Three days after Epiphanny Prince smashed the national scholastic scoring record with 113 points in a 137-32 win over Louis Brandeis, the twin notions of sportsmanship and basketball etiquette came into play during a girls' game between Forest Hills and Newtown Friday.
The top team in Queens II-B this season, Newtown, led Forest Hills by scores of 31-9 at the half and 47-18 midway through the fourth quarter, and many of the players from Forest Hills were getting visibly upset as the game was getting out of hand.
But in a show of restrain and in a departure from Bergtraum's drubbing of Brandeis, Newtown's coach, John Sarrantonio removed his starters, even though it meant replacing senior Laura Ulloa in her final home game in order to keep the score respectable.
The Pioneers defeated Forest Hills, 47-26 behind 17 points from freshman Danyelle Foster and nine points from junior Natasha Pierre Louis and avoided answering the types of questions that have bombarded Bergtraum since their Brandeis rout.
"I would never try and embarrass another team," said Sarrantonio, in his third year as Newtown coach. "I would feel bad for the other team if the score was so one-sided. I try to teach sportsmanship and ethics to my players, and I thought what she [Epiphanny Prince] did was disgusting, especially because it was against a less talented team. I would never let that happen here."
Prince's historic performance, in which she broke the national high school scoring record of 105 points set by Cheryl Miller in 1982, has been the topic of chat-rooms and water coolers and put a microscope on the definition of sportsmanship in high school sports.
"Everyone was talking about what she did in school the last couple of days," said Pierre Louis. "Coach usually takes out the starters once the game starts to get out of hand. We're kind of used to it by now."
Newtown (13-1) was relentless on the boards against Forest Hills (8-7), grabbing 20 offensive rebounds for the game and never allowing the Rangers to create a presence inside. Forest Hills managed just one point in the second quarter and despite an impassioned speech from coach Marc Zaretsky, who recently won his 300th game of his 23-year career, ("If you don't think that you can come back, then you haven't been around sports. I've seen it a thousand times. You just have to believe in yourselves.")
Foster outscored Forest Hills 9-5 in the third quarter on two putbacks, two free throws and a three-pointer to give the Pioneers a 40-14 lead.
"All we work on in practice is rebounding, so that's why we're able to do it in the game," Foster said. "I was able to get some open shots, and we all played very well today."
Sensitive to the one-sidedness of the game, Sarrantonio began taking out his starters and slowing down the pace of the game in the third quarter, and Forest Hills, behind six unanswered points from freshman starter Danelly Morales finally had some offensive success in the fourth quarter.
"They have a very good team, and they proved why they're the best in the division," Zaretsky said. "We got a little flustered and they took advantage, but I knew with their coach, they weren't going to try and embarrass us. He's a classy guy and he understands what high school sports is all about."
Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.
©2006 Community News Group
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