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Francis Lewis girls win Queens Championship

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There was a time, probably in the mid-1990s, when Mike Eisenberg and the Francis Lewis girls’ basketball team would have been ecstatic about beating August Martin and winning a Queens Borough championship.

But with the balance of power squarely on the Patriots side for the past few years, Tuesday’s 78-59 victory over the Angels at Elmcor was simply another step for a Francis Lewis team hungry for a rematch with three-time defending PSAL champions Murry Bergtraum at Madison Square Garden.

In fact, Eisenberg was probably the only one on Francis Lewis who could remember the glory days of August Martin, when the Angels won 11 of 13 PSAL titles.

“He is and was PSAL basketball. At a time there were no other great teams,” Eisenberg said of longtime August Martin coach Joel Ascher. “Now there are a lot of good players and good teams. When you beat someone who won 11 city championships, it means something.”

But for the players?

“We’re not aiming for this,” said 6-foot-1 senior Natasha Page, who helped the Patriots dominate the boards. “We just want to keep going.”

“We want to go further that we went before,” added senior guard Maurita Reid. “We want to win it all.”

With the exception of Bergtraum, ranked No. 3 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 rankings, there isn’t a deeper team in the PSAL. And the Patriots proved that against August Martin.

Despite missing its starting backcourt of Maria Miaoulis (mononucleosis) and Teresa Rozza, who missed her third straight game as a “coach's decision,” according to Eisenberg, Francis Lewis (27-1) didn’t miss a step.

Seniors Lindsay Meltzer and Reid stepped in and combined for 23 points. Freshman Diatiema Hill added 10 for the Patriots.

“We run and press and we have 12 to 14 girls who can play,” Eisenberg said. “We have pace and depth, we just try and wear people down over the course of 32 minutes.”

“I don’t feel much pressure,” said Meltzer, who replaced Rozza as the starting point guard for a third straight game. “I’m very confident with my play. I just try and go in with my head together right away, play hard and try and contribute as much as possible.”

August Martin (18-4) hung with Francis Lewis early, taking an 11-10 lead on a pair of free throws by Shaneice Johnson. But the Patriots went on a 12-0 run, capped by a layup by Alaina Davis to take a 22-11 lead.

Francis Lewis extended its lead to 20 at the half and led by as many as 22, 65-43, on back-to-back layups by Reid with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter.

“The carrot is the Garden again, hopefully,” Eisenberg said. “But I know the team waiting for us there is the No. 3 team in the country in Murry Bergtraum. But we have a long way to go.”

“They’re just too tall,” Ascher said of Francis Lewis, which defeated the Angels three times this year. “We tried to box out and not give up second shots. We have to grow taller.”

Sophomore Nicole Michael scored a game-high 18 points and senior guard Monique Jenkins added 14 for August Martin.

Francis Lewis 79, Townsend Harris 34. Reid had 12 points and 3 assists, Natasha Page added 10 points and 8 rebounds and Andrea Condur, Davis and Hill scored 8 points apiece for the Patriots in the Queens Borough semifinals Saturday at John Bowne. Katie Driscoll had 12 points and Shanay Freeman added 7 points and 9 rebounds for No. 4 Townsend Harris.

August Martin 58, Cardozo 49. Michael led the Angels, who defeated John Bowne 62-44 in the quarterfinals, with 23 points and Jenkins added 11 points and 6 assists in the Queens Borough semifinals Saturday at John Bowne. Britni Bolden scored a game-high 29 points for third-seeded Cardozo (15-7)

Cardozo 58, Bayside 47. Marissa Flagg had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals, Bolden added 20 points and 16 boards and Nicole Foutoulis added 11 points off the bench for the Lady Judges, who rallied from a 29-26 halftime deficit in the Queens Borough quarterfinals Friday. Allie Falco scored 13 points for sixth-ranked Bayside (20-4).

Townsend Harris 40, John Adams 36. Andi Strauss scored 13 points, Freeman added 12 points, including her 1,000th of her career, and 7 boards and Driscoll netted 12 points for Townsend Harris in the Queens Borough quarterfinals Friday.

Francis Lewis 79, Beach Channel 25. Dawn Coleman scored 12 points and Reid (12 steals, 6 assists) and Trenise Fuller added 10 points apiece for the Patriots in the Queens Borough quarterfinals Friday.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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