to the semifinals or further.
Back for Marc Zaretsky's senior-laden team, which went 22-3 last year, are senior captains Katherine Shea, a 5-foot-7 point guard, 5-foot-10 center Christine Klusko - the two returning starters - Gena Romano, a 5-foot-9 forward, and 5-foot-4 guard Daaniyaala Dunkley. Sophomores Kamila Barnes, a 5-foot-7 swingman, and 5-foot-4 Jackie Butler, a guard Zaretsky calls the team's best defender, rounds out a well-rounded group of intelligent players.
"Every game in the division is tough as nails. It's a very strong division," Zaretsky said. "We have a very dedicated group of fast learners who play intelligent basketball."
Bruce Bitterman's seventh season at John Bowne features a team with some height and experience and the Wildcats are another squad that should compete for a playoff spot. Elba Arrango, a 5-foot-7 senior, Angela Frujose, a 5-foot-5 sophomore, Jennifer Muojeke, a 6-foot-3 senior, and Nashaun Burrell, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, are the top returning players for a team that finished 14-10 last year.
Robert F. Kennedy has a wealth of experience with four players with three years under their belt. Jackie Lagoa, a 5-foot-8 senior power forward, Ann Jackson, a 5-foot-7 senior forward, and Michelle Wallace, a 5-foot-9 junior point guard, are the top returnees for the Panthers, who finished last year with a 10-12 record.
"With just a pool of 400 kids in the school, our teams have typically had a hard time at the start of the season because most are playing organized basketball for the first time," said third year head coach Dave Cohen, whose team has started 1-4. "But we typically finish up strong."
Newcomers is another team that has a lot of experience back, with six returning players, including Nadia Bousbaci, a 5-foot-7 senior, sister Samia Bousbaci, a 5-foot-5 sophomore, Marianna Csecsi, a 5-foot-9 junior, and Laura Burlacu, a 5-foot-7 junior. Tom Hall would like a similar finish in his third season as in the team's first, when the Lions surprised many by advancing to the quarterfinals.
Attempting to replace Angie Leung's 25 points per game will be a tough task for Jack Flaherty, in his seventh year at Thomas Edison. Nina Walls, a 5-foot-7 senior, and Cindy Chang, a 5-foot-5 senior, are two of the team's top returning players.
Renaissance rounds out the division.
Steve Piorkowski did not know what to expect from the Bayside girls team after making the switch from the boys team last year. But a 4-2 start, including a win over Queens powerhouse Forest Hills in the early season, may say a lot about where the Commodores will be this year.
"I had no idea what the competition is like, no clue," Piorkowski said. "We're going to play very intense defense and get the transition offense and get the ball up the floor."
Talia Fromm, a 5-foot-7 junior, and Cindy Ng, 5-foot-8, are two of Piorkowski's softball stars and freshmen Gayle Silverman, a 5-foot-3 guard, and Allie Falco, a 5-foot-4 guard, have been outstanding in the early season.
If Monica Paul and Maria Lantin achieve half as much success on the basketball court as on the volleyball court, the Newtown Pioneers should have a great season.
Coming off the PSAL volleyball crown, the duo are hoping to do even better than last year, when Rob Kunkel's team advanced to the round of 16. Also back for Newtown are Laura Drulyte, a 5-foot-7 senior, Ally Zarate, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, as well as front court players Camille Alexander, a 5-foot-10 junior, and LaSheena Brown, a 5-foot-11 sophomore.
Martin Van Buren finished last season with a 15-9 record, but just missed out on a playoff berth. While three key players are gone from last year's team, Cherisse Bellevue, Cherise Soto, Shauntae Parker and Jeneua Kelly are back for the VeeBees, who hope to be one of three teams in Queens B-III to make the postseason.
If there is a team that is more suited for a switch from the 'A' division to the 'B' than Flushing in Queens, we don't know about them. The Red Devils lost their entire stating five and the returning players from a team that went 11-11 last year in the 'A'. Among the missing are Cindy Nash, Keyana Downs and Chiene Jones, one of the flashiest guards in the city last year.
Junior Gisselle Spencer, a 5-foot-6 guard, and sophomores Monet Pledger, a 5-foot-8 forward/center, and Shaniqua Edmonds, a 5-foot-5 guard, will look to lead the inexperienced bunch.
"They're going to have time to grow together," said Flushing head coach Carla Nasso. "They work very hard and they shouldn't be disappointed if we don't win this year. We're going to take one step at a time and we'll be there."
Armakia Mariner and Clarise Bell are gone for anLong Island City team that went 7-16 last year in the 'A' division. But with a trio of talented juniors, 5-foot-7 Dedrica Simmons, 5-foot-11 Kelly Sammuel and 5-foot-8 Tonya Smith, and 5-foot-1 senior Nina Ng are back for the Bulldogs, which also moved to the 'B' division.
Robert F. Wagner (2-17) and American Studies (0-14) both struggled last year and should be better, but may struggle again in a very competitive division.
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
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