Its been the Jamaica girls basketball teams mantra all season: Play just hard enough to lose a close game. It happened in a three-point loss to Townsend Harris and again in a two-point loss to Cardozo.
And in its regular-season finalé against August Martin Tuesday, it appeared the trend would continue, as Jamaica saw its 15-point second half lead slashed to just two with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Thanks to the gritty play of Jamaica senior guard Erica Smith, the Beavers rallied instead of wilting. She netted a season-high 29 points, including 19 in the second half to lead the host Beavers to a key 66-58 Queens A division win.
We talked to each other, said Smith, who missed Jamaicas first three league games, all blowout losses. We had some tough losses, but we had to come out and play tough against August Martin.
Whenever Martin (9-11, 6-6) scored what should have been a big basket, Smith answered back. She had seven consecutive points late in the fourth quarter to extend the Beavers lead from 55-52 to 62-54 with 1:45 left.
I just tried to break their press, Smith said. Their press is tough, I just tried to get around them.
The victory was important for Jamaica (14-7, 7-5) because it gives the team the inside track for an at-large bid into the PSAL A playoffs. It was also big for Cardozo, which had several players in the stands watching intently. Thanks to Jamaica, the Judges clinch the third and final playoff berth in Queens A.
However, the Beavers know they cant rest on their laurels because they garnered the No. 5 seed in the Queens Borough Championships, which was determined Monday night, and have to go to fourth-seeded August Martin Friday in a game that will likely determine who gets the at-large berth.
LeTanya Grady added 17 points for the Beavers, while the Angels were led by 6-foot-1 junior forward Jasmine Phifer, who scored all 14 of her points in the third quarter, most on putbacks. Samantha Glover netted 13 points for Martin, winners of 12 of the last 19 PSAL titles, which can possibly miss the playoffs for the first time in nearly 20 years.
We have no one to blame but ourselves, said Martin coach Joel Ascher. Its like the saying on the shirt, Go hard or go home. We didnt go hard and now were going home.
Bayside 58, Van Buren 53. Gayle Silverstein led Bayside (16-5, 11-0 Queens III-B) with 23 points while Jeneva Kelly netted 16 points for Van Buren (8-3).
Jamaica 52, Forest Hills 22. LeTanya Grady netted 16 points and Whitney Harris added 10 points and 10 assists for the Beavers.
Newtown 48, American Studies 43. Kaisey Germain had 20 points and Monica Pahl added 15 points for Newtown (7-4 Queens III-B).
Grover Cleveland 67, Franklin K. Lane 44. Jennifer Barenboim led Cleveland (17-5, 10-1 Queens II-B) with 29 points. Lane is 10-13.
Richmond Hill 37, Robert F. Kennedy 36. Angelita Rosario had just two points, but they couldnt have come at a more important time as she netted the winning layup with 58 seconds left in overtime to give Richmond Hill (4-17, 1-11 Queens I-B) its first league win in two years.
Christ the King 72, Bishop Kearney 40. The Royals improved to a perfect 10-0 in league play with this win Monday, as Shay Doron scored 15 points, followed by Candice Lindsay with 12, Corrine Turner with 11 and Lorraine Carita added 10. CK is now 15-2 overall.
St. Johns Prep 53, Martin Luther 30. Amy Mascia, Lora Morton and Danielle Candidus all scored in double figures for St. Johns Prep with 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively in this non-league matchup. Erika Starsja led Martin Luther with nine points and 11 rebounds.
St. Francis Prep 61, Archbishop Molloy 40. The Terrier were led by Elizabeth Yuneman and Dawn Gorynski with 21 and 14 points, respectively, raising the teams record to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in league play.
Christ the King 72, Archbishop Carroll (Pa.) 54. Doron led the Royals with 20 points, followed by Amanda LoCascio and Cigi McCollin with 10 each in a non-league game.
Christ the King 72, Archbishop Molloy 27. Doron had 16 and Turner contributed 10 in this league win last week over first-year varsity club Molloy.
The Mary Louis Academy 70, Bishop Loughlin 62. Senior Donna Lohrey scored a game-high 32 points while Rachele Burriesci chipped in 10 for the Hilltoppers, who moved to 10-11 overall and 4-6 in league play.
St. Johns Prep 71, McAuley 37. The Red Storm got 20 points from Shaniqua Edmonds and 12 from Morton to improved to 12-3 overall and 10-2 in league action.
Christ the King 93, Bishop Ford 54. McCollin scored 17, while Lindsay and Turner scored 14 each and Doron and Toni Horvath added 11 each for the Royals.
St. Johns Prep 52, St. Edmund Prep 46. Edmonds had 17 and Morton added 16 points and 15 boards for the Red Storm.
Bishop Loughlin 67, St. Francis Prep 65. Yuneman had 26 points to lead the Terriers, but it wasnt enough in the teams upset loss to the Lions last week.
Anthony Bosco contributed to this story
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2002 Community News Group
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