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Queens men, women swept by New Haven

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It was a never-ending parade to the scorer’s table. At almost every stoppage, another player on the New Haven men’s basketball team would leap off the bench and enter the game in the Chargers’ 66-52 win at Queens College last Thursday night.

Kyrk Peponakis was jealous.

Queens College doesn’t have that luxury. With two starters out with season-ending injuries, another due to academic ineligibility and now another player out with an elbow injury, the head coach is so shorthanded he may be able to pile all of his healthy players in his Jeep Cherokee for the next road trip.

But he’s not using it as an excuse.

“It’s a problem, but is it why we lost? No,” said Peponakis, whose team dropped its second straight after a modest two-game winning streak. “We’re not making good decisions, we’re not executing our free throws when we have the opportunity. We have a very limited window of opportunity to work with and we haven’t taken advantage of that.”

New Haven (14-5, 11-4 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference) ran Queens out of Fitzgerald Gymnasium, jumping ahead 12-2, and never looked back.

Led by the starting backcourt of Ismael Caro, a transfer from Division I Creighton, and Jamaal Brooks, the Chargers pushed the ball up court after Queens scored and pressed on defense.

New Haven coach Jay Young rotated 11 of his 12 players throughout the game. Led by Brooks (15 points) and Caro (14 points, 5 assists), the Chargers saw scoring contributions from nine different players.

“We need to push the basketball to try and get easier baskets just to get going on the road,” Young said. “The subs did a nice job because we got into foul trouble in the frontcourt. The scoring didn’t drop off, which was key.”

Not only did the scoring not drop off, New Haven actually extended its lead from 30-23 at the half to 18, 46-28, after Alberto Alberdi’s 18-foot jumper capped a 12-2 run with 11:25 left in the second half.

“It was a lack of concentrat­ion,” said Queens forward Shaun Bertin. “We let up after we scored. Coach told us about that at halftime and we still let it happen.”

The game plan for Queens (10-10, 8-9) was to push the ball inside to post players Alex McLean, Mike Leonce and Bertin.

But playing in his third game in six days clearly took a toll on McLean, who scored just 6 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, well below his season average (10.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg.). Leonce picked up his second foul 1:26 into the game and his third with 2:59 left in the half.

Bertin, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Brooklyn, was the only player to contribute from the inside. The former Nazareth standout scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in 37 minutes off the bench.

“What is hurting us now is that we only have eight guys, but we have to get stronger and fight through it,” Bertin said. “We need to get smarter as we have less players.”

After hosting Adelphi in a game scheduled for Wednesday night, Queens plays at NYCAC leading C.W. Post Saturday at 4 p.m. and then is home for New York Tech Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Another tough defeat for Queens women

The difference, Queens women’s basketball coach Denis Conroy said, is experience. The Lady Knights don’t have it and New Haven does.

Like the men’s team, the New Haven women’s team has the luxury of being able to go deep into its bench. Chargers head coach Mimi Walters used nine of her 11 players and each played double-digit minutes in a 63-52 win at Queens last Thursday.

“The kids they have coming off their bench are experienced,” Conroy said. “They have good depth and an experienced backcourt. They’ve won a ton of close wins and it’s not by accident.”

Queens (8-12, 7-10) lost for the third time in the last four games despite a career-high 26 points from sophomore Shonda Holder. The 5-foot-11 forward from Uniondale, who leads the Lady Knights in points per game (14.2) and rebounds per game (9.8), also grabbed 8 rebounds.

But with the exception of Holder, Queens struggled to score. The remaining seven players combined to score 26 points on 9-of-32 shooting from the field.

Despite its shooting woes, the Lady Knights cut their 10-point halftime deficit to just one, 47-46, on Holder’s layup with 4:06 left. But Amanda Freeman, who led the Lady Chargers with 22 points and 9 rebounds, answered with a bucket and then added a pair of free throws to put New Haven back up by five.

Queens was forced to foul late, but Kia Nealy (17 points) was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final minute to cap New Haven’s sixth win in its last seven games. The Lady Chargers shot 81.3 percent (13-for-16) from the foul line in the second half.

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

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