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Prep girls start slow, but cruise to 9th league win

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The St. Francis Prep varsity girls’ basketball team shook off a slow start Sunday en route to a workmanlike 62-53 win over Bishop Kearney.

The day began with a ceremony to honor St. Francis’ four seniors, who were playing in their final home game at the Fresh Meadows school. Balloons, flowers, posters and a few tears may have been expected, but they also negatively affected Prep’s play in the early going.

“It was Senior Day; that’s a little bit of a distraction to start off with,” St. Francis Prep head coach Tom Finn said. “We started off a bit sluggish. You can’t go from an emotional roller coaster. It’s hard to expect them to act like girls one minute and basketball players the next.”

Still, the Terriers had enough of an advantage to take a 19-13 lead after the first quarter. St. Francis defeated Kearney 61-43 when the two teams first met earlier this season in Brooklyn, prompting Finn to expect an easier go of it.

“You beat somebody by 18 on their court, you should beat them by 20 on your court,” the coach said. “With all of the distractions, I was happy to be up by 10 at halftime.”

The Terriers took a 30-20 lead into the third quarter and — after a speech by Finn implored his team to pick it up in the third quarter — the home squad came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half.

Kearney tried to press, tried to double-team some of the Terriers’ key players, but Prep adjusted on the fly time and again, outscoring the opposing team 23-7 to take a 55-33 lead into the final period.

“I thought we played a very good third quarter,” Finn said. “We adjusted well. We had enough time to get our heads back into the game.”

“After that it was a matter of getting people in and out,” the coach added.

Finn emptied his bench in the fourth quarter, not only because of his team’s big lead, but to take a look at the players who will fill the void left by the four graduating seniors.

“[Senior Day] enforces in your mind that you’re losing these kids next year,” Finn said.

In her last game at Prep, senior Caitlin Kennedy finished with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Susan Divald added 12 points and 10 rebounds, Eileen Strohn chipped in 11 and Christina Gordon scored 10. Jean-Marie Costello added 7 in her final home game.

Caitlin Boyle paced Kearney with 17 points.

The Terriers, now 13-8 overall and 9-1 in league play, were scheduled to play Christ the King Friday, but snow pushed the game to Tuesday. Barring another postponement, the Terriers were slated to finish their league slate Wednesday against The Mary Louis Academy.

Archbishop Molloy 67, St. Anthony’s 48. The Stanners were led by Keri-Anne Jetter’s 18 points in this non-league win Sunday. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Jessica McEntee added 13 points apiece as Molloy improved to 16-7 overall. The Stanners, the No. 3 seed heading into the playoffs, completed their league season last week with a 7-5 record.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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